AI generated photo of a music festival.

Mastering Festival Etiquette: Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Festivals with Style and Respect

Attending a music festival is an exciting experience, but it’s important to remember that you’re sharing the space with thousands of other music fans at these gatherings. With festival season in full swing, now seemed like the perfect time to remind those (old and new) to treat one another with kindness and respect, and not forget the P’s and Q’s when it comes to these mass gatherings.

Here are 8 tips to ensure that you’re respectful of others and have a great time:

Say excuse me when going through a crowd

There are so many times when festival attendees have been shoved out of the way while simply enjoying themselves at a stage, watching their favorite artist playing out the music they’d been eagerly waiting to hear. 

It’s not hard to tap someone on the shoulder, politely say excuse me and ask to get by. Another thing to remember: Consent is KEY! This should go without saying, but don’t grab someone by the waist and try to shimmy on by. Sometimes, even a tap on the shoulder could rub someone the wrong way or make them feel uncomfortable.

So do your best to say excuse me first. If that doesn’t work, a gentle tap on the shoulder, but don’t just push someone out of the way. Everyone is here for the same reason: to enjoy the music that means the most.

Following the consent point

While some people are big huggers, not everyone is always going to be comfortable with that. Sometimes, it can be good to ask first. Many people are excited and passionate, and their first thought is embracing that person they’ve been waiting to meet, but giving others the option can go a long way.

Be courteous to those around you

At some events, it seems like some patrons think they are kings and queens, can do no wrong, and are free to act however they choose. This ‘me-first’ attitude does not represent the values festivals were built on.

Don’t take away from others’ experiences around you by having loud conversations during the performances, blowing smoke in people’s faces, making fun of someone for how they’re dancing, etc.

Let folks enjoy themselves, and be silly and expressive.

Look out for one other – if you see something, say something! 

More and more lately, it seems like these spaces are not as they once were, which makes it even more important to watch out for each other.

Whether someone might be having a rough time, or another attendee is obviously bothering someone, don’t just let it slide. Ask if they need help, or go and seek assistance from whoever is the best fit (medics, security, etc).

Protecting music lovers and making sure everyone is safe and secure is of the utmost importance. To piggyback off of that, it’s also important to make sure people are seen and heard. In a scene where a lot can happen, and where a lot does happen, listen to one another and protect the collective whole.

Pack it in and pack it out

Too often, festivals and campgrounds are left completely trashed after a weekend of fun. Most of these events do have cleaning crews, but it’s not an excuse to leave things behind for others to pick up.

There’s only one earth to live on, and she deserves to be treated with respect no matter what. Seeing a stage area littered with trash is disheartening, to say the least. It’s a privilege to attend these gatherings, and it’s important to keep them looking beautiful and flourishing, so we can continue passing these traditions, events, and natural settings down to future generations.

Blow up couches BEHIND the soundboard

An argument that seems to have predominantly taken up the early festival scene conversation: where not to post up in your inflatable couches during a festival set.

Yes, it can be nice to be upfront and have the option to relax, but the front is the place where attendees want to dance and have the space to do so. The polite thing to do is post up behind the soundboard, allowing those upfront to have the freedom to move around. Nothing is worse than wanting to be up close to see your favorite artist, then tripping over couches or not being able to move around because of a maze of inflatable couches with people not even standing to appreciate the stage show.

Whistles and fan clacking, an argument that will never die

There’s a time and place for everything.

Yes, it gets hot and hand fans can be a necessity to keep cool. That’s fine.

But when someone is clacking it over and over, taking away from the music or thinking they are somehow a part of the music, that’s when it becomes an issue to most people. People are at festivals to enjoy sets from their favorite artists. Hearing a fan clacking in your ear or echoing across a crowd can be like nails on a chalkboard. With respect, please don’t do it.

As for the ‘whistles’ argument, festivals aren’t sporting events. Leave them at home.

Having said all this, it’s important to remember to be polite as well when it comes to asking someone to not do these things. Lead with compassion. Let’s go forth into festival season, carrying the love for sound, and spread awareness to patrons who may be newer to the scene or old ones who need a gentle reminder.

Most importantly: Be yourself and have fun!

By following these tips, you can help create a positive and enjoyable festival experience for everyone involved.