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The 10 Festival Commandments

August 11, 2015 - by Molly Sinclair

A comical interpretation of the rules of raves, festivals, undergrounds, and similar mass gatherings.

I. Thou shalt set an alarm to purchase festival tickets the minute they go on sale.

Or two alarms. Or five. This goes along with buying your tickets early, to save a lot of stress and Craiglist- searching when the event sells out, and each day of the event costs more than an iPhone.

II. Thou shalt not sell festival tickets for more than face value.

Ok, so I've definitely done this before... I just put this here to be politically correct. Sorry. But if you're that person who buys 5+ tickets just to scalp them, you are definitely burning in festival hell (NOT to be confused with "the Burn".) Festival hell probably involves lots of waiting in line, sweaty dudes, and 16-year-olds asking you to take their picture.

III. Thou shalt make a meeting spot before thou lose-eth everyone-eth.

This is an obvious one, but with the rush of excitement that fills your veins when you enter a festival, most people forget to mark a spot to meet, which is VITAL if you get lost or need to meet at the end of the night. Assuming there's no cell service, we all have that friend we will NEVER see again if we don't coordinate a meeting spot (at the electric daisy, or this weird art structure that looks like Gumby, etc.).

Or maybe that friend is you. If it is, gosh I have probably spent a week in total hours waiting for you at the spot and you weren't there. What the hell, you! We agreed on 10:45!!!

IV. Thou shalt pace oneself with inebriating toxins. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

If you're planning on engaging in alcohol or other substances, Jesus Christ pace yourself!!! (You too, Moses). If you have no concern about your health or safety, at least do it for the sake of your friends who have to take care of yo' Bad Samaritan ass.

Remember, the only way to prevent 100% of all problems is to completely abstain from all substances - risk-free and good to go all weekend!

V. Thou shalt follow one's own path, and let others do the same.

If you want to go see an artist no one else wants to see, go see them alone! Otherwise, you might regret it. Of course, if your group doesn't follow commandment III, this may be a problem (so perhaps find a different crew that won't ditch you...?).

Even more important, though, is the second part of this commandment. Let other people do what they want to do! I remember an old friend of mine screaming at everyone like a child that she didn't want to see Skrillex play, and that we all had to leave the stage with her. Honestly, I didn't want to see Skrillex either... but her viciousness made old Skrilly seem a lot more fun than heading off with her!

VI. Thou shalt watch out for one another.

This applies even more so for campout festivals, where people stay for 4-5 days. Be generous to anyone and everyone around you, whether you know them or not, and don't wait for them to ask for help. You got my back, I got yours!

VII. Thou shalt come prepared.

Going off the previous commandment, people will certainly look out for you, but don't come to an event empty-handed and expect others to take care of you the whole time.

If you're going to a one-day event, bring your ticket, ID, cash, and anything else you'll need so that your group doesn't get stuck because you forgot something. If you're going to a campout festival for multiple days, make sure to bring food, water, and your own camping supplies. You wouldn't believe the moochers out there! It's ok to forget an item or two sometimes, like the time I forgot my tent at Lightning in a Bottle. But if you know you only have enough money for the ticket and nothing else the whole weekend, thou shalt not go!

VIII. Thou shalt be drama-free.

WHY would you spend hundreds of dollars and weeks of planning a festival, just to ruin the weekend with bad vibes? Although sometimes, it's not us that causes the drama, but someone else. In that case, if you sense a drama-causer in the group, I suggest separating from them and enjoying a good night, focusing on the music. If you think you can deal with it, just put a smile on your face and dance with an awkward thrust around the drama-causing person until they get weirded out and leave.

IX. Thou shalt dance.


X. Thou shalt LOSE ONESELF.

Don't lose your phone, don't lose your manners, don't lose your respect... but lose yourself in the present moment! Take a break from worrying about things like your job, your family issues, your financial situation. Let go.

Festivals are about taking a break from reality and letting your soul release. Dance for days, feel the vibes, listen to beautiful music. Once you lose yourself in the festival... you can approach the world with that same mentality. Smile, you are free!

Photos by Bobby Reyes for, Dan Krauss, and Zipporah.

--Molly Reports

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