Rachel Boone, reporter

Every year, from the beginning of the summer to late fall, teens across the country flock to music festivals to see their favorite artists in concert, relieve stress from work and gain a unique experience. However, many festival attendees go into the experience with little preemptive knowledge about factors such as safety, money and geographic area. Before they purchase tickets, teens should consider whether festivals are a match for their individual interests as well as the practicality of attending the event.

With festivals such as Coachella taking place in desolate areas, location should be an important factor to consider for teens planning to attend. If raising money for travel is an issue, attending a nearby festival rather than making a trip to an event that takes place hours away is a viable option. Other factors, like parking availability and age demographic, should also be considered when picking a music festival, as they are key components for ensuring safety. In addition, many festivals, such as Bonnaroo and Firefly, offer on-site camping as an alternative to staying in a hotel or rented house throughout the event. This can decrease the risks of getting lost or being an in unknown area surrounded by potentially dangerous people.

From sunburn to personal safety, any and all unexpected situations should be taken into account before buying tickets. For example, drugs and alcohol are prevalent at many festivals, and teens often choose to partake in getting intoxicated due to peer pressure. According to Dr. Ihsan Salloum from the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, people at festivals often drink while under the influence of other drugs, and if two harmful substances within the body mix, they can create a new substance that is more toxic to the body than each substance on its own. Being wary of the potential dangers of intoxication at festivals can help protect one’s health and safety. In addition, taking extra precautions as small as carrying sunscreen or an extra bottle of water can improve health throughout a festival weekend or even save a life.

Perhaps the most popular factor taken into account when deciding to attend a music festival is the lineup. Festivals are an opportunity to see a range of
artists, from big-name bands to obscure or local acts, in one place. Though those considering attending a music festival should look for their favorite artists on the lineup, a variety of other experiences should be taken into account as well. For example, in addition to musical performances, Coachella and SXSW offer wellness activities such as yoga and cycling classes, Lollapalooza offers guest amenities such as a beauty booth and Pitchfork Festival offers a sundae bar. A music festival should offer a unique experience to each and every attendee. In fact, according to a survey by Eventbrite, one of the most influential factors among experienced festival-goers in choosing an event is the festival experience itself. Among those surveyed. 35% defined a unique experience as the decision to partake in VIP activities, 30% considered camping as a factor and 23% considered non-music installations such as food and art-related events. Teens should consider unique experiences other than live music when choosing a festival.

Those who may be tentative about attending a music festival for the first time have the option of partaking in smaller events, such as a local fair, to prepare for a larger event. While it may seem excessive or lame to start small-scale when it comes to festivals, using unpopular concerts or shows as an excuse to get comfortable can help with the stress of being crammed in a festive setting. The substantial amount of people, events and excitement at festivals can be overwhelming for first-time attendees, so taking part in more modest events beforehand is an effective technique for avoiding the culture shock.

As music festival season approaches, teens should consider factors such as safety, potential danger, and atmosphere before committing to a festival. Parents should consider location and proper safety procedures with their kids before allowing them to attend any festival and schools should provide students with a debrief over the risks of drug use, harassment and any safety concerns that take place during local or wider-scale festivals. Proper preparation beforehand ensures a more meaningful experience for festival attendees. Though fun and freedom are encouraged, unexpected dangers, safety concerns, and personal interests should be accounted for before purchasing expensive and oftentimes nonrefundable tickets.