Because odds are you’ve probably paid a good portion of your hard-earned dollars to take part in the season’s festival goodness, and because chances are you don’t want to miss a moment of the revelry on account of an accidental oversight, let us help you get the most of this summer’s musical festivities with our handy Van Isle Festival Essentials checklist!
Dependable Footwear. With all the dancing, trekking and general carousing, expect to cover a lot of ground during your festival experience. One study released last year estimated that festival-goers can burn roughly 3,000 calories per day, which means reliable footwear is a survival-must. Us adventuresome island folk are faithful to our hardy Blundstones, with their go-anywhere comfort and ability to withstand all weather. And while sandals may seem a reasonable choice, only the brave (or naive) would be willing to risk toe-crushings by overzealous moshers and whatever latest grossness awaits the floor of the port-o-john. A comfortable pair of sneakers serves as a second-best choice to boots, keeping in mind your shoes are inevitably going to get just a little bit ruined (caked with dust, most likely, or spilled with beer). A word to the wise: leave your most coveted kicks at home, friends, but also don't make it time to break in a fresh pair.
Layers Galore. From tasseled kimonos to cozy Cowichan sweaters; from vibrant baja pullovers to butter-soft flannels, Vancouver Islanders have perfected the art of layering. Don't be deceived by the weather, and don't you dare complain to your friends, "But I'm cold!" Cedar bones and pacific Blood, as they say at island-grown apparel company, RSDK, so do your island-vibes proud and pack those beanies, scarves and shawls. (And a rain jacket, or a trashbag-cum-poncho, at the very least.) (And maybe a hat, because if it's not raining, you can sure as hell bet it's gunna be blazing-balls hot.) (And your SPF 30+, while we're at it, 'cause intoxication + sunstroke = one big hot mess. Literally.)
Your Proverbial Freak Flag (or Your Literal One). I once heard that the reason so many people are attracted to music festivals is on account of the anything-goes attitude - that it's an opportunity to strip away the layers of day-to-day routine for something colourful, adventurous and a little bit zany. Certainly festival style is a testament to this fact, with attendees saving up their most be-sequinned tops and featherized accessories for the stretch of summer months. Festivals are a showcase of bold expression and innovative flare, a repackaged throwback to the peace-love-and-happiness of the Woodstock era, so be sure to craft your fash' with hella-panache!
Wet Wipes. On a more serious (and way grosser) note, the guaranteed downside of any music festival is the rapidly-declining state of the lavatory situation. Wet wipes are your saving-grace in averting disaster, with a bundle of tissue + ample squirts of hand sanitizer sufficing in a pinch. Be aware of your surroundings, and nerd out with a nighttime head lamp to insure against any unexpected surprises. And send a prayer of thanks to the good people whose job it is to make the lavatory situation just that much less "shitty." (Pun!)
Cash. Vancouver Island boasts a plethora of incredible street food vendors, with many of them taking part in the summer music festival circuit. Burning an approximate 3,000 per day works up one heck of an appetite, which means you gotta eat when you gotta eat. Carrying small bills safeguards the potential for slogging back to your campsite amid a sudden hunger attack, especially the ones that arrive sometime around midnight and necessitate an immediate devouring of butter chicken poutine (speaking from experience). Carrying cash also supports local artists and vendors offering their wares, allowing you to pick out, say, the perfect flower crown of your dreams (speaking from experience). And bonus points all around if said cash is carried in some variation of a retro fanny pack.
Water bottle. One of the best ways to guarantee the maximization of your festival-experience is keep as hydrated as possible. It's easy amid the chaos of never missing a moment to sluff it off with an "ain't nobody got time for that," but neglecting to hydrate is the difference between welcoming Day 2 with exuberant anticipation, or scorning Day 2 for its head-splitting clamor.
Earplugs. This may seem like the most un-fun festival-suggestion ever, but may just wind up being your biggest regret should you choose to ignore this invaluable tip. While one can't deny the thrill of being close enough to the stage to feel the vibrations literally prickling through your body, hours upon hours of aural stimulation (heh) can become seriously painful - think persistent, throbbing ear ache - and can take some of the fun away from seeing a favourite musician perform. Earplugs are likewise a savior if you're the type that wakes up with the first stirrings, buying you a little extra much-needed rest in the wee morning hours.
Power-up Remedies. The kindest thing you can do for yourself during the festival revelry is be kind to yourself with an arsenal of post-party-busters at the ready. Coconut water, sports drinks and nourishing snacks (cold fresh fruit and powerballs) can all help take the edge off. Likewise, be sure to take advantage of on-site services like massages, yoga, juice bars or the something akin to the wonderful festival package offered at last year's Tall Tree Festival by Victoria-based Harmony Herbals, including a morning elixir and energy-boosting powerball. And, of course, hydration and sleep are key to recovering from "status: overboard."
With some thoughtful boy-scout-planning, you're guaranteed to make your Van Isle festival experience one to remember (for all the right reasons!).