Anyone who’s been to a music festival knows that it’s more fun when your friends are with you. However, I’ve come to notice in my experience that some festival friends are just waaaaay better than others – those I refer to as ‘bestival friends.’ They may or may not not be your best friend in real life, but when festival season rolls around, they’re the first person you want included in your carpool or campsite. Bestival friends have a unique set of qualities that make them so great – here are a few to start with.
- Bestival friends are punctual yet easygoing. Yes, going to a music festival is a vacation and should definitely be treated as such, but nothing is worse than trying to get on the road with a bunch of laggers. A bestival friend sticks to their commitments on time before, during, and after the festival, yet is flexible when unforseen circumstances or new opportunities arise.
Bestival friends are conscious of others’ wellbeing as well as their own. It’s important to know your bestival friends well enough to identify any potential issues. For example, one of my bestival friends gets really grumpy when she’s hungry, and I get really grumpy if I don’t get enough sleep. Conversely, she does ok on minimal sleep, and I do ok on minimal food – so had we not had this discussion, we could have ended up really pissing each other off. Instead, we both know to be conscious and respectful of each other’s opportunities to eat/sleep, and we recognize that although it may not be of utmost importance to ourselves, it is to the other. Communication is an important part of this quality – a bestival friend with good communication skills is invaluable.
- Bestival friends may enjoy each other’s company more so than the company of others, but they are not clingy. Sometimes you and your bestival friend might disagree on what band to see next, and that’s totally ok. Don’t get upset with each other; be ok with splitting up and experiencing things on your own – as long as you are being safe. The Festival Lawyer has some great tips for females attending festivals; so whether you plan on having some alone time or not, check those out. Know when it’s ok to split up and when it’s not ok – if your friend’s health or safety is in danger, there is no band or DJ that is worth leaving them for.
So, now that we know some great qualities that can turn you and your buds into bestival friends, let’s review what not to do.
- Bestival friends don’t lie. I went with a few friends to First City Music Festival last August, and because of our work schedules, we were planning on driving back to Reno from Monterey overnight on Sunday night. Had this gone as planned, we would have each gotten about 4 hours of sleep, making it totally doable. One individual, however, had told me that he could drive a stick shift, but then informed us about 3 hours out of Reno on the way down that he could not. This individual really screwed up our driving schedule and got to sleep the whole way back while no one else did, so needless to say, he will never make my list of bestival friends.
- Bestival friends are not careless. A different individual from our Coachella camp last year used our grill one night. We have no problem sharing, but asking would have been nice, especially since he decided to leave the propane on all night. We didn’t realize this until the next morning, and he denied it adamantly until someone else said, “Hey, remember? You made [this].” This guy’s also not considered a bestival friend.
- Bestival friends are not addicts. Yes, many individuals drink or use drugs at festivals, and my personal motto has always been “to each their own.” At the same time, though, you don’t want to be around people who really can’t control themselves. If you or someone you know has a serious issue with something, they should not be attending a festival until its under control. To mitigate the potential of this being a problem, consult with your festival friends and camp mates beforehand to find out exactly how they have a good time. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where everyone around you is using a substance you can’t stand. We’ve been there, and it makes it way more difficult to enjoy the weekend to the fullest.
Make sure you develop bestival friend skills in yourself before expecting them out of anyone else – the best way to find bestival friends is to be a bestival friend yourself. A bestival friendship is something that’s carefully cultivated, and new bestival friendships can form every year! Once you’ve got your crew situated, double check your suitcase with these must-haves. Happy festival season!