Ten Tips for Surviving a Metal Festival


We’ve all been there: mid-day at a metal festival, scorching hot sun shining down, exhausted from lack of sleep, dehydrated, drained of energy, anywhere from half-drunk to completely plastered and wondering, “How in the hell am I gonna make it all the way ’til 2am when the music stops?”

With the summer metal festival season now in full swing, MetalSucks is here to help you survive!

In partnership with the Exit 111 Festival, which is set to take place in Tennessee this October, we’ll have you in tip-top shape for getting through the punishment of those long days in the sun and bodily abuse in the moshpit. The inaugural Exit 111 features Slayer on their farewell run, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Ghost, Gojira, Deftones, Coheed & Cambria, Black Label Society, Whitechapel, Power Trip and Graveyard alongside classics such as Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. And that’s just a sampling of all the bands scheduled to play! Tickets are available now, with a special offer for installment plans open until August 16th for as little as $55 down.

Without further delay, here are ten very easy things you can do to make your festival experience the absolute best it can possibly be.

1. Bring a Back Pack

We cannot overstate how crucial this is to surviving your day! While you might think it’ll be a burden to have to carry around a backpack, you’ll be SO glad you did when you realize how easily you can tote around things like water bottles, sunscreen, snacks and a phone charging pack. You’ll also have a place to deposit any merch you’ve purchased instead of awkwardly slinging it over your shoulder, and you can stash your sunglasses there when it gets dark outside. Your friends will thank you. Future you will thank past you. If you need to get rowdy into the pit, just hand it off to a pal for a few songs.

2. Stretch in the Morning

A five minute stretching session is really all it takes to get your body in the proper state for surviving brutal 14-hour days. Focus on those problem spots that always act up when you’re out for long periods of time — stretch that lower back out, work out the kinks in your calves, whatever it is… five minutes in the morning will save you a whole lot of pain later!

3. Eat a Good Breakfast

They say it’s the most important meal of the day for a reason! Eat a proper breakfast so you stay on your usual eating schedule and don’t end up famished at odd times only to gorge yourself and feel like shit afterwards. If you’re camping, we recommend bringing along basics like bread, peanut butter and jelly, and fruit that will stay good for a few days without refrigeration and can quickly be consumed before heading out each morning.

4. Moderate Your Beer Intake Early in the Day

We know, we know… easier said than done with all that standing around. But think of it this way: would you rather reach peak drunkenness right as the headliner is going on stage or at some point in the mid-afternoon, passed out under the blazing sun? The choice is clear.

5. Don’t Plan Too Much in Advance

Festival schedules can be chaotic, whatwith multiple stages and so many excellent bands often competing for your attention during the same time slots. Yes, tough choices will need to be made. You can go crazy trying to run around between stages in order to catch 15 minutes of one band and 20 of the next, or you could just go with the flow and accept that you’re not gonna see every band you want to. Our advice: pick a small handful of bands you absolutely MUST see, then late fate decide the rest. Go with the moment. And don’t worry, that band you miss WILL come back around on tour eventually.

6. Embrace the Cat Nap!

If you feel drowsy or just a wee bit too drunk, plop yourself down on the ground, fold a hat over your face, put your backpack or shoes under your head and take a little nap. There is nothing wrong with this! It’s not “passing out,” and don’t let anyone shame you as such. You’ll wake up after ten or 15 minutes feeling fully re-energized and ready to attack the next band’s set.

7. Explore the Culinary Options

Festival food has come a looooooong way in the past decade or so, hasn’t it? Gone are the days when a shriveled up, hours-old hot dog and a rock-hard “soft” pretzel were your only options; festivals now feature dozens of local, independent vendors who serve unique, delicious dishes made with high-quality ingredients from scratch. Take some time to explore the grounds and indulge in something extra delicious.

8. Hydrate

Drink. Lots. Of. Water! Even when you think you’re not thirsty, just do it whenever you have the opportunity. Your body and mind will thank you later.

9. Get Some Sleep

Sure, you could stay up drinking until 5am with the swell folks in the tent next to you… or you could go to bed at the way more reasonable hour of 2am, get a solid six or seven hours of sleep, and be in a way better position to enjoy the following day. You know the saying “Nothing good happens after midnight”? Well, that’s bullshit, lots of stuff does, but 2am is a totally fair compromise.

10. Talk to Everyone

One of the greatest parts of going to festivals is the bonding that happens between attendees, often complete strangers who have traveled from far-away corners of the world. Revel in the shared experience! Be chatty! Share your beer, share your joints! Trade past festival stories! You’ll end up forging friendships that will last a lifetime.

The inaugural Exit 111 Festival will take place in Manchester, Tennessee (on the same site as Bonnaroo) from October 11th through 13th, 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

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