Summer Dreamin'

Whether you’re sweating through the boiling temps at Lollapalooza, fist-pumping at Mayhem Festival or rocking out at any of a bazillion festivals around the world this summer, festival preparation is crucial to having a good time.

Here are 5 Tips for Summer Music Festival Survival that are appropriate for festival newbies and vets alike.

The basics: Sunblock, portable cell-phone charger, earplugs.

These are the bare essentials for surviving the day (or days). If you’re one of those people who claims to “tan instead of burn,” that’s not going to fly at an all-day summer show. Put sunblock on repeatedly throughout the day to avoid turning into a walking tomato. A portable cell-phone charger will keep you connected all day. Earplugs, no matter how un-hip, will save your ears in the long run. Just do it.

Don’t pass out.

Water, water everywhere. Avoid being one of those guys or gals that gets dragged out of the festival by security for passing out in the middle of the mosh pit. Drink lots of water, all day, even if you have to splurge on the pricey onsite bottled variety. Also, remember that drinking alcohol all day will only dehydrate you more.

Bring toilet paper…and hand sanitizer.

It’s not the most glamorous essential, but it’s important. Whether there is toilet paper at the festival porta-potty station or not is always a gamble. Remain on the safe side with a pack of toilet tissue or flushable wipes. The same goes for hand sanitizer; keep those mittens clean all day with a small bottle tucked away.

Avoid wackos.

Music festivals can bring out the best, and worst, in people. For the latter, it usually involves those who are drinking way too much alcohol in a massive crowd of people, many of them acting like morons. Go with friends and look out for each other. Having to babysit compromised friends isn’t a great way to spend the day, but it might be necessary. Likewise, if you sense any out-of-control types in your vicinity, move to safe territory. Ladies, always beware of the creepy guys who want to get too friendly with you, too.

Plan, plan and plan.

Think about logistics. Get there early, or else you run the risk of being stuck in standstill traffic for hours while latecomers trickle into the venue. When you’re faced with multiple stages and different bands performing at the same set times, do some planning to get to the right stage at the right time. Once you have your “A-list” of bands to see, don’t be ashamed to bring it on an old-fashioned piece of paper, in case cell-phone reception is spotty.

Oh, yeah—and don’t forget to have fun! After all, that’s the whole point.