Sunday, May 29, 2011

Festival bound? Plan ahead



Over the next few months, thousands of concert-goers will herd into dusty fields and pass out from a combination of heat exhaustion and alcohol poisoning. To help you avoid this, we consulted with Frank Bombaci Sr., the organizer of the third annual B.O.M.B. Fest, taking place this weekend in Hartford, Conn. With acts like Weezer, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Best Coast playing, we figured we could trust his tips.

» Don’t lurk by the main stage
“Pay attention to all the stages and really give those artists the opportunity to be heard. At the smaller stages, the music is phenomenal — even if lots of times people don’t really know who they are,” says Bombaci. “They might be headlining next year, so now’s your chance to see them up close.”

» What to carry in
“It’s always good to bring a rain jacket,” he says. “You never know when the rain gods are gonna open up.” Actually, yes you do. During every outdoor concert ever! Another tip: Lots of festivals, like B.O.M.B., have relaxed restrictions on bringing water in, but not all. Find out ahead what you can bring and save $75 on that Poland Spring bottle. And, it’s obvious but worth noting: “Don’t forget sunscreen,” says Bombaci. “You watch people over course of the day turn into lobsters.”

» Plan ahead
“You want to get to the event early and stake out some good, strategic spots,” says Bombaci. “With a festival like ours, there’s so much music and multiple stages, you should look at the schedule and map out your strategies. Anchor your day around the one band you definitely need to see to help you figure out what you have time to check out elsewhere.”

» Don’t bring this
“At our event,” says Bombaci, “it’s not wise to bring in any kind of cooler. Those aren’t going to be allowed. You usually can’t bring in a professional style camera either. Pocket cameras are cool, but people have to be understanding that artists don’t like flashes in their faces.” Also consider leaving the doobies at home, you hippies. “It’s not a good idea,” he says. “Lots of times you walk into a festival, go to the security counter and they want you to empty out your pockets.”

» Other mistakes
“I’ve seen people bring small children to festivals, which is cool to expose them to music and a fun crowd, but you’ve got to make sure you bring ear protection for kids, and make sure they’re lathered up with sunscreen.” But what about my other child — the family dog? “Our events don’t allow pets, but some do,” says Bombaci. “I don’t think it’s a wise idea.”

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