Five Essential Things You’ll Need at a Music Festival

If you ask me why my bank account is so low, it is probably because all my money is spent on music festivals. Ever since I came to college, I have been trying my best to attend all the festivals I possibly can on the West Coast. My festival map starts in Southern California for HARD Summer and Beyond Wonderland, and ends all the way up in Washington for Paradiso. My next goal is to go to a festival somewhere on the East Coast, or even one outside of the U.S.

No matter the type of festival, there are five things I believe are essential items that will make your experience that much better.

WaterTGCBlog1. Water

One of the most important things when attending a festival is to stay hydrated. While not many festivals allow you to bring your own water bottle in, most allow Camelbaks and have water refill stations inside. This way, even if you do not own a Camelbak, you can purchase a water bottle inside and go back to the refill station for more.


MyShoesTGCBlog2.Comfortable shoes

I cannot stress how important comfortable shoes are at a festival. You are most likely going to be on your feet anywhere between six and 12 hours dancing and walking from stage to stage. My choice of shoes are my high-top Vans, they give me plenty of ankle support and are lightweight, making them easy to wear throughout the day.


ShortsTankTGCBlog3. Weather appropriate clothes

Wearing weather appropriate clothes is an absolute must. I’ve attended festivals with varying temperatures, from 100 degrees at HARD Summer in LA, to 5 degrees, at SnowGlobe in South Lake Tahoe. It is important to wear weather appropriate attire because it will not only make you more comfortable, but also makes sure you won’t be risking your health.


BackpackTGCBlog4. Backpack/fanny pack/drawstring bag

When you are running around a festival, keeping track of your phone, wallet, keys, ID and anything else you brought can be a hassle. Carrying all that in your pockets often leads to it all falling out, so you need something that is going to keep it all together. A backpack, fanny pack or a drawstring bag works perfectly. Take note that some festivals don’t allow large backpacks like the one shown in the picture, so a smaller option is always safest.


CashTGCBlog5. Cash

Last, but not least, make sure to bring cash. Cash is always great to have on you in case of emergencies. Festivals will usually have food vendors and always sell water, so in case you are in need of some extra energy you can go buy something. Cash is also great to buy merchandise or any other cool things for sale at the festival.

I hope you take my suggestions into account the next time you attend a festival. They will  make your life that much easier. If you want to find me at an upcoming festival, catch me at Northern Nights in July!

by Shane Smith, account executive

Climb Your Way Out of Your Comfort Zone

I am by no means a mountain climber. In fact, I am terribly afraid of heights. The prospect of getting on a ladder is terrifying. So it’s only natural that hiking would be far from my to-do list.

Last summer, after extensive begging and convincing, a friend got me to agree to hike up Black Butte just outside Mount Shasta. Granted this is not the largest peak in Northern California, but still for me this might as well have been Mount Everest.

The morning of, I’m in the kitchen stuffing as many water bottles in my backpack that I can find, simultaneously reaching for any substantial food that I can travel with. After all, this was my apocalypse. No way was I going to be stranded on some butte without water. Besides it’s July.  It’s 9 a.m. and already 95 degrees. This is going to be a long day.

10 a.m., I’m ready… or at least as much as I’m ever going to be.  My friend Is laughing at me carrying my heavy backpack like a life preserve as he gingerly throws his CamelBak over his shoulder.  I’m already sweating through the thick layer of sunscreen I have put on. I get in the car fed up with the day that has barely started.

We are finally at the base of the butte. I look up hopelessly trying to find the top, asking where the rocks we climb up are. I’m given a lesson on what a switchback trail is and how we don’t just simply climb rocks to get to the top. We weave back and forth through carved trails up the mountain. Great, just another way to prolong this.

It’s 100 degrees now. We are about an hour into this “fun” experience.  It only took about 15 minutes into the hike to realize that the gallon of water bottles and 10 Granola bars I so naively insisted on bringing was a terrible decision. I’m walking up steep trails fighting the weight of the backpack. My friend takes the backpack, giving me control over the CamelBak. Anything to shut me up. I remind him that it’s his fault we are here in the first place.

It’s noon. We are about halfway. I have stopped looking up. Solely focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I’m drenched in sweat and pretty sure acquiring a tan line that would make a farmer jealous.  I found a large stick that I have been walking with, trying to conserve energy.  I truly underestimated the endurance this takes.

2 p.m. My exhaustion has turned into unbridled anger. I’m yelling at my friend between draining the CamelBak and trying to maintain a steady breathing pattern. He’s yelling back. “You’ll thank me, you’ll see,” he says. “Stop being a baby.”

We finally make it.  Four long, hot hours later. I look up for the first time since beginning at the base.

It’s unbelievable.  The anger subsides, replaced by genuine awe.  I’m literally on top of the world.

I can see everything. The place that I have called home for the past 18 years I feel like I am seeing for the first time. It’s incredible.

I sit down. It’s so quiet. My friend is off on another rock doing the same. We both just sit there, not talking, silently suspended from reality.

On the way down we don’t say much. The descent only takes about an hour. We get in the car, dumping our stuff in the back seat and start driving back to the house.

“I told you, “ he said. I just nod. He is completely right.

Climbing Black Butte for the experienced hiker might not be a spectacular feat. However, to this day I never experienced anything like that again.  My purpose for writing this is to urge those of you reading this who might not consider yourself a candidate to do something like this. It was worth it.

Black Butte mountain
Photo credit: Kiely Nelson

Here are some hiking tips for you first-timers:
• Wear shoes with good grip
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate in the days leading up to the day of the hike
• Don’t over pack. Carrying an extra load will only exhaust you more.
• Buddy system. You don’t know how hard it is until you’re well into the hike. Support and encouragement is definitely recommended.
• Food: you will get hungry.
• Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses will be your saving grace.
• Camera: document it.

For more tips visit: