I Need Your Help Before Losing My F-Card…

by Eric Van Dril · 31 comments

In the mud, mud havin funI have never been to a music festival.

August 6, when The Strokes headline Lollapalooza, that will change. I will lose my festival virginity and, in preparation, I am seeking all the help I can get. This is where you come in. I know many of the TSN.com readers have attended festivals before, so I am asking for your help by answering a simple five-question survey, the answers to which I will post on this site beginning on Sunday.

This isn’t directly tied to The Strokes, but I think it will get everybody in the mood for the band’s shows in Australia and the States. Plus it allows everybody to get involved, which is my favorite part of having a readership (that and picture requests).

With that said, the following five bullet points include four questions I would like people to answer and one that is your choice. This question can be anything you want. It can be that you had a great corn dog at Peace and Love, bathroom advice or a story about ‘shrooms. Anything.

  • Most memorable experience (doesn’t have to involve music).
  • Favorite set.
  • What is your advice to a first-timer?
  • How do you suggest smuggling and consuming banned substances, if you’re into that kind of thing?
  • Anything goes…

I sincerely look forward to reading and posting everybody’s answers, which you can e-mail to thestrokesnews@gmail.com.


I’m spitballing here: For those who haven’t been to a festival, do you have questions you’d like to be answered about attending a festival? Is there anything you’d like to know? If so, send me an e-mail to the e-mail address above with all of your questions. If I get enough, I’ll make a post with all of the questions and edit in the answers from the comment section.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 steven July 15, 2010 at 9:12 pm

1. cant remember
2.explosions in the sky
3.try keep your tent as clean as possible, bring toilet roll
4.from my experience festival security is hialriously minimal. i mean a pat on the bag and they go on your word if you have banned substances
5.appreciate how fuckin lucky you are for gettin to see the strokes play the set they feel best to play after the first three albums( big chance they’ll be the three you’ll love most). dig that gig enough for all the rest of us who dont get to see them please

2 Conrad July 16, 2010 at 9:05 am

1. I’ve only been to one festival, and it was last years awesome Bonnaroo. 2009. Honestly, absolutely everything about it was perfect, from smoking a j in every state on the way (including the hotel room in Georgia), to Getting there and setting up, to getting drunk as hell before the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, it was perfection in a music experience.
2. MGMT/PUBLIC ENEMY. Mgmt played all of Oracular Spectacular, Destrokk from their EP, and 3 songs of Congratulations no one had ever heard before. And PE played ALL of It Takes a Nation of Millions to hold us Back, the first rap album i ever bought.
3. Bring lots of Water. Sometimes lines for water are ridiculous. And bring a camera. Disposable bring like 4. Youre gonna wanna remember it. And if YOU enjoy banned substances, i recommend taking it easy before ze strokes. I mean treat yourself but dont go crazy. Things can get outta hand at festivals hahaha. I dont remember half of the Mars Volta. Although i do know it was awesome. But you’re gonna wanna remember the strokes forever.
4. Its a joke. If youre driving to a festival i think a tub of coffee is your best bet to avoid smelling it. But you live in chicago so youll be fine. The security there is just like steven said, a joke. IF they catch you (small if) theyll probably just take whatever it is and let you move along. Greedy bastards haha.
5. Ill see you there Eric ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so excited. Its going to be amazing. ESPECIALLY Friday. Ive never seen the Strokes. I think i might fuckin cry hahaha

3 Ruth July 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

1. Rockness this year!
2. The Strokes, for obvious reasons
3. You’re a guy, so you’re fortunate enough to be able to avoid the portaloos as much as possible, but you need to be prepared for how horrible they are.
Bring whatever food you need with you, as its ridiculously expensive, eg. noodles were ยฃ7
Try to avoid rapists wearing masks of the queen of england’s face, although that was probably a rarer situation!
4. Your best bet for *illegal substance* smuggling is wrapping it in clingfilm. Works like magic, unless this is some particularly pungent weed. Aside that, bottom of the bag – no one will search you,. It’s almost disappointingly easy!
5. Come august 6th, get to the stage hella early and work your way towards the front, it’ll be worth it. Although i’d reccommend being maybe 2nd or 3rd row and using the people in front of you as cushioning, as i was significantly injured/bruised by my front row escapades and generally being crushed at the strokes at rockness. ENJOY!

4 Mary Shea July 16, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Dudeee Lolla is creeping up! And my…acquaintance…offered me FREE tickets, yet he hasn’t answered any of my questions since. So I’m not even sure if I’m going. I feel like I keep pestering him so I’ve backed off a bit, but seriously, I need to know: expenses, transportation, shelter, etc. It’s driving me insane. I know I have questions about festivals as I’ve never been either, but I can’t think of anything. Plus thinking about Lolla is kind of irksome right now haha. But I’ll have to get back to you.

5 Hanan July 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

1. My first festival was my very first concert. I knew then, that I was in love with music, and everything associated with it. Had my first kiss that day–made out with a stranger who said my lips smelled good. Ah, youth.
2. So many at Coachella. Julian C for obv reasons but I was super stoned for Beach House and Girls and both those sets rocked my world
3. Take two or three canteens, fill them halfway with ice then the rest with water. Trust me. Water is your best friend.
4. I always use a glasses case to bring my pipe and herb anywhere. Seals the smell in and nobody will ever open it. I agree, security is usually superrr lax about this kinda thing but I’ve had people open my cig box before to “make sure” I wasn’t hiding anything
5. I wouldn’t suggest being super fucked up for your favourite bands. Especially being up front, where it’s sweaty and cramped, you don’t want to be inebriated. Trust me, the deafening tones of the music more than suffices.


6 Steph July 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm

This post is really helpful for me, as I will be going to my first festival when I see Ze Strokes at ACL, so thanks! The only question that popped into my head at the moment was about being in the front row- is it scary, do you risk injury, or is it totally worth it? But Ruth and Hanan had some good answers for that. I look forward to all of the other answers!

7 Edith July 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Looks like me and Steph are on the same page. ACL will also be my first festival, and my main concern is being up front for the Strokes. All the other bands that I wanted to see on Friday, I already saw earlier this year. So I’m not too worried about missing them. They also managed to book a lot of the bands I like at the same time. I don’t know if I should see Broken Bells or The Black Keys.

I guess my main question is, would it be stupid of me to just worry about being up front for the Strokes? Would that defeat the purpose of a festival, going around and scoping new bands? Or is it possible that I could go around and check out other bands and still manage to get a good spot for the Strokes?

8 dave July 17, 2010 at 3:57 am

1. the strokes at rockness
2. as above
3. check the weather check the weather and again check the weather so you can prepare properly, last time i was at a festival with nothing but two pairs of shorts and a pair of converse in a weekend of rain with a NON-waterproof tent. idiocy at its highest level.
4. in the uk there are police dogs at the entrance so the best thing I did was buy some premade pasta in a plastic bowl from a supermarket and wrapped my weed in clingfilm and stuck it in the middle of some smelly pasta and the dogs did not detect it.
5. stay perfectly sober 12 hours before the strokes so you can truly appreciate them, my mate got very drunk and regrets it so much.

9 Eric Van Dril July 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for the responses everyone, they’ve been really helpful. I have about five e-mails with these questions answered, so I’ll just post them all Sunday and Monday.

@Mary Shea – I have an extra ticket after the person I was supposed to go with backed out. So if you want it, I’d sell it to you for 50 or 60 dollars.

10 Steph July 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Edith, that is my dilemma exactly!

11 Jessi July 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm

1. Lolla 2009, friday-mud fight in the rain -AMAZING.
2. I can’t just pick one…Jane’s Addiction was pretty amazing at Lolla last year. Radiohead was amazing in 08 & so was MGMT as it was my first time seeing them. A dance party ensued during “Electric Feel”
3. Bring water, travel toliet paper ($3 at Walgreens) was a great investment, and a FULLY CHARGED camera, if you’re like me and want to capture every moment (including the train ride home)
4. Have someone else smuggle in your “banned substances” that way if they’re caught, they’re out and you’re still in to enjoy The Strokes ๐Ÿ™‚
5. Don’t try to see everyone. Pick out your ABSOLUTE favorites and stick with it. If there’s down time, don’t just sit there, go around and see bands you’ve never heard of. Also worship The Strokes friday night -fuck GaGa.

12 Edith July 17, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Steph, I could start a whole conversation here, but I don’t want to take up all the space. You can e-mail me at edith_partida@att.net ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Eric Van Dril July 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm

@Edith and Steph – You can take all the space you want.

14 Michala July 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Here’s my advice: if you want to be sure to get up front for The Strokes (at Lollapalooza anyways, i dunno about other festivals), get there right before Mavis Staples ends. Make sure you eat right before that or have food with you. You could probably make it to the very front if you get there later than that, but definitely make sure you’re there right before The New Pornographer’s set ends.. because that’s when masses of people leave, and you can push your way verrrrry far in that brief period of time.
As far as the front row being advantageous, I think it is, but that’s only because I’m pretty short.. If I was normal height, maybe being 1 or 2 people back would actually be good.. As long as you’re close enough to the front where the security guards can pour water in your mouth when you ask..

15 Steph July 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Thanks Eric! @Edith- I’ll go ahead and send you an email to get your take on the schedule and such.

16 Laurena July 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

Im late on this but it seems fun so i wanna answer ๐Ÿ™‚

1. My most memorable experience was without a doubt last Sunday night at Oxegen when Julian pointed at the flag i had decorated for him, smiled, bowed and mouthed thank you. Mind blowingly amazing.

2. Aside from Julian last week, Kings of Leon at Oxegen 08 were absolutely unbelievable. I know most people are all like “wah wah wahh KOL are soo overrated now and like, totally not cool and indie anymore” but i dont give a shit, that set was the most incredible thing iv ever seen.

3. Oooh to a first timer… well im presuming Lolla and other American festivals are alot different to Irish/UK festivals so my advice probably wont suit too much. But i suppose something that applies to all festivals is – BRING LOTS OF FACIAL WIPES. Seriously. Those things will get you through more than you can imagine.

4. The only “substances” iv ever brought is alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol (im Irish, its ok). At Oxegen we were obviously allowed bring it all into the campsite (aside from anything in glass bottles) but on the way into the arena we were checked so boys, hide it in your wellies and underwear. Girls, go to a guy security guard cos they cant feel you up to check if you have anything.

This has made me really sad. I wanna be going to Lolla ๐Ÿ™

17 Laurena July 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

Oh and about getting to the front for The Strokes – if it was me at a festival over here, i would just stay at the stage their on all day because most people who get to the front row early in the day dont tend to move until the end. But i dont know what American fans are like at festivals… if their the type to not eat, drink or pee for the day then they’ll stay at the stage all day too, in that case you should too.

18 napaloo July 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Land’s End!! can’t wait for Jules& Co.!! done a ton of festivals (hey i’m old!) but here’s my 2 cents:

1. most memorable experience: Jerry Garcia’s Funeral. memorial show in ’94 at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco…like a member of the family had died. i was 12. mom & dad were deadheads, grew up “Grateful” at over a hundred shows (many, like Eugene, Or. every year were camping shows, good times! great way to grow up, but makes it a challenge-you become a musician/music nazi that doesn’t suffer fools gladly from a very young age). B Real (Cypress Hill), Branford Marsalis, Leo Kotke and Dave Grisman (Jazz/Bluegrass legends) played the song “Scarlet Begonias” w/a couple of the guys from Rancid and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos). so beautiful. Saw my Dad cry for the very first time.
2. Favorite Set: i’m not just a Strokes fan, obviously i’m a Deadhead (comes w/the territory growing up in the SF Bay). you have NO IDEA how difficult this one would be to answer. Entire books have been based on this question. at Berkeley there’s a professor teaching a class on this question right now! my x-boyfriend wrote his PhD dissertation at UCSF on this very topic! i’m gonna pass.
3. Advice to 1st timers: do wear sneakers. lip balm w/sunscreen. oh yeah, spray bottles are lifesavers, (especially for trippers) trust me. get there early, verrry early to the stage they play on and wait it out w/a friend that will hold your place if you have to leave (bathroom, drinks, etc) don’t plan on having food up close, eat prior to getting your spot, which leads to…
3-4. Advice/Contraband: keep it simple, and remember: the Golden Rule applies, do unto others…if you smoke alot, keep ozium in the car or take edibles. don’t leave your shit out (ie, keep it LOCKED in the trunk) and if you get pulled over, whatever you do, keep your mouth shut and NEVER let them search. cops will let you go before waiting for a warrant. inside the venue bring pre-rolled joints. if security is tight, a bra is really the best hiding place! use an altoids/stash box. you’ll titrate more THC smoking a joint and besides, you’ll barely be able to breath up front, let alone have the room it takes to negotiate loading a bowl. oh, yeah, if you pass it outside your circle of friends-DON’T EXPECT TO GET IT BACK-surrender it to the Karma Gods knowing you do a good thing. also, ESPECIALLY in the heat, don’t drink alcohol. drugs are much easier on your system. if you dose, do it (shrooms, X, acid) about 45- mins before the show, and be prepared to melt down accordingly. remember: no one likes the douche that can’t handle their drugs-that means if you get claustrophobic when you trip-DON’T DO IT. if X makes you puke-DON’T DO IT. if acid makes you wanna take off all your clothes and roll around on the ground howling like a dog, then be prepared to get laughed at and kicked around and have it show up on youtube the next day. if you don’t know cause you never tried it before: DON’T DO IT. nobody’s gonna babysit a newbie, especially after the band gets on stage, you’ll just end up pissing people off.
5. Anything goes..: have fun. meet everybody! share your drugs: what goes around comes around! don’t be a dick. be fearless, make out with strangers! and last but not least DON’T video tape if you’re too close, it’ll fuck up the sound.

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