In 2018, I attended my first-ever Outside Lands by myself… and it was one of the best experiences ever. In fact, it was so great that I am doing it all over again this year at Outside Lands 2019! The attendees were so wholesome, the art was amazing, the music blew my mind, and overall I had an outstanding time. This experience really pushed me out of my comfort zone (in a safe way), and going alone really helped me to enjoy everything I experienced just a little bit more than I would if I were with a group. There are LOTS of things to keep in mind when attending an event by yourself, so here are some tips to make sure your solo journey is on of preparation, safety, and fun.
1. Pre-Arrange Transportation
Clearly, I am all about being spontaneous. But one big must for raving solo is planning your rides to and from the venue. Whether you are driving yourself, using a rideshare app, or getting a ride from a friend, plan ahead! You can almost always find a map of the venue with detailed cross streets, so use that to your advantage.
If you are driving yourself, be aware of where the parking lots are and make sure you have enough cash to pay for parking if needed. If you are using Uber/Lyft, find out where the available pickup locations will be so that you aren’t scrambling at the end of the night looking for your ride among the other thousands of attendees. And finally, if you are having a friend/family member dropping off and picking you up, do your research ahead of time to find out the closest drop-off/pick up areas! The streets beyond festival perimeters are often very hectic and populated with non-festival goers, so be prepared with a plan to avoid as much of the chaos as possible.
2. Prep a Bag Ahead of Time
As you are attending solo, it is important to be prepared with everything you may need for the weekend. This means heading over to your local Walgreens to check off your list of “must haves,” some being: gum, chapstick, extra cash (just in case, because ATM fees at festivals can be steep), a jacket or space blanket, and whatever else you even just think you may need! You are about to be the primary person for yourself to rely on, so it is important that you bring everything you need.
That includes your ID and ticket! When heading to a fest with friends, you usually have each other to double check that you each grabbed your necessities, however, going alone is a different story. It’s super easy to leave behind the simple things (ticket and ID being the most unfortunate to forget).
Photo Credit: @marli_alexa
3. Have a Friend on Standby
This is just a bonus precaution, but I always coordinate with a friend or family member who is NOT attending the festival to “keep an eye on me.” If you have an iPhone, share your location with them so that they can see that you are within festival perimeters. In addition, ask them to text you for check-ins everyone couple hours.
When I asked my friend to do this for me at OSL, she was more than happy to help, because she wanted me to be safe!
4. Bring Fun Gifts
People LOVE receiving little surprise gifts, so this is one easy way to make your solo adventure extra fun and make friends while doing so. Whether it’s gum (individually wrapped pieces), little toys from the Dollar Store, glitter, or any other freebies, people will appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity.
It can be intimidating to approach others when alone, so gifting something little is always an easy way to break the ice! Kandi is definitely my favorite form of gift-giving. Before a festival, I like to make tons of singles with fun words or just the festival name. If you are shy, kandi is one of the most special ways to form a connection with someone because you can easily do so without speaking. Just tap someone on the shoulder, hold up your peace sign, and show them you are ready to trade them something unique!
5. Preserve Phone Battery
This is one of THE most important tips (whether you are raving solo or not). Your phone battery is everything, it’s how you are going to document your weekend, navigate your way through the fest, and safely get to and from the venue. There are many ways to ensure your power will last, but here are a few:
- Portable chargers → are lifesavers!
- Disposable camera → if you’re like me, you love to capture photos all night. The camera app is one of the most power draining features on cell phones, so bringing disposables is great for not only saving your phone battery, but capturing some pretty sick photos.
- Turn off bluetooth → unless you have your airpods in (which I assume you are not granted you are most likely surrounded by some of the biggest artists in the industry), turn off your bluetooth settings because it is a big battery drainer!
- Close apps → apps running in the background of your phone tend to use battery without you even knowing, so close anything you don’t need ahead of time.
- Charging stations → look into festival amenities/maps because bigger events tend to implement charging stations. Make sure to bring your own cord and charging block.
iHeartRaves sells some stylish and affordable phone chargers, like this one! Click here to check them out.
6. Party Responsibly
If you are over 21 and plan on drinking, definitely do your thing and have fun. BUT (there’s always a but), be responsible. When you’re alone, it’s important to have your guard up at times, so avoid getting too incoherent to ensure that you are present, having fun, and making smart choices (but still have lots of fun).
Party responsibly so you can come back for the next 50 years! Photo Credit: @iheartraves
7. Utilize the Festival’s Crew
Events will have staff on deck that are there to solely help attendees with ANYTHING! So utilize them. Whether it’s program volunteers like Conscious Crew and Ground Control, or the festival’s security team, they are here to help! If you’re ever feeling uncomfortable? Tell them. If you’re ever lost? Tell them. They will guide you to where you want to go. If you’re simply just feeling lonely and the whole solo thing is getting difficult? Tell them. They will keep you company and have fun doing so!
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Approach Police
Every event will always have police on deck as well, so use that to your advantage. They are here to ensure your safety, so do not be hesitant to approach! Most cops are actually really kind and enjoy meeting festival-goers.
At my first solo OSL, I had a friend pick me up after the event but was a little nervous to walk to where I was meeting them. I asked one of the police to walk me to my car and she was more than happy to take me there. So do not be afraid! Whether it is walking you to your parked car, verifying your Uber/Lyft, waiting with you until your ride arrives, or whatever it may be, police are present for these exact reasons and they will be more than happy to do whatever it takes to help you stay safe.
9. Make Friends on the iHeartRaves Family Facebook Page
People are always posting on the iHeartRaves Family Facebook page, so join in on the fun! If you need to request access, an admin will accept your request pretty quickly. Lots of people will tend to post a roll call prior to a fest to see who else is attending, but if you don’t see a post for your event yet, then make one! Often times, many other people will comment saying they’re going solo too, so you’re not alone! This is a great way to make friends within the iHeartRaves community, and you quite possibly might make a new festy friend and attend with them :)
10. Have Fun! (Duh)
The final tip I have for you is to just have fun! There are lots of things to worry about, but when you are at the fest in the middle of the crowd watching your favorite DJ’s set, just do your best to live in the moment. Treasure the opportunity for connection with others. Enjoy everything that the event has to offer. Focus on yourself and follow an agenda that fulfills your needs. And let this be an opportunity to grow and really get to know yourself more. Flying solo can be a life-changing, inspiring, soul collecting experience, so enjoy every minute of it.
Got any other tips for solo attendees? I want to hear them, so comment below to help keep your fellow ravers safe, happy, and having fun! Also let me know if I will see you at Outside Lands this year!