Taste of Country Festival Survival Tips
The most popular country music festivals — like the Headwaters Country Jam and the upcoming Taste of Country Music Festival — last up to five days and include dozens of artists. It's a big commitment to try to take it all in, and you'll want to do so in a way that allows you to be presentable at work on Monday morning.
Read through our suggestions and then share your own in the comment section. The 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival takes place June 12-14 in Hunter, N.Y., just two hours from New York City.
Country stars admit they like the short shorts they see in festival crowds, but the line is drawn there, for your safety. When it comes to footwear, don't bring anything you don't want getting muddy or that you can't get around in. Your six-inch stiletto heels may look like they provide good traction, but a more sensible pair of outdoor sandals will probably serve you better. The extra benefit to a waterproof shoe is that you'll be able to wear them in the community showers, should one of those be on your weekend itinerary. Bring an extra pair of sneakers to wear at night when the temperature dips low.
Unless you're going to audition for the role of the Kool-Aid man in a community play, use SPF30 or higher when you hit Hunter Mountain this summer. Bring a bottle of something that smells decent and offer it to all of your new friends. Should one guy ask another guy to spread some on his back, it's cool ... as long as the first is buying the second a round at the awesome ToC Fest concession stands.
Are you planning on camping at Taste of Country Music Festival? A pair of earplugs might serve you well if you're cranky without eight hours of sleep. Just because the music ends by 1AM on most nights doesn't mean the party stops. The tents and campers are packed tight like teenagers in a taxi, meaning you'll hear every shout, laugh and belch within two square miles. But isn't that why you're there? Party on!
If you find yourself packing multiple cameras, computers, bluetooth headsets and a tripod for your video camera, you're doing it wrong. Chances are you'll never revisit that footage. In fact, you may be glad none exists after a weekend of cold beer and country music.
Let us handle the coverage of the event. Pack light. Bring your fully-charged phone and maybe a small speaker dock for an iPod. Or, bring an acoustic guitar and create your own soundtrack after the official music has stopped each night.
It's been known to shower at Taste of Country Music Festival (it is on a mountain, after all), but you can buy an inexpensive poncho and keep it in your tent or backpack to keep dry if needed. It won't take up much room, and should the sky open up with lightning, hail and frogs, you'll be glad you planned ahead while your friends search for shelter. We don't suggest offering to share your poncho with the country cutie in the next tent, but if he or she is willing ... we won't judge your transparent intentions.
More and more music festivals are developing apps for fans to keep track of schedules and other important happenings across the long, music-filled weekend. ToC Fest brings an app for iPhones and Android phones. No more pulling a sweaty paper map out of your back pocket every time you need to find the water tent!
The headliners will steal the show, but there are great discoveries to be made at our Bud Light Stage, including lesser-known talents like Katie Armiger. It's here you'll find a real gem to talk about until next year's festival, when he or she is on the big stage. Some of the best music happens during these more intimate shows.
You paid a pretty sum for tickets and camping, so make it worth your time and money by checking out the opening acts. Often the lesser-known stars sign autographs after their sets. You may even find one or two walking around to shake hands with campers. You'll make a better impression if you know their music.
Don't be a jerk, pick up all of your garbage before you leave and be kind to our festival staff — it's just good karma! Even if security does seem to be heavy-handed and the beer vendor says you've had too much, they've got over 100,000 people to worry about and don't need your hijinks.
Find a few hours of rest each night (and maybe a few more early in the afternoon). Unless you have Monday off to recover, you'll need a little more than two hours for four days straight. It's one thing to show up with mud still stuck in your hair, but quite another to fall asleep on your keyboard. Make sure you take a break throughout the festival weekend.