It’s hard to imagine not feeling excited for a festival. But let's face it- it happens; whether you are in the middle of a challenging and busy period at work, going through a difficult time mentally or emotionally, or just not in the mood though you have a ticket - it just might be a very low priority. The thought of having to do more work with prepping and meeting deadlines early just so you can go have fun can feel counterintuitive. And sometimes it doesn’t make sense to go, and that is fine! Maybe you have a house project that you just cannot put off any longer or you simply would rather be at home. Festivals are happening all the time now all over the world, you can sit this one out if you need to.
However, if nothing is too dire, I recommend carving out the time to play. I know I can get back to my work with fresh eyes (after recovery obviously), and intentionally taking time to have fun would lighten up the heaviness that day-to-day life can sometimes have. That transition from sitting at my desk to derping at a festival can feel like culture shock, obviously in the best way. However, I’ve discovered that ritualizing your festival prep can be a great way to get you emotionally and mentally ready for a festival. Just like how I set myself up for meditation - lighting some incense, dimming the lights, turning off my phone- I can do the same for inducing the right vibe for capitalizing on all that I am able to enjoy and participate at the festival grounds.
It seems like kind of an outlandish idea - how could you question how to have fun? Not all of us are blessed with having amazing jobs or living situations at all times. Or perhaps one could be going through something emotionally taxing. We almost have to schedule time to have fun sometimes. I don’t know about you but when I go through my days and not have any fun, I feel like a shell of a human. The reality is that I’ve attended multi-day festivals and depending on the condition I was in when I left my home, I spend a good amount of time just trying to calibrate into being able to let go and play. I question if going to a festival is the best use of my time, especially if I’ve got so much on my plate. So what is my solution? Make the time to go to the festival. Of course this is within the parameters of if you can create the space to attend. If you’re not totally emotionally, mentally or even physically in the right place for it, that is A-okay. There are other ways that you could fill your fun cup, such as going on a retreat or simply going on a relaxing vacation. But if you are gearing toward the festival, how can we ease into it without getting whiplash?
Here are my top 5 ways to get emotionally and mentally ready for a festival.
This is easier said than done, but it is so rewarding once you can get into this. Writing a list helps me a lot so I’m not scrambling at the last minute and fussing about my closet or house looking for things. I put all my festival things in a section in my closet and I pull them out to take inventory of what I have and establish what I need. If there are specific logistics or appointments that need to be taken care of, try to do them early enough! Future you will thank you.
Take at least a day or two off between your work day and leaving for the festival. It’s always nice to be able to get a good nights sleep before starting the journey over to the festival grounds. See if the physical separation from work can start to ease the transition from an overwhelm of deadlines to an overwhelm of fun! Also, you can tie up any loose ends on this day and take care of the last minute things. If you want to be super lavish and take a bubble bath or get a massage to destress from work, that is the day to do it.
Friend / Self Action
Going to the festival with friends? I’m lucky enough to have friends I can’t get enough of so I highly recommend doing errands and prep with friends. I love going thrifting with friends for outfits, making costumes together, and raiding each other's closets. It doesn’t stop there though! You can meal prep, make totems together, make kandi(if you’re going to a proper rave), or decorate your bike (if you’re going to the Burn). But this doesn’t have to be with friends. All these things are nice ways to get away from your desk and get you in the festive spirit! Turn on your favorite sets and get your hands dirty!
Remember: “You’ll get there when you get there"
This is a quick mental shift that you can make when I know that I’m on my way to the festival and I want to get there and I want to get there now! I’ve been on a roll with getting my to-do list done and this is the last one until freedom. But just being patient with the process of going to the festival can eliminate some weight off your shoulders.
Set the intention. How do you want to participate?
Remember why you are going to the festival. Did you feel particularly called? If you did, heed the call and lean into the magic that can unfold. How do you want to connect at the festival? Bring some things to gift and share. Maybe even bring instruments to jam or bring your flow props. Are you looking to just get fucked up? Make sure you pack all your party favors. If you are looking for all the above, bring everything you know will support that - supplements, water, a good sleeping mattress. Whatever the reason is, establish your intention. And know that this can change as the festival goes on.
I mean, all of these are easier said than done. Sometimes it just is a mad dash to the finish line. You just want to get your ass into your car seat already and be on your way. You think to yourself “it’ll hit me once we’re on the road,” and sometimes that is the case. Sometimes it takes you until day 2 or even 3 to feel like you’re really there. The hope is always that you’ll have an amazing time and you’ll want to maximize the time, but remember that the experience that you’ll have is the experience that you’ll have. You can do so much prep and sometimes some things do not work out. And that is just the nature of life sometimes - so release the need to control and try to not put so much pressure on yourself and experience. There will always be more festivals and more time to frolic in the meadow, on the playa, in the jungle, at the speedway, by the lake – whatever and wherever it is.