JC’s Declassified School Survival Guide: Music Festivals


Jc Canicosa

In a university full of SoundCloud rappers, eccentric professors and school budget cuts, JC Canicosa — that’s me — and the Wolf try to do the impossible: create a guide that will help you survive Loyola.

*cue theme song*

Writing a survival guide on musical festivals is oxymoronic because your first New Orleans music festival experience is almost destined to not go the way you expect. Ask pretty much any upperclassmen how their freshman-year Voodoo was, and watch the strange combination of nostalgia and dread fill their eyes. Fond memories of mud puddles, altered mind states, borderline medical emergencies and the Chainsmokers are all I remember from mine. So whether you’re a seasoned pro and Buku is just another weekend for you, or just bought your first Voodoo tickets and have no idea what to expect, here are some tips to make your musical festival experience survivable.

1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate, I don’t know if I can stress this enough. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate… OH, and make sure your phone is charged.

2. Uber-ing directly from the dorms to the event and back is a surefire way to drop an extra $50 on your day. Remember that companies like Uber and Lyft charge based on surging areas, so if you call your Uber from an exit or entrance spot where everyone else is calling their Ubers, you are going to be spending quite a bit of extra cash. Walk somewhere close and recognizable, like Cafe Du Monde (previously known as Morning Call) or a nearby hotel, so surge prices on your ride home aren’t crazy expensive.

3. Make an effort to see some acts that you’ve never heard of before. Remember, the traditions of music festivals are ones that have been handed down to us by the first Burning Man and Woodstock-ers, and then big sell-out names like Coachella and Hang Out Fest turned them into Post Malone concerts with five additional opening acts. The original traditions of music festivals dictate that we enjoy each act for what they are. We didn’t need big-name-filled line-ups to have fun at music festivals before, and we don’t need to now. The Woodstock-ers of the ’70’s simply enjoyed the spirit of the music and being around others who appreciated it; they didn’t need a Drake or a Katy Perry, and neither do we.

4. Stupid things will be done at the event. Probably by you, probably by your friends, probably by the two LSU guys who shove their way to the front of every headliner. The important thing is that you roll with the punches. Like I said, your first music festival experience is almost destined to not go as planned, so it’s all about how you react to those surprises. The important thing to remember is that you’re at the festival to have fun with your friends and listen to great live music. What else do you need?

5. Be safe. That’s the most important thing you have to do while you’re out there. Just please be safe. I’ve seen and helped out with more medical emergencies than I would have liked to at these festivals, and it’s always scary for me. So please, for my sake, be safe, watch out for your friends and have fun.

Go rock out or mosh or rave or whatever you’re into, Wolf Pack.

Fireworks pop off at the final set of Voodoo Music + Arts Experience Oct. 28, 2018. Voodoo celebrates their 20th year this year. Photo credit: Sidney Ovrom