I often ask myself why I’m such a music festival junkie. When my trip to New York presented itself I quickly realised that my dates would coincide with the Firefly Music Festival held in Dover, Delaware and so I went. I’m going to give you a guide on everything from the best times to go to international music festivals and how to organise your camping gear.

Europe vs. the Americas? Where should you go?
This is the scenario, you want to travel, you want to go to a music festival, you somehow have unlimited funds and you’re not sure where to go. If you’re into indie music then you’re going to Europe; if you’re into electro then you’re going to America. Europe has Glastonbury, T in the Park, Oxegen, Hultsfred Festival and many more. They typically have amazing indie act line-ups and the awesome thing about European music festivals is that the American artists fly out for the European festivals and the European acts, specifically the ones from the UK, kind of stay put for their music festivals, they don’t go out in large numbers to the States. That said USA rocks for electro with festivals such as the EDC chain, Electric Forest and Electric Zoo. This is just something I noticed when I was giving myself FOMO by checking out the line-ups.

Prepare your pocket
Music festivals are hilariously expensive. You have to deal with the cost of camping gear, food, drinks, your ticket and transport. If you’re not me then you’ll leave it for the last week to get everything instead of purchasing stuff like your alcohol in the months leading up to the festival whenever you see that it’s on special and you have money to do so. International music festivals are so expensive that I get angry when South Africans complain about the Oppikoppi ticket price going from R600 to R650. T in the Park, a Scottish music festival, that will be happening from the 11th of July until the 14th of July had tickets that were around R3000. Firefly Music Festival, the one I went to, had tickets that cost about R2100 excluding camping which was an additional R350 per person if they were four people in the camping spot. Coachella and Bonnaroo tickets actually have payment plans to pay for your tickets over a certain time period because they are so expensive. So you have to beware that the music festival is going to be stupidly expensive. You really have to save.

Prepare your luggage
I think the thing that has bothered me most about this entire experience was the weight and luggage restrictions that I had to deal with because I had to fly with my gear. Immediately things like tents, sleeping bags, air mattresses, cooler boxes and camping chairs seem like luxuries. Ways to work around this include:

  • Packing your essentials, this might mean that you have to take two bags and figure out how to travel with two bags or find a place to leave your second bag for the time that you’re not going to use it.
  • Buy or borrow your equipment when you get there

You will likely need rain gear.

I’m just warning you in advance. In terms of food and drinks you’re going to get your stuff in that country because it’s easier but booze from South Africa tends to be cheaper so I packed a 1L bottle of vodka into my bag.

Prepare to have your mind blown
International music festivals are just incredible and that’s not purely because of the line-up but also because of the entertainment factors included in the festivals. I won’t go into details of Firefly just yet but I can just tell you know that I’ll never look at music festivals the same way again.

If you’re looking at guide then I hope that you’re considering a trip out or already on your way. I’ll link you to the rest of the photos that I took for Consequence of Sound once they’re up.