7 Signs You're Getting Too Old for Music Festivals

posted by Maressa Levy on August 30, 2013

Photo: Firefly 2013 by Laura Baker-Finch

I celebrated my 26th birthday last week, and while many of you are probably saying "C'mon, 26 isn't that old," this festival season tuckered me out. Don't get me wrong, I love music festivals and will undoubtedly be attending them until I'm 80, but there are some sure signs that I am no longer in my festival-going prime (give me a shady seat over a front row spot any day, thank you very much). Scroll down to find out if you, too, are afflicted by advancing age.

1. You're more concerned about staying hydrated than getting drunk.

Long gone are the days of festival pre-gaming, guzzling warm beer all day, post-festival partying, and getting up to do it again the next day (in hindsight, I don't think I ever had the stamina for that, but I can pretend). These days you can find me with multiple bottles of water in tow, breaking for every refillable water station, and ensuring that my fellow festivalgoers are drinking their weight in water hourly (just kidding, don't do that. You will literally drown. But stay hydrated).

Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

2. You always bring earplugs, and actually use them.

Back in my youth, I would hop from stage to stage without any regard for the wellbeing of my delicate cochleas. Buy earplugs - they're cheap, they're hardly noticeable, and you'll thank me later. I promise.

Photo via ETY

3. You find yourself thinking Do their parents know they're here?! every time you see someone under the age of 18.

I could tell I was getting older when I started sympathizing more with parents than with kids. While I could once ignore the hoards of sixteen-year-olds with plastic glitter pacifiers to quell their molly-fueled urge to have something in their mouths, now the very site of anyone under 18 at a festival gives way to waves of anxiety. Who is driving them home? Are they staying hydrated? Do they know where the medical tent is? Do they know the signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning? I digress - thankfully, I'm still a few years away from giving unsolicited advice and subtly tucking condoms into their backpacks.

Photo by Natalie Frielich

4) You swap your neon paint for sunscreen.

While neon paint and feathers are all the rage, I'd love to see the amount of SPF in that fabulous fuchsia shade you're sporting as eye black, my young friend.

Photo by Marjana Jaidi

5) You're lucky if you plan your outfit more than 10 minutes in advance, let alone buy or make a new one for the occasion.

Do I care if this gets covered in mud? Will it make me sweat anymore than is absolutely necessary? I have yet to go to a festival without losing at least once article of clothing to the mud, sweat, blood, and tears of festivals - if it cost more than $20, it's staying home.

Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

6. You're aware of the very real dangers of mosh pits and crowd surfing.

Maybe it's because I'm 5'3" but mosh pits scare the living daylights out of me. I come up to the shoulder of an average-height person, and as the old adage says, "one man's fun is another man's shoulder-ridden black hole of death."

Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

7. You're just as excited about the food as the music.

Festivals make me want to eat a lot, all the time. Something about the endless lines of food trucks and stalls gets my blood flowing, and I'm happiest with a snack in one hand and a hard cider in the other (with a water bottle tucked safely in the crook of my arm, of course). While city dwellers are jaded by the food trucks lining the streets on the regular, I can only imagine what a row of $3 tacos and condensed milk drizzled over fried chicken tucked inside a biscuit (Baohaus, anyone?) looks like to the suburbanite. Heaven. The answer is it looks like heaven.

Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

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See Also:

6 Tips for Packing Light for a Weekend Festival
Low-Maintenance Grooming for Camping Festivals
Music Monday Playlist: Bumbershoot 2013