Hey Angel-Phoenix nation!! I apologize about the brief hiatus but boy, it was well worth it. Joe and I had the honor of heading up to Montebello, Quebec in Canada for a massive festival called Montebello Rock Fest at the end of June.
Now let me tell you, going to a festival in another country was no small feat. Having been to festivals such as Carolina Rebellion and Warped Tour in the past, we had some what of an idea of what to expect. But boy, did we get a ton of unexpected. When you are attending a festival with over 100,000 attendees that takes over an entire town that normally has about 1,000 residents, you never know what is going to hit you. So this is going to be part two of my “Surviving a Music Festival” advice series. (You can find part one here at Ryze-Up Magazine.)
- First off, let me start with this. Schedule extra days for travel and exploring. For us, we were smack dab in between Montreal and Ottawa, which are two of the biggest cities in that particular area. The last thing you want to do is get off a flight and rush straight into the festival the next day. We planned things so that we arrived early the first day and had one exploration/relaxation day prior to the start of the festivities. We also added an additional day at the end prior to our travel day back. I am telling you, these days were life savers.
- Speaking of extra days, always plan for an extra day after you return. Once again, big life saver for Joe and I because who knew that lightning could halt an entire airport for 5 hours. So don’t go overboard and rush yourselves to get back to work or daily life.
- One of the biggest mistakes that we made was not taking vitamin c prior to the trip. When we came back, I kid you not, I was “on my death-bed” sick with the flu for the entire week after we got back into North Carolina. It was the worst. You never know if you are going to be on a flight with someone who has the “cooties” or even worse. Same goes for the festival itself, you are packing thousands of people into a small area. Germs and bacteria galore, better safe than sorry right?
- Learn some of the language. We were lucky that I know a bit of French and was able to translate things. I will tell you everyone will assume you know the language unless you tell them differently. The phrases, “Do you speak English?”, “Thank You”, and “Excuse Me” will take you far.
- Pull out local currency when you get into the country. We got hit with TONS of international transaction fees from our bank. Even though we technically had more money to spend because of the currency difference, it was over $50 in transaction fees we would much of rather spent than had been charged for.
- As stated in “Part 1”, ponchos…. I am telling you. We were ankle-deep in mud and the rain was not stopping for us. If you can’t take rain boots with you, try to find some there if you can. Poor Joe had to throw a pair of tennis shoes away while we were up there.
- VIP – if it is available, get it. This was the ONLY way we were able to enjoy our favorite bands without having to practically suffocate from lack of space. We were lucky that our VIP included a “front stage” access area that allowed us to have some elbow room.
- See some of the local bands, now these don’t have to be your typical locals. See bands that are from the country you are visiting. You might be surprised about what your ears may have a chance to hear. I personally fell in love with a group called “The Deadly Apples” which happened to be the founder of the festival’s band. (You’ll get a review post about these dudes soon.)
- Merch – buy it early if you can. The first thing we did was bee-line for the merch tent when we got on the festival grounds. The last thing you want to do is be “merch-less” and be unable to buy your favorite band’s shirt. By the time we got to the merch tent, they were already close to selling out of a lot of things.
I have to say, Montebello Rock Fest was one of the most incredible festivals I think I have ever and will ever go to. The people and the experience is one that I will never forget, that is for sure! That’s all I have for you guys right now! If you have any tip, tricks, or advice let us know! We always love to hear about your festival adventures!