A summer is not complete without attending an outdoor music festival. I love music and I love outdoors, so its a must on my summer agenda.
This summer’s line up for the 12th Annual Summer Spirit Music Festival in Columbia, MD was stacked! One word: Babyface!
After Prince passed away, I began to make a bucket list of artist I wanted to see before they left this earth. Michael and Whitney snuck up on me and I still kick myself for never seeing them live. And although I was never a Prince fan, while attending Essence Festival a few years ago, I was privileged to see him perform, and I was blown away. So, needless to say, Babyface made my music bucket list and he didn’t disappoint!
The Summer Spirit Music Festival is an annual 2-day music event that brings music lovers out by the thousands, and this year was no exception. Along with Babyface, the line up included Fantasia, Bel Biv Devo, SWV, En Vogue, Jasmine Sullivan, and Common, just to highlight a few. In the words of young kids today, this festival was going to be Lit, and that it was! I sang and danced the entire weekend!
But you simply can’t just buy a ticket to an outdoor music festival and go. You MUST prepare yourself.
This was my second year attending, and let’s just say, I did a bit of research and wasn’t going to get caught slipping this time around. So just in case you’re preparing to attend a festival before the summer is over, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your time!
Know the parking situation
Listen! Parking is key to any festival. No one wants to circle the world looking for parking or pay a million dollars when you already paid an arm and two legs for the festival ticket. Luckily this year, the Music Festival got hip to the need for a more organized parking system and offered free assigned parking lots according to when you bought your ticket, almost like boarding passes for the airport. I’d bought my ticket almost 2 months earlier and received a close parking lot that was minutes from the entrance to the pavilion. Winning!
Arrive early to mark you territory
If you didn’t purchase a ticket to sit in the seats under the pavilion, then its important to plan to arrive early enough to claim your space on the lawn to be as close to the stage as you can. Know when the doors open and be there on time. I wanted to get as close to Babyface’s sweat as a I could!
Print your tickets at home
I know we’re in the 21st century and technology has advanced to great lengths, but paper will never go out of style. When your phone dies or wants to act up right when the attendant tries to scan your ticket, you don’t want to be the one holding up the line trying to get your phone right. I WILL talk about you! Ain’t nothing wrong with having a back up!
I’m not sure who keeps spreading the rumor that black people don’t tan, but that is an absolute alternative fact! We can tan, burn, and are susceptible to skin cancer. Lather up with sunscreen, bring your flyest hat and your fanciest shades to block out the sun. Mine as well look cute while protecting your skin.
Pack food and drinks
Listen! The way my wallet is set up, buying food at an ALL day, 2-day festival could cost you $40-$50, and that’s probably not even including drinks. I like to eat!
They had a frozen margarita stand that charged $15 for an 8 ounce cup, and had the nerve to slack up on the tequila. Boy bye!
It’s good to plan a menu with your friends; each prepare dishes you can share with the group along with having cooler bags that will allow the food to last through out the day. We had pasta salad, fruit, chips and salsa, and sandwiches. Let’s just say we didn’t go hungry all day!
It’s also important to read the list of dos and don’ts of the facility so that you know what you can and cannot bring. Its nothing worse that having to throw something away that you really wanted just because you didn’t read before coming in.
Bring a comfortable chair/blanket
You’re easily going to be sitting outside for at least 8 hours or more listening to your favorite artist and you want to be comfortable. Again, another time you want to check the facility to see what they allow. Luckily this event allowed lawn chairs and I saw chairs of every kind. Some with roofs for shade; some low to the ground that reclined, and others with legs that extended so that you could elevate your feet. Many also brought blankets if they simply wanted to lay out and take a nap in between acts.
Here are a few options of chairs I found on Amazon! I’m about to upgrade my chair game for the next festival!
Be cute but comfortable
No need to bring out the stilettos, high heel boots, or cocktails dresses. Music festivals are for the cute maxi dresses and sandals, or the shorts and tank tops. Keep it simple but fashionable.
It also gets cooler in the evenings as the sun goes down, so always bring a sweater or jacket and even a pair of socks to keep your feet warm while you jam to the music.
Also, have extra pair of shoes or make sure your shoes are sturdy! On the first day of the festival we met a woman whose shoe broke while she was walking around the pavilion. Her daughter had to go and buy her a new pair of shoes. The second day, one of my friends flip fop popped as she walked along the grass. Luckily she had an extra pair of shoes in her car, but its real out there on that grass and cement. Don’t get caught slippin’!
Bring a portable charger
You are out in the middle of a large field. There are no outlets to plug in your phone when it begins to die. Portable chargers are a must so that you can capture every moment. Although, when De La Soul came out, they definitely chastised us for not living in the moment and demanded that we put our phones down and enjoy the show. He definitely had a point and after I got my picture, I put my phone down and enjoyed singing along with my favorite artist.
You have to find balance in trying to capture and simply being in the moment. Its definitely tough for a blogger, especially when you’re blogging about the event the next day!
Dance and Sing Like nobody is watching
Most of all, enjoy yourself! When you have a bunch of your favorite artist singing your favorite songs, and you know all the words to every song, you MUST dance and sing like no one is watching! Music festivals give you the opportunity to simply enjoy the soundtrack that serenaded your entire childhood, adolescent, and adult life. Between “Cool in Me” by Babyface, “Weak” by SWV, and “Poison” by BBD, they took me back and reminded how amazing black music is and has always been! It’s life! It’s our culture! It’s who we are!
Who would you like to see at a music festival?