How to Survive the 2016 Underground Music Showcase

Two UMS veterans having a good time outside the Irish Rover.EXPAND
Two UMS veterans having a good time outside the Irish Rover.
Ben Wiese

Music festivals can be cruel to first-timers. While you're dealing with sunburns and stolen backpacks, there's always a properly prepared individual nearby, looking effortlessly comfortable — and not sharing their secrets. Denver's Underground Music Festival presents its own unique challenges, since it takes place over multiple days and an entire neighborhood's worth of venues. In an attempt to make this weekend's festival a bit more enjoyable for the first-timers, here are six tips from UMS veterans that will get anyone through it in one piece.

The hi-dive's general manager David McGarvey finding a moment to relax.EXPAND
The hi-dive's general manager David McGarvey finding a moment to relax.
Ben Wiese

6. Drink lots of water. Then more water...and more water. 
The best way to fight off hangovers and heat exhaustion is to put down that Extra Gold every so often in favor of some water. This goes for the bartenders, the bands, the attendees — everyone. The only way to truly make it to Monday morning is to hydrate, hydrate more, and hydrate again. 

Ryan King of Champagne Charlie shortly before kicking off the night at 3 Kings Tavern.EXPAND
Ryan King of Champagne Charlie shortly before kicking off the night at 3 Kings Tavern.
Ben Wiese

5. Don't let the crowd scare you.
Sure, crowds can be huge, tightly packed — and sometimes mean. Don't let that stop you from shuffling your way up to the front or jamming out during your set. At the end of the day, everyone just wants a good time, and you are part of that. 

Michelle Rocquet and Harmony Rose of Milk Blossoms chatting prior to their show.EXPAND
Michelle Rocquet and Harmony Rose of Milk Blossoms chatting prior to their show.
Ben Wiese

4. See a band with a name you dislike. 
The entire point of UMS is to bring Denver music fans to one place to see very talented musicians. Band names can be bomb (Flaming Lips, Blood Orange) or they can be wack (Limp Bizkit), but they ultimately don't determine whether you'll enjoy the band. Look at it as an opportunity to feel two different things at once. 

Metropolis barista Tom Segal doing some people-watching.EXPAND
Metropolis barista Tom Segal doing some people-watching.
Ben Wiese

3. Don't wear flip-flops.
It's for your safety, and also it's because flip-flops are too chill. The actual way to determine if a shoe will survive UMS is to ask yourself, "If stomped on by Doc Martens, will these be destroyed?" If the answer is "yes," then put on some socks, friend. Much respect to vacation dads, but the flip-flops should probably sit this one out and stay near a pool. 

Don Smith is attending his sixth UMS.EXPAND
Don Smith is attending his sixth UMS.
Ben Wiese

2. Take care of the wristband.
It's with you for days. Don't put it on too tight and be uncomfortable, but not too loose and have it slip off. Bring some very non-threatening scissors and trim up the slack that sticks out to the side. Just be respectful of it.

More beer drinking at the 2011 Underground Music Showcase. More photos: People of the Underground Music Showcase.
More beer drinking at the 2011 Underground Music Showcase. More photos: People of the Underground Music Showcase.
Aaron Thackeray

1. Don't be a dick.
Don't be a dick — to the bands, bartenders, fellow fans, non-concert-goers, Baker neighborhood residents. It's that simple, really.  


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