Concerts

How to Survive Colorado Music Festivals

Global Dub Festival at Red Rocks on May 12.
Global Dub Festival at Red Rocks on May 12. Aaron Thackeray

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What NOT to Do:

DON'T TOUCH
This is for you, predatory assholes. Maybe you thought you would take advantage of all the "freedom" and "love" and lowered inhibitions to hook up with a stranger (or acquaintance or friend) — and that's fine, that's great. BUT just because someone — yes, even a female-bodied person! even someone smaller than you! — is wearing fewer clothes than usual does not indicate that this person wants attention from you or anybody else. Clothing (or lack thereof), dancing, crowd-surfing, drinking or using substances, or simply being at a festival — none of this is an invitation for you to cross boundaries or even to approach. Do not touch without express invitation and affirmation. Let's add to that (can't believe we have to reiterate this, but these crimes are rampant in these spaces): Don't harass, threaten, fondle, assault or rape anyone.

Be a good citizen/human
If you see shit going down or simply have a bad feeling about what you've observed, don't hesitate to say something — whether directly to the people involved to let them know you are a witness, or to security. Step in or even simply stand between a person and their harasser. Festivals are places where thousands of people party together, which makes for a lot of vulnerability, so for Based God's sake, watch out for each other.

click to enlarge Global Dance Festival Day 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, on July 22, 2017. - MILES CHRISINGER
Global Dance Festival Day 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, on July 22, 2017.
Miles Chrisinger
Don't be a Wook. Slow and steady wins the festival, my friend. Microdose this marathon.


Be a good neighbor
Remember: While you might only be in that neighborhood or mountain for the festival, people do actually live there. Don't trash the place. For example, the Westword Music Showcase happens in the Golden Triangle, Underground Music Showcase takes place in Denver's Baker neighborhood, and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival goes down in Lyons. So don't piss in someone's front yard. Don't block driveways. On the flip side, come back when there's no festival and patronize businesses that have nothing to do with glow sticks.

What to Do:

Eat!
Sure, buy your $15 ancient grains bowl. But look out for vendors and booths giving away free samples of their products and load up!

Wear those earplugs you brought
We swear, you can actually hear the music better. And you'll be able to rock through the ages, friend.


See your favorite artist
Prioritize the big reason you bought the ticket: the MUSIC, man. Make sure you're hydrated, fueled, crewed-up and in position for the artist you most want to see. Even if you're not in the front, making that moment special will indeed make it so.

Summer music festival season is here, and where better to enjoy it than in the Rocky Mountains? - BRANDON MARSHALL
Summer music festival season is here, and where better to enjoy it than in the Rocky Mountains?
Brandon Marshall
Check out artists you haven't seen or have never heard of
That's the magic of a festival setting, after all! Discovery and surprise and mashing artists together who have nothing, really, to do with each other. Even if it's just the musicians on stage immediately before the act you really want to see, pay them some respect and listen — then cheer and applaud.

Explore non-musical elements
More and more, festivals are incorporating non-musical entertainment, whether it's art installations, silent discos, flea markets, workshops, the Yoga Sanctuary at ARISE or even rafting excursions. Take advantage and add dimension to your experience, as well as a much-needed break.

click to enlarge Global Dance Festival Day 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, on July 22, 2017. - MILES CHRISINGER
Global Dance Festival Day 2 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, on July 22, 2017.
Miles Chrisinger
How to Get the Hell Out of There:

Leave early
Arrange for your ride well in advance and watch the final encore from the back of the crowd (which in itself is a pretty rad view). Or head back to set up your campsite before it gets dark.

Farewell tailgate
Instead of fighting the parking lot traffic deadlock, pop open the pre-packed cooler in your truck. Have a late-night sandwich, chug some water, and recap the festival with your friends. Your ears may still be ringing, but that's just the sound of a good time.

No, it's not
That's tinnitus.
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Katie Moulton is a former Westword music editor. She's written about culture for alt-weeklies since 2009 and has also worked as a venue manager, radio DJ/producer and festival organizer. Her go-to karaoke jams are "Flagpole Sitta," by Harvey Danger, or "Ride Wit Me," by Nelly, which tells you a lot.
Contact: Katie Moulton