With New Year's Eve parties and concerts around the corner, let's revisit a few pro tips on how to have a safe and enjoyable experience as you say so long to 2019. Follow these guidelines (and more from groups like DanceSafe), wear ear protection and act sensibly, and you might enter 2020 with your hearing, limbs and dignity intact.
Check the Rules
Each venue has a unique set of rules, and it's wise to review what you can and can't bring and do before you head to a party or show, since some of those rules might surprise you. Can you bring glow sticks? Signs? Water bottles? Edibles? Even if you plan on breaking the rules — because who isn't smoking a joint at most Denver concerts? (and no, you can't legally do that just anywhere in Denver) — you can minimize your chances of getting busted.
Take Public Transportation or a Rideshare
Driving is a bad idea. It's expensive, and if you're inebriated, it's potentially deadly. If you're sober, bike and foot are great — and free — ways to get around. But if you're not, take public transit (RTD is largely free on New Year's Eve), or if that's not for you, consider a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
Have a Designated Driver and Sober Buddy
Planning on drinking, smoking, shooting, snorting or eating drugs? We're not judging. But if you're planning on compromising your better judgment, recruit a friend or a few to watch your back and get you home. Better yet, volunteer to be that sober friend, so that your buddies in recovery aren't stuck in that role again and again and again.
Check Your Drugs
With fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids adulterating the drug supply, we recommend having your drugs tested before ingesting — even once safer drugs like molly. DanceSafe is a stellar organization that offers drug testing at music festivals and venues. Check with that organization to see where it will be on New Year's Eve, and don't be surprised by what your dealer's dealer's dealer's manufacturer put in your product.
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Be a Good Person
We're borrowing this phrase from extraordinary Denver artist Thomas Evans – and about a million other people — because we think it's a terrific mantra to live by. Be a good person! Be kind to people. Tip well. Buy a drinker a drink, but not too many. Share your smoke — but only if you're sure it's a clean supply. If you're sober, drive someone to their place after the celebration. Leave your weapons and temper at home, and share space kindly. There've been too many fights at concerts and parties lately, and our community needs to cut that out in 2020.
Speaking of being a good person, if you want to touch, kiss, hug or pat somebody, ask for consent. Even if you're drunk. Even if they seem into it. Even when the ball drops. Even if you're sure nobody would turn you down. It's simple: "May I (fill in the blank)?" If the answer is yes, have fun. If not, don't push the point or guilt-trip the person. Just go on your merry way. And make sure that whomever you're hooking up with is able to give consent: Are they sober? Old enough? Sane? If so, go for it.
If you're planning to hook up, bring condoms, dental dams and lube (and make sure you know how to use all of it). Get on PrEP. And double-down on consent. Have a good time, and make sure your partners do, too.
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Sure, there are plenty of great concerts taking place around town with visiting artists. But Denver bands are also putting on their fair share of shows. Consider bringing in the New Year with one of your hometown heroes: The Yawpers, Itchy-O, the Velveteers and Leftover Salmon all have deep Colorado ties.
Whether you're drinking, drugging, dancing or all of the above, stay hydrated...especially if you're new to Denver. And make sure you take in some electrolytes along the way. Cottonmouth is nasty, headaches are awful, passing out is worse, and you can die without enough water. Don't do that.
We spend a lot of time at shows and in clubs, and we're always horrified to see how many people, from all generations, skip wearing ear protection. Listen, we understand. The booming music does sound better without earplugs — one or two times. But soon that ringing in your ears will be the soundtrack to your life, and you'll find yourself asking people to repeat themselves. A few earplugs (take extras in case you drop them) go a long way toward protecting your ears.
What are your favorite concert rules and tips? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.