How to Survive the 2016 Underground Music Showcase

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.
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.  
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ben Wiese is a writer in Denver. He covers music for Westword.
Contact: Ben Wiese