Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pre-HullabaLOU Helpful Hints for Fest-ing

Based on my own experiences as a veteran fest-er and the information on the HullabaLOU website, here are a few helpful hints before HullabaLOU even begins:

  • Pay attention to the information that the Festival has released about parking and shuttles.  There's no worse start to a fest-ing day than spending oodles of time looking for a parking space or being surprised at how much the parking costs you or how unavailable it is close by.  When we go to Derby/Oaks, we always park in front of a friend's house located around six blocks south of the Downs.  I am NOT AT ALL SAYING you should invade residential neighborhoods and park willy-nilly, but ask around-- do you have any friends who live comfortable walking distance from the Downs?  It might be way less of a headache than having to park in expensive lots that are, still, far away.
  • If your fest-ing party is large enough, consider that it might actually be cheaper to take a cab rather than pay for three or four shuttles-- and you'll be getting a ride from door-to-door.
  • From prior fest-ing experience (and based on HullabaLOU's "what's allowed and what's not allowed" lists), here are things you absolutely should not leave home without:
    • Sunscreen-- big time, 40+ SPF-- don't be silly, one day of too much sun will eff up the rest of your fest.  Also, sunblock for your lips.
    • Some kind of cap or hat.
    • A blanket and/or a collapsable camping chair
    • 2 SEALED bottles of water
    • A pen to mark up your schedule (if you haven't already downloaded HullabaLOU's iPhone/mobile app)-- actually a pen, just because.
    • (Note: musical instruments are NOT ALLOWED-- I'm LOVING that!  Hippy Dude, leave your frigging tambourine at HOME!!  Sorry... that's a big music fest pet peeve of mine).
  • Given that this event takes place mostly in the infield of the racetrack, it would be only natural to think of it as just Derby infield with music.  It's NOT.  Thinking about HullabaLOU with Derby on the brain is a bad idea.  Here's why:
    • Have you been outside lately?  No seriously, have you been outside??  Now, think back to Derby Day... okay, maybe not this rainsoaked one, but your average Derby Day.  Usually your biggest concern (if you're me) is whether or not it's going to be too chilly for the cute little sundress you bought.  If you're blessed with a 70-something degree day, you go to the Downs feeling like you'll bet on nothing but winners.  But usually, the crush of the crowd is a little comforting because of all the body heat it generates.  In heat like this you have to be really, really smart about taking good care of yourself.  
      • Chiefly: HYDRATE.  Unlike most fests, HullabaLOU is letting you bring TWO sealed bottles of water.  That's pretty awesome of them.  Also, water is being sold for $2, which isn't the major rip-off it usually is at shows.  I bet there will be water fountains where you can refill your bottles, so even the $2 will stretch.  Drink way more water than you think you need.  Buy water-based drinks like lemonade, if you want to switch it up.
      • Know that HullabaLOU is providing WaveNation Chillzones (aka big mist tents) in the infield, and don't forget that the clubhouse areas of the Downs are air conditioned.  
      • If you or one of your fest-ing buddies starts to feel woozy in the heat, don't eff around-- get that person to the First Aid tent pronto.  Seems like at least one person a year dies from overexposure to the heat (and, sure, other stuff) at Bonnaroo.  
    • Along the same lines, when one thinks of Derby infield, one thinks of drunken debauchery. Don't forget, kids, you paid big bucks to come to this MUSIC festival.  Sure, it's tempting to let loose, smuggle in ziplock baggies of vodka and moonshine in your skivvies, and party like a rock star.  But (A) that's ANTI-HYDRATION and (B) don't you want to have clear memories of Huey Lewis busting out "The Power of Love"?  Remember, Mama loves you, and she wants you to have a good time and to be safe.  But even Mama, who loves her adult beverages, learned young that alcohol, sun, crowds, and extreme heat do not mix, and hasn't had a pre-dark drink at a summer music festival in more than a decade.
  • You should always pick up after yourselves at fests, of course, but HullabaLOU and LG&E are encouraging you to pick up after others, as well.  LG&E is sponsoring the Clean Vibes Trading Post-- bring your recyclable/compostable cups, cans, and bottles to three fest locations, and get Clean Vibes points that you can use to "purchase" green health and beauty products, gear, and clothing.  If you're really serious about this, you might want to tuck a small plastic trashbag into your backpack.  I'd bet that a half an hour of serious "trashcan diving" would net you something pretty decent at the Trading Post.
  • Whether you're a local or an out-of-towner, you're going to want to stop by the Kentucky Market Place sponsored by the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.  In fact, you're probably going to want to pack a little extra dough to spend at the marketplace, although there will be ATMs all around.
That's about it for now.  I'll post more helpful tips when and if they come to me.  In the meantime, happy fest-ing, y'all.  And good luck, HullabaLOU!

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