Top five things I learned at ACL

I entered the gates of the Austin City Limits music festival like most others; excited for good music, hopeful that this would be the day Drake realizes he’s in love with me and most of all, ready to get my face rocked off. Yet at the time I didn’t realize that the three aforementioned days of face-rocking would teach me real-world skills. For those of you who have yet to go to the festival or are planning on adding it to next fall’s must-do list, here is a nifty ACL survival guide.  

There are places on your body that you didn’t know existed. While applying sunscreen, do not miss these crevices. If you fail, you will burn parts of you that you didn’t want to burn, and you’ll spend the entire Drake concert writhing in physical pain instead of emotional pain. This is the wrong way to enjoy Drake.

If you’re going to sneak in snacks, make sure they are secure. This means wrapping them in your tightly coiled towel, or hiding them in an inner jacket pocket. The security team at the gate will ask you to take several belongings out of your bag, and when you do you don’t want your precious Nature Valley contraband to go flying. (This happened to an unfortunate uncle of mine, and they only let him keep one granola bar as a sad consolation prize.)

Even if you sneak in snacks, you’re going to eat a ton of food over the course of the weekend. While some may try and  spare the weekend by eating only the “healthy” options that are available, I say leave no food stand behind. Empanadas, snow cones and pizza are an amazing combination, and as you get older it becomes more and more difficult to binge-eat like you’re five and can only taste sugar. Use this opportunity.

You may or may not get kicked out for crowd surfing. I say “may or may not” because it’s a legitimate gamble. If you pull this off successfully, you’ll gain street cred that lasts until next year’s extravaganza. However, the execution is risky. If you fail, you’ll either 1) be unceremoniously dumped on the ground by strangers, or 2) be asked to leave the festival. If you’re willing to take the chance that the closest security guard will smile and be cool, then go for it. Just know you’re basically playing Russian Roulette.

Use the herd mentality to your advantage. Before the most popular shows, people will be lining up directly in front of the stage. Instead of standing directly behind them, go around the crowd, particularly to the left. Fewer people stand on that side, and you’ll be able to get much closer to the front without waiting for an hour. In addition, any people who are leaving the crowd mid-show will move out the side, leaving a convenient space for you to shimmy closer to the stage. Congratulations, you’ve just hacked the entire system. (But don’t let your amazing view of the show give you any funny ideas. Drake is still mine.)