The summer season for music festivals is fast approaching, in some places it has already begun, and with that comes the many creative (sometimes obtrusive) ways people try to smuggle items into the festivals.
Google how to smuggle stuff into a music festival and you’ll find plenty of items that double as hip flasks (tampons, bras, Sunscreen Bottles, etc.) for your alcohol of choice, but what you won’t find is anything to help you sneak a snack in. Everyone seems to have a very nifty way of making sure they’re well ‘hydrated’ during their time at a festival, but nobody really seems to care if there’s food in their system to soak up that ‘hydration’. As much as I enjoy the vibes of the music a little more with a few margaritas inside, even I know I can get by with it for six or seven hours just Alcohol in the stomach is not safe for anyone.
Look, we all know that the rules about what you can and can’t bring to a music festival are there for “safety reasons,” but from the attendees’ perspective, some of these rules could actually be seen as counterproductive to health. Therefore they must be broken.
Reasons to avoid buying festival food at all costs
First of all, people spend at least $200 for a single day at a major music festival like Coachella or Lollapalooza. Consider the time you spend at a festival. Many start early in the day around 11am and go until midnight. People also tend to show up early as the lines outside a music festival are notoriously long due to security checks, even with a ticket.
For those unfamiliar with how music festivals work, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to hope that at least a bit of food and drink could be included in the ticket price of a day-long event like this. Those who know about festivals would laugh in your face.
Both Lollapalooza and Coachella Bringing outside food or drink to the festival is not permitted, but both have a long list of approved vendors selling food as part of the event. Coachella, for example, offers a “four-course, full-service, family-style meal, a cocktail, and plenty of local wine” for $275 in a VIP area of the property. Although this special experience is on the pricey side of the offering, it gives you a sense of what it takes to guarantee yourself food and a place to sit and enjoy that meal.
Let’s say you’re not willing to shell out an extra $300 for a full meal. You also have the option of queuing for food at the restaurants that have set up a specific booth. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Well, just like you, most attendees don’t want to pay for that special VIP dining experience. Most people just want something to eat to stay up 9+ hours in the summer heat. That means the lines for food from restaurant stalls stretch as far as the eye can see — and don’t even get me started on how slowly those lines move.
At this point you have to take matters into your own hands and bring the food to you.
Tips for smuggling food into a music festival
Taking all of this into account, sneaking in some snacks probably doesn’t sound like such a bad idea now, does it? Well, unfortunately, because everyone is so focused on getting their drink (not banging on it, just saying), there aren’t any clever gadgets to help you sneak in granola bars or other snacks.
Instead, you’ll have to resort to a preventive measure that requires a little more planning than smuggling in a bottle:
- bury the food This only works if you actually live in the same place as the festival. For example, Lollapalooza always takes place in Grant Park. A map is usually distributed in the days leading up to the event so people can find out which stages their favorite artists will be performing on. With this map and knowing the floor plan of Grant Park, you could find a nice spot to bury your little one, as long as it’s nothing perishable. Just make sure you draw yourself a map or leave some sort of signifier for what you’re doing. Don’t bury it too deep either, or you’ll draw attention to yourself as that crazy person digging in the dirt in the middle of a festival.
- Use a drone. listen to me Although both Lollapalooza and Coachella don’t allow drones in the party, nothing prevents you from strategically placing a drone with a small bag of snacks outside of the festival boundaries but still within reach of your control. Once through security, you could theoretically activate the drone and fly over the fence to your location. You’re definitely putting your drone at risk, but if your hunger outweighs that risk, I fully support you.
- Fold it into a towel or blanket. If you’re planning on bringing a beach towel or blanket to lie on the lawn with, you can try folding some snacks in between. The only risk here is that security will ask you to take out and unfold the blanket. Then you will probably lose your snacks.
- Tie it to a tree. Similar to the burial method, this requires a few days of mapping and planning in advance of the event. You’ll also need to be nimble enough to climb a tree and secure your goodie bag of food, which is a must far enough out of reach that the event recordUp crew does not attach to it, but close enough to be able to access it later.
- Ask a friend to throw it over the fence. That would be a real friendship test. Not only would your friend have to be content with not actually attending the festival, but they would also have to have the sheer upper body strength to hurl that food over a very high fence. I’d suggest some sort of catapult if you’re really committed to that method.
Each of these tips comes with some level of risk. But if at least one of these tips works for you, then you’re guaranteed to enjoy your festival time both hydrated and nourished.