So, you are trying to make the decision about going to a festival alone. Do people actually do that? Will I look normal? Will I ever meet people? Will I be able to handle it? Will I enjoy myself? Is it hard making friends at music festivals?
Well, solo festival-ers, I’m glad you asked. The answer to all those questions is YES. Absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt, YES.
Going to a festival alone might be one of the most enriching experiences you have yet. And since you’re already researching about it, I think that you are definitely ready. And remember that just because you are there alone doesn’t mean you will always be alone, it just means that you’ll have the freedom to choose when you want to be by yourself and when you don’t.
When going to a music festival alone, in the end you are going to want to make friends… one way or another. As awesome as the experience is when you are truly alone (and trust me, I really think this!), it’s the best when you find a new festie-fam who you really vibe and get along with.
I will also encourage you to enjoy the alone time (see below), but here are some of my tried-and-tested, foolproof ways to make friends and have a rad time when going to a festival alone.
Envision Festival – Costa Rica. I went to this solo!
9 Tips to Make Friends Going to a Festival Alone
Introduce Yourself to Everyone Who May Be Going
Honestly, my number one tip before and during the music festival is to introduce yourself to everyone around you. I will come back to this tip in every stage! The goal is to accumulate familiar faces inside the venue, and potential vibe-matches for festival friends.
Chat with people on the plane to the festival destination, in your shared uber, and on public transport towards the venue. See who is also going to the festival, and make a relationship with everyone that you can.
There’s never anything wrong with lighthearted conversation, and if you find someone else who is going, introduce yourself!
When you introduce yourself, you establish a sure-fire face to recognize during the festival. Introducing yourself means that if you see this person in the venue, you will already have had a previous interaction to say hello to. It’s like you already have a friend and a familiar face, even if you just chatted once.
People will always remember someone they chatted to about a festival at baggage claim, on the train, or on the bus, and chances also are that if you talk about the fact that you’re going to the festival solo, they will be extra likely to extend a helping hand.
Hideout Festival, Zrce Beach, Croatia
Share Transport to Get There.
If you are heading to the music festival from a main city, try and find someone to share transport with. Maybe there will be public transport, but if it’s farther away or fairly convenient, try to share an uber or a carpool with someone else who is going.
You can do this in any of a few ways. If this is an international festival, you can do it in person. See if there are any fellow festival-goers in your hotel or hostel, or even take it all the way back to the airport or baggage claim. You can always sense the festival vibe from others who might be going, and there’s no harm in asking other people if they are going to X Festival. If so, maybe they have leads for a ride or want to share. If not, no worries!
You can also go online for ridesharing opportunities. Most festivals these days have a facebook group for that year’s edition, or at least a general Facebook page. It’s not uncommon for people to reach out and post on these looking to give or receive rides or share a Lyft/Uber to share the costs.
I have found 3 people to split an uber with via a Facebook group for a solo festival before. We all met up, shared a 45-minute uber ride to the venue, and became immediate festival family. We even camped together, spent a lot of the time together, and always gave hugs in passing. Just like that, I wasn’t solo anymore.
So, just like in my experience, you have a potential festival group once you find people to share your ride with. You will already be spending some solid time in a car with them, so feel out if your vibe matches theirs. No matter what, after sharing a ride, you’ll have even more familiar faces to see inside the venue.
Car Camping at Coachella Festival, Indio, California
Chat with people in line to get in.
When you’re in line waiting to get in, strike up more conversation! Conversation-makers should be super natural before a festival (see more below) – ask who they are most excited to see, if they have been before, about the weather, about the camping situation… anything!
Then, return to tip #1 – introduce yourself! Now you have even MORE familiar faces to recognize inside. You see where I’m going with this?!
Choose a Social Camping Spot + Make Friends with the Campers Around You
Always, at any festival, it’s crucial to make friends with the campers around you! If it is free camping (you can camo anywhere), try to find a spot next to a fun-looking or social group. If you have a pre-set tent, break the ice right away with the campers next to you. Neighbor campers are especially target-festival-friends. I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite festival moments take place in the camping area, sharing food, drinks, and laughs in the mornings.
As a quick side story, I once began to set up my tent at a festival by myself, and quickly introduced myself to the people around me and asked if the spot was free. I immediately didn’t match their vibe – they were quiet, smiled and looked away, were not super talkative, and didn’t seem too happy to have me there (which is rare at a festival!). So I literally got up, walked around, met some new people with a space near their tent, and moved all my stuff! Finding a good camping spot is no joke – find some friendly people and go from there!
Once you set up a camping spot, we go back to rule #1 again- introduce yourself! Introducing yourself is the most relevant with people in close proximity to you – especially in your camp or close to your camp. As the festival progresses/begins, ask if they want to get food/watch an act/share breakfast/share drinks with you. Create a relationship.
Don’t come on too strong of course, but it would be awesome to suggest a morning sesh and invite everyone to circle up and drink together when they wake up, especially if you have something to share, which brings me to my next mini-point…
Share Your Offerings
An even better way for making friends at music festivals near your camp? Bring stuff to share! Tell everyone you have tons of oatmeal to share in the morning so they don’t have to spend money on food. OR, tell everyone you have a bottle of fireball to start the party in the morning after you wake up tired from the previous day. I’m not sure what kind of festival you’re planning on, but sharing what you have is always a great way to make friends when you re going to a music festival alone.
Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary
INTRODUCE YOURSELF EVEN MORE!
As the festival progresses, continuing to meet people and introduce yourself is the biggest thing about making friends when going to a festival alone. I mean, don’t be awkward about it and straight-up walk up to people and tell them your name…. that’s weird. Be normal about it, make lighthearted conversation, and when it makes sense, hit them with the introduction. Then, boom, you have dozens of familiar faces walking around a festival you came to alone, and you’ll feel like a celebrity.
It starts with a casual convo, and when introductions are made it sort of finalizes the connection. During the festival, make conversation and introduce yourself to people the line of showers near you, in line for food and drinks, in line for the bathrooms, while watching a talk or comedy (as long as it doesn’t interrupt it), and even wandering through art exhibits or other places.
Make it natural. Make it lighthearted. Make friends! When the vibe fits, you’ll know.
Feel the Vibe of People in the Crowds
When dancing in a crowd, feel out the vibe of people around you. If it matches yours, strike up a convo if its natural and makes sense with the music.
Of course, there are live music situations where it makes sense to talk to strangers, and some where it doesn’t. You can always have a funny moment having a dance-off/dance-party with someone, and introduce yourself as you laugh it off. Maybe you and someone you see are both really into the music and happen to have a moment together. Or maybe you and someone else are both fed-up with the beer lines, which brings you together!
The bottom line is that when something brings you together, connection is more natural. Being at the festival itself is already something in common, but loving the same artist, both being fed-up with a long line, camping in the same area, or being a crazy dancer are also things that can bring you together with others. Capitalize on these opportunities to make friends.
Joshua Tree Music Festival, California
Take Part in an Activity.
It depends on the festival, but taking part in any organized activity could be a great time to meet people. It might be yoga, an art session/class, a workshop, a challenge, or whatever the festival offers.
Any activity that that involves participants interacting with one another in pairs or groups is ideal. Once you meet people in these groups, then you’ll always have that person/those people as EVEN MORE familiar faces and potential friends.
If There Is Reception, Grab Contact Info.
Now, we know festivals are notorious for having little to no reception. But, if the festival you’re at has some, feel free to grab the contact info or facebook for people you honestly really vibe with. That way, you can find them again later and have an epic time together.
After all of these steps, I bet you a million dollars you will already have a festival fam, or at least some solid good people you have met that you will be able to enjoy acts and hang out with. In my experience, being open to making relationships all the way from the transport to the festival, to the gates, to the campgrounds, to the crowds is a foolproof way to make sure you have an awesome time even when going to a festival alone.
Ultra Europe Festival, Split, Croatia
A Couple DONT’S For Going to a Festival Alone
Whatever you do, JUST DON’T TURN INTO A STAGE 5 CLINGER! Don’t introduce yourself to someone, then assume you can hang out. Use your gut feeling if you get along with them, or if they’re doing their own thing. Most people who would want to go to a music festival alone will be able to read a vibe such as this. Chances are, you will find similarly open and friendly individuals and you will hit it off.
Don’t Come On Too Strong
I know I have talked all about introducing yourself and making conversation, but make sure not to be too intense right off the bat. It could be off-putting. Take it as a casual chat (which it is) and if you get to introductions, you can chill on it if you aren’t sure how they (or you) feel. You can always run into then again during the festival and proceed from there.
Don’t Be Nervous to Make Conversations and to Talk to People
I know that making conversation is natural for some, but not so easy for others. During all these different situations, remember that people at festivals are always at their most friendly, walls-down selves, and that it’s totally normal to strike up a conversation and meet people – even for those who did not attend solo!
I have met lifelong friends while at festivals both alone and with groups. It’s normal either way. Trust me. If not, I have some more convo tips for you below!
Southbound Festival, Western Australia
Tips for Making Conversation to Make Friends While Going to a Music Festival Alone
Here are some quick conversation starters:
- Who are they looking forward to seeing the most?
- Where are they from?
- How far did they travel?
- Is this their first time at the festival?
- Whats their favorite stage/type of music?
- Have they done any of the extra festival activities?
- Comment on the weather?
- Are they excited for that day’s headliner?
- Ask for tips on something – how far away a certain stage is, how to get a good spot at the main stage, what food is best, teaching you how to do an activity they are doing.
- Tell them how you feel about something – i.e. which food is good, which beer is good, how hot/cold you might be (but don’t be a complainer), how good the art room is or how funny the comedian was earlier. Maybe they were there too or were looking for something to do/eat next.
If you share a common interest i.e. yoga/wanting to do the ball pit/wanting to try the fried chicken/liking the same artist, suggest you do it together – if its natural.
Lightning in a Bottle Festival, Bradley, California
How to Appreciate Alone Time When going to a Festival Alone
You came here alone, and as easy as it is to be surrounded by new friends at all times (which will be more natural than you may think!), try to spend some time, well, actually…. alone.
Wander around the different stages, bars, and art. People-watch. Observe. Take it all in. How does it feel different to be at the music festival alone? Does it make you feel strange to be by yourself? More reflective?
Enjoy the alone time. Appreciate it. Try to figure out what makes it different than a usual festival with friends. Identify what you are most comfortable and uncomfortable with. Get to know how you feel and why. When do you feel weird? Why? When do you feel less weird? What helps? Get to know yourself. Push past what makes you uncomfortable. Do something totally alone. Watch a set or hang out in a field alone and watch people. Appreciate what makes the experience different. And then, my friends, you will have an extremely awesome and successful festival alone, will make new friends, will push past your confort zones, and will learn more about yourself.
You can do it!