How To Finesse This Festival Season

Mysteryland USA 2016, Bassnectar's set at Main Stage. Photo by Artem Yevtuschenko.

Mysteryland USA 2016, Bassnectar's set at Main Stage. Photo by Artem Yevtuschenko.

There are some who enjoy festivals, some who don’t make it through festivals, and then, there are those who finesse festivals. Which category do you fall into?  

Enjoying it isn’t bad, it’s what’s expected. You buy the ticket, vibe out with friends, fangirl over your favorite artists, and then go home. On the other hand, barely surviving festivals is another story. There’s a wide range of festival attendees that don’t get the experience they were expecting to have. It could be anyone from the person in the emergency tent to the ones that have difficulty waiting long enough in the crowd to hear the set that they came for. To be in this category of festival attendees is to be out of luck. Yes, you might get to hear the artist you came for but you’re either not in the spot you want to be in or you’re barely conscious enough to recognize where you are and what you’re listening too.  

However, there is a better position to be in, and that lies in the art of finesse. Being in this category of those who ‘finesse festivals’ means you’ve done well. You have gotten the most out of your experience, learned something new, and have networked in a way that allowed you awesome perks. The key to getting into this category is rather simple. Work in the festival or know someone that works in the festival. Volunteering scares people but it’s actually the best way to go. Anyone can do it.  

Our friend Alex immersed in the BangOn NYC crowd at Mysteryland. Get Qilo's Highlighter Bomber Jacket here. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers.

Our friend Alex immersed in the BangOn NYC crowd at Mysteryland. Get Qilo's Highlighter Bomber Jacket here. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers.

First off, when you volunteer to work a festival, you end up saving money due to the fact that you don’t have to pay for a ticket. That’s just the start of the benefits. If you’re smart, you’ll network.  This is where finessing comes into play. As a volunteer you get access to places that aren’t open to the general public. Take advantage of that. In these places, you’ll most likely be with artists or the people who work for the artists and/ or production of the festivals. Connections with these people can get you into more festivals, additional work outside of the festival, and at least a photo and good conversation with an artist. Even more so, there’s another level of finesse that is attained when you are vending at festivals.  At Qilo we have the amazing opportunity to vend at festivals and it’s definitely an experience that’s worthwhile.

Vendors basically have the same access as festival staff. We get to go in without getting our equipment and bags checked. We are on site 1-2 days before the festival starts. You know what that means? Free, private concerts! In other words, you have the access to get to enjoy the experience of headliners doing their soundcheck and lighting display the night before their set.  Befriending security staff before the festival started got our team members VIP access to one of the main stages. Some of the artists and DJ’s are surprisingly easy to befriend - if you happen to meet them in between sets or during soundcheck. We invited some of our favorite artists to the QILO booth and hooked them up with merchandise. 

Last year we vended at Mysteryland USA 2016.  This summer we will be vending at 2 festivals in Chicago and one in Tennessee. If you happen to be attending Bonnaroo, North Coast, or Riot Festival then feel free stop by and check us out. We’re hoping to make your festival experience one with finesse.  

Overlooking Mysteryland's main stage during sound check. Get this cap here. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers. 

Overlooking Mysteryland's main stage during sound check. Get this cap here. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers

Matt Sebastian of WCKids spinning a brain whooping house set at The Big Top Stage at MLUSA 2016. Rocking Qilo's Rainbow Camo Cap. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers.

Matt Sebastian of WCKids spinning a brain whooping house set at The Big Top Stage at MLUSA 2016. Rocking Qilo's Rainbow Camo Cap. Photo by Jarrell Chalmers.

Qilo's Mike Stiz with 1/2 of Brooklyn's legendary underground house/techno duo, Analog Soul. 

Qilo's Mike Stiz with 1/2 of Brooklyn's legendary underground house/techno duo, Analog Soul. 

A squad of dazzling performers. Photo by Artem Yevtuschenko.

A squad of dazzling performers. Photo by Artem Yevtuschenko.

Photo by Michael Stein.

Photo by Michael Stein.

Written by: Gabrielle Bush 

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