If you are reading this, then the chance of you being nervous about going to a music festival alone is high. Is it strange to go it alone? How will I meet people? These are common questions that first-timers have, and your answers are below.
Music festivals are social engagements by nature, so the chances of other revellers interacting with you are heightened. So long as you open yourself up to engaging socially.
But most people can’t just wing it and make mates straight off the bat. So as a fellow introvert I’ll break down what to have in the back of your mind to make your experience favourable.
Let’s get straight into it!
Jump onto the festival coach/shuttle
Your first point of contact with other attendees is the journey to the festival itself. This is a great option, especially if you are travelling abroad.
So book your coach or bus ticket through the organisers if they offer transfers to and from their event. And add some bonus points for picking the more eco-friendly option than driving there solo.
But the biggest benefit of catching the festival transport is that other people are at their most excitable. We all know the feeling of butterflies in our stomachs as we make our way to the venue for the first day.
Camping festivals are better for solo ventures
Having a camping element to a solo festival provides more opportunities to meet new friends. In addition, people are always approachable when making their way to their camping pitches and tents on the first day.
If you are going to a festival alone in the city, then this aspect is lost. Even though you might be in a hotel packed with others there for the same party. There just isn’t the same vibe created by the camping ground.
Don‘t be overly keen
There is a fine line between being friendly and approachable and being a complete nuisance. Read the room and if the conversation isn’t flowing and others are not receptive, then just say goodbye and move on.
I have had plenty of these encounters when some friend groups just aren’t there to make new friends and prefer to hang out in their own click.
In addition, if you do hit it off initially, then that’s great. But respect the fact that you attended alone for a reason. So try not to cling to any particular group for the festival’s entirety.
Put your phone away
Nothing screams ‘I have no vibe’ more than someone looking down scrolling mobile feed while the rest of the crowd is getting electric to the last filthy transition from the DJ.
Look, I get it. Most of us automatically turn our attention to our phones when we feel awkward or shy. It’s just our minds looking for that distraction.
But if you are doing a music festival alone, resist the urge when you feel it. You need to force yourself to keep your head up, and confidence will follow.
Generosity goes a long way
Making friends through generosity (not to be confused with bribery) is another option you should consider.
I’ll give an example of when I was separated from my group of friends (for a whole day) at TomorrowWorld.
That particular day I was wearing a skittles outfit! Unfortunately, my phone was dead, and I had no idea where my friends were. So I decided to buy a bunch of skittles and headed to my preferred stage.
Once I got there, I danced around heading out Skittles when people inevitably asked if I had any after seeing my outfit. I would have the odd conversation here and there, and these always ended with a high-five and hug.
Now I’m not saying you need to take a Skittles outfit with you for a festival solo. My point is that the act of kindness of giving stuff away goes a long way. Burning man is an excellent example of this, and I’ve written a whole article about attending Burning Man alone.
Appreciate the solo aspect
There is something brilliant in the freedom that comes from going it on your own. You’ll never have to debate amongst friends about which stage or act you are going to next. The choice is whatever you want it to be.
And I would also add to this by saying to resist the urge to hang out with a group of festival-goers you met at the event for the whole weekend. You’ll land back in the trap I touched on above if you do.
With every aspect of the event being on your own schedule, you can take time to explore and reflect. If you are into photography, then music festivals provide some of the best opportunities.
Wander around and explore the festival grounds in their entirety. Stop here and there to take it in and capture as much or as little as you like.
Get prepared Bear Grylls style
Okay, so if you aren’t aware of who Bear Grylls is, then do you even know how to survive in the Arctic? Just kidding. But you will need to get your life and packing list together.
By that, I mean you can’t rely on your festival friends for things like lip balm, portable chargers or toothpaste. Think ahead and pack everything you may possibly need.
Dance, Dance, Dance
Any successful festival involves dancing and lots of it. Do your own thing or do it with new friends. The dancefloor at most festivals is a super friendly place. Although I’m not sure about mosh pits. Are those friendly or fierce?
Anyway, most of the time, you can escape your comfort zone by dancing solo. And once you have overcome your fear, you’ll find yourself grooving and realise there is nothing to feel self-conscious about.
Use the dancefloor to connect with like-minded souls who are also there to have a good time.
Is it fun to go to a music festival alone?
Yes, it is fun to go to a music festival alone. And there are several ways to prepare yourself to have an unforgettable experience as a solo first-timer.
Perhaps the most underrated element of having fun is experiencing the adventure on your own terms—no more debating which artist to see next or which stage.
In addition, it’s also fun to meet completely new people, share a common experience and then go your separate ways.
How do you make friends at a music festival?
Generally speaking, people are far more friendly when attending a music festival. You’ll rarely encounter people who don’t engage. Here are some ways you can make friends at a music festival.
- Socialise early and often because others are friendlier at the beginning.
- Have a lighter on you when others ask to light ‘things’.
- Wear something intriguing, creative or unusual.
- Always be smiling and approachable.
- Be generous and give stuff away for free like candy, hugs and high-fives.
This list isn’t exhaustive, and they are only rough guidelines to give you a chance at striking up new friendships. Remember, everyone makes friends in different ways, after all.
Going to a music festival alone is something that I have absolutely loved to do. And I would encourage you to do it and experience it for yourself.
There are ways that will help you enjoy your solo festival experience that we looked at in detail, but to summarise:
- Use the organised festival transport
- Camping/glamping festivals are better solo than city events
- Don’t be an eager beaver
- Resist the urge to stare at your phone
- Be generous
- Appreciate the alone time
- Get organised well ahead of time
One point that I didn’t touch on in this article was festival cleanliness and hygiene. If you are attending solo and looking to make friends, then looking dirty isn’t a good look. Check out this article on staying clean at a festival.
Some festivals I would recommend attending solo are Afrikaburn, Waking Life and Meadows In The Mountains. Why? Because these have the friendliest festival goers and are perfect compliments to a solo travel adventure.