The summer music festival season is approaching fast, in some places it’s already begun, and with that comes the many creative (sometimes invasive) ways people try to sneak items into the festivals.
Google how to sneak stuff into a music festival, and you’ll find plenty of items that double as a flask (tampons, bras, sunscreen bottles, etc.) for your alcohol of choice, but what you’re not going to find is anything that helps you sneak in a snack. Everyone seems to have a very slick way of ensuring they will be well-“hydrated” throughout their time at a festival, but no one seems to really care if there’s any food in their system to soak up that “hydration.” As much as I myself do enjoy the vibes of music just a little bit more with a few margaritas in me, even I know going six or seven hours with only alcohol in your stomach is just not safe for anyone to attempt, ever.
Look, we alI know the rules regarding what you can and cannot bring into a music festival are there for “safety” reasons, but from an attendee perspective some of those rules could actually be considered counterproductive to health. Hence, they must be broken.
Reasons to avoid buying festival food at all costs
First off, at minimum, people drop around $200 just for a single day’s experience at a major music festival like Coachella or Lollapalooza. Factor in the amount of time spent at a festival; many start early in the day around 11 a.m. and go until midnight. People also tend to arrive early because, even with a ticket, the lines to enter a music festival are notoriously long due to the security checks.
For those not familiar with how music festivals work, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to hope that at least some bit of food and beverage might be included in the ticket price of an all day event like this. Those who are familiar with festivals would laugh in your face.
Both Lollapalooza and Coachella do not allow outside food or beverage to be brought into the festival, but both have a long list of approved vendors that sell food within the event. Coachella, for example, offers a “full-service, four-course family style meal, a cocktail and ample regional wine” in a VIP section of the grounds for $275. Though this particular experience is on the expensive side of what is offered, it does give you a sense of what it takes to guarantee yourself food and a place to sit and enjoy that food.
Let’s say you’re not willing to shell out an additional $300 for a full meal. Your other options are to get in line for food from the restaurants that have a designated booth set up. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?
Well, just like you, most attendees don’t want to pay for that extra special VIP eating experience. Most people just want some food to get them through spending 9+ hours on their feet in summer heat. This means the lines for food from restaurant booths extend as far as the eye can see—and don’t even get me started on how slowly those lines move.
At this point, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and bring the food to you.
Tips for sneaking food into a music festival
All of this considered, 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 on (not bashing it, just saying) there aren’t any clever devices designed to help you sneak in granola bars or whatever other snacks to munch on.
Instead, you’ll have to resort to some preemptive measure that require a bit more planning than smuggling in a flask:
- Bury the food. This only works if you actually live in the same place as the festival. For example, Lollapalooza is always held in Grant Park. The days leading up to the event, a map is usually given to help people figure out which stages their favorite artists will be performing on. Using that map and knowledge of Grant Park’s layout, you could find a nice spot to bury your little treasure, as long as it’s nothing perishable. Just be sure to draw yourself a map or leave some kind of signifier for when you. Also, don’t bury it too deep otherwise you’ll draw attention as that crazy person digging in the dirt in the middle of a festival.
- Use a drone. Hear me out on this one. Although both Lollapalooza and Coachella do not allow drones in the festival, there’s nothing stopping you from strategically placing a drone with a small bag of snacks attached to it outside the festival boundaries but still within range of your control. Once you’re past security, you could theoretically activate the drone and fly it over the fence to where you are. You are definitely putting your drone at risk with this one, but if your hunger outweighs that risk, I fully support you.
- Fold it into a towel or blanket. If you plan on bringing in a beach towel or blanket to lay out on the grass with, you could try to fold some snacks in between. The only risk here is if security asks you to take the blanket out and unfold it. Then, you’ll likely lose your snacks.
- Tie it to a tree. Much like the burial method, this requires some mapping and planning days ahead of the event. You also have to be nimble enough to climb a tree and secure your goodie bag of food, which needs to be far enough out of reach that the event set-up crew doesn’t snag it, but close enough that you can get to it later.
- Ask a friend to throw it over the fence. This would be a true test of friendship. Not only would your friend have to be content with not actually attending the festival, but they would have to have the sheer upper body strength to launch that food over a very tall fence. I would suggest some sort of catapult, if you’re truly committed to this method.
Each of these tips comes with some 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.