There is hope for Malaysia yet – and I’m talking about the music scene, of course. In recent years, singer-songwriters Yuna and Zee Avi (and even, hey, Mizz Nina) have made us proud, proving false the misconception that the country breeds lousy musicians. This year alone, Avenged Sevenfold, David Guetta, Jason Mraz, Justin Bieber, Mystery Jets, Spector and many others have graced our shores with their presence, with Armin van Buuren, Avicii, Bloc Party, Fun, Sigur Ros, Temper Trap and even Psy slated to perform in various concerts, festivals and raves lined up for the next few months.
Are you pumped yet? Well, first-timers listen up – if you don’t plan ahead and early for an upcoming music concert-slash-festival-slash-rave, sure, you could still have a good time, BUT if you’re well-prepared in advance, I wager you’d have a much better time. With Urbanscapes coming up next weekend, Heineken Thirst 2012 in December, Future Music Festival Asia next March and the annual Rainforest World Music Festival next June 2013, here’s the survival guide to the music affair of your choice:
1. Get in early
It’s simple. You should plan on arriving at the venue as early as the organisers allow it, for many, many reasons: avoiding the massive traffic, snatching a good parking bay, and then camping out at the best spot to catch your favourite performances. On two separate occasions in the past few months alone, I have had to listen to the faint sounds of Justin Bieber (not that I’m a particularly huge fan) and Alesso performing live, as I sat in my car, stuck in standstill traffic. Trust me, there is nothing worse.
2. Pack the essentials
Your backpack (yes, bring a backpack or a small bag if you prefer) should contain: water, shades and sunscreen (if your event takes place in the daytime), tissue, hand sanitizer, small snacks, Band-Aids, money, a poncho or raincoat (if it looks like rain). You can bring a camera, if the organisers allow it (some don’t), but I never do – it’s easy to lose things in the heat of the moment when you’re in an especially large crowd, or if your concert takes place at night, and especially if alcohol is served. Besides, you want to be enjoying the music, not constantly worried about whether you still have your camera with you. A good rule of thumb to follow is to never bring anything you’ll regret losing, because yes, you will probably lose it.
3. Dress comfortably
This means shoes, not heels. If you wear anything else but covered, flat shoes, you will get stepped on. It will hurt. (I recommend combat boots. They’re tough, reliable, and you can work the rockstar look.) Needless to say, you should also wear socks. Please, please, please don’t wear flimsy, expensive, uncomfortable clothing – what’s going to happen is that you’ll fidget all night long, your clothes will fall apart or tear at the seams, or you’ll spill drinks on them. Not good. You’re going to a full-on, outdoor music party, not a ballet recital. My standard music event outfit really just consists of a loose tank top worn with a bikini underneath, shorts, and flat shoes. It’s only practical; after all, you’re going to dance and jump and sweat for hours on end. Do you really want to do all that dressed in a cocktail shift dress and five-inch platform heels? I don’t think so.
4. Research and prioritise
It’s common at music festivals to have a ton of artists performing spread out over several stages throughout the day, so that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to catch every single show. However, festivals do release schedules weeks beforehand, so there’s no excuse for you to still have a good time. Plan ahead so you can be at the right place at the right time to catch the artists you REALLY MUST SEE, and then fill up the rest of your day with other bands and performers. More often than not, show schedules will overlap, so you need to prepare to catch maybe half a set of one artist, and half a set of another. Whenever you can, make time and space to watch some of the smaller artists – if they’re really good, they’ll hit the big time soon enough, and then you can have permission to brag, “I saw [insert artist name] live before they were even remotely famous.”
5. Prepare to go “dark”
And by go “dark”, I mean, prepare to lose your cellphone signal, especially if your event takes place in Sepang International Circuit (where, incidentally, most festivals and raves do). Things you take for granted now like texting, tweeting, Facebook-ing, even calling will be virtually impossible… and even if you do get a signal on your cellphone, who’s to say that the people you’re trying to reach aren’t busy partying and actually checking their phones? A word of advice – don’t lose your friends. Just don’t. But, in case you do, though, be sure to make old school plans to meet up again at a specific place and time (e.g. main entrance by the big yellow balloon at 10pm, or etc.).
6. Have fun
You’ve got zero coverage on your cellphone? Forget it. You lost your friends? Make new ones. Be open-minded towards the people around you. Music is one of the greatest forms of escapism. Forget work, forget the fact that you haven’t showered all day or that there’s a hooligan drenching the crowd with beers. You’re there to listen to some killer music, so laugh it off and have fun. With any luck, the world will still be there when the event is over in a couple of hours. You can return your calls, update your Facebook status and get yourself a long, hot shower then.
[Image credit to Future Music Festival Asia]