Sunset Music Festival is back! Disco Donnie is keeping the Tampa tradition alive. Any Florida-based festival veteran is aware of this festival and for most, including me, it is a right of passage. Like many of my rave friends, SMF was my first festival, therefore it holds a special place in my heart. My first SMF was in 2016, I remember peeing my pants because I would get to see The Chainsmokers and Marshmello live for the first time (leave me alone I was 19 and I was relatively new to electronic music.) I’ve gone to everyone since. Therefore I can tell you what to expect and how to prepare.
1.) The Heat
SMF is at the end of May and for those who don’t know, the Florida heat is no joke. People pass out from the heat every year so pack accordingly. Bring a water bottle or hydration pack, wear a sunhat, apply sunscreen regularly, wear sunglasses, keep a bandana on your forehead or neck to absorb sweat and to prevent sunburn, and finally wear light and breathable clothing.
2) Fanny Pack
Seriously, as goofy as it may look, having a fanny pack is an absolute power move. One of the downsides of the festival community is pickpocketing. It happens all the time and it has happened to people that I have known. But it has never happened to me and I credit it to having a fanny pack on me at all times at festivals. Think about it, the only pack most people bring are hydration packs and those things usually have one small pocket. Not enough room to store all of your belongings but it also makes your belongings vulnerable to pickpocketing. However, adding a fanny pack to your arsenal gives you quick and easy access to your belongings and keeps it right in front of you making you less prone to getting pickpocketed. Go on Amazon and you can find some crazy fanny packs that provide ample space.
Pro tip: If you are trying to pack light and not deal with carrying a hydration pack, then wear a fanny pack and get a water bottle with a carabiner clip and hook it onto your fanny pack. I do this and it is much better than a hydration pack in my opinion.
3) Dr. Scholl’s
Bear with me here for one moment. Standing on our feet and dancing around all day is exhausting and by the end of the day, we can barely walk or stand. Well, I have found an incredible solution. Some people may know about this, but I feel as though this is something that does not get enough attention. Part of the reason why we get so drained from standing around and dancing all day is due to the lack of support in our lower body beginning with our feet. Normally, most of us wear old running shoes or Vans to festivals, and that’s fine. However, if they are old then they probably offer little to no support for your feet. Because of this, other parts of your lower body begin engaging in order to compensate and offer support for your feet. Therefore, your body is working harder to keep you going. That is why you feel so drained at the end of the day and can barely walk or stand. The solution is to keep your old shoes, take out the insoles and replace them with fresh ones that offer better support for your feet. It doesn’t have to be Dr. Scholl’s, go to Walmart, Ross, Tjmaxx, CVS, or really anywhere and you can find knock-offs for $10 that offer great support for your feet. Believe me, you will feel the difference. Having better insoles will give you more energy to keep on moving and will have you feeling less sore the next day.
I did this right before EDC Orlando 2019. I went to Walmart the week before and got $10 insoles that offered heel support. I have not looked back since.
This sounds lame and corny but this is highly underrated. Getting a good deep stretch prior to entering the festival will reduce cramping, soreness and will provide you with more energy. Focus on the lower body such as the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, lower back, glutes, hips, and inner thighs. If you are feeling up to it, I’ll provide a quick and easy yoga stretching and mobility video that hits everything I just said and will have you feeling as loose as a pair of oversized shoes.
5) Relax and take your time.
Finally, another lame one you probably don’t want to hear or think about but taking the time to pause, chill and collect your marbles is key for both your physical and mental health. Festivals, in general, can be overwhelming sometimes, fests like SMF can feel like a sprint having to go from one stage to the next non-stop. This can lead to stress and frustration if it becomes too overwhelming. Taking the time to sit, chat with friends, and do nothing can help you feel better and at ease. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I hope I gave you all some good insight. This advice isn’t exclusive to SMF. This applies to all festivals. Wearing the appropriate clothing for whatever the temperature will be can impact your experience. The fanny pack is slept on, get one of these and keep your valuables safe. Replace your old insoles for better comfort and more energy. Stretch to reduce cramping and soreness and finally, take your time and just soak in the fact that festivals are back.
I’ll see you all there my friends. Happy raving. Use Promo code: MF365 for a discount on your ticket.