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A Few Things To Know About Festival Crowd Etiquette

Having a good time, enjoying the experience and people around you, is what attending festivals is all about. But those potentially fantastic moments and memories can be wiped-out with ease, thanks to crappy crowd etiquette. A troublesome audience, or even just a section of selfish attendees, can quickly ruin a night or a set that otherwise would’ve been a blast.

Every raver has a story or two about a group of people, or even just one individual, doing something rude or annoying that could’ve easily been avoided with some easy, selfless steps. Attending a festival and fully enjoying the experience involves some time, effort, and planning; with those same steps applied to crowd etiquette, we can assure that we, and everyone else, are having as great a time as possible.

We’ve already touched on some key aspects of crowd etiquette this summer, such as the ‘Do’s and Don’ts of the Totem’, as well as the best ways to avoid untimely trips to the first aid tent. And our guide on club etiquette is one of our favorite articles to-date. But, we want to cover all of the bases when it comes to being part of the incredible community that a crowd at a stage can become.

So, we came up with a few simple motto’s to live-by when attending festivals this summer, for those not-so-fun crowd moments that manage to make their way into our lives. It’s not always easy, but putting in the effort to improve the atmosphere around these potentially cramped, awkward, and uncomfortable situations can go a long way toward an incredible festival experience for everyone in attendance.

leeds festival 2009

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Being aware of your surroundings, and being courteous to those you’re sharing a space with, are great general rules of life that apply perfectly to festival crowds. Whether you’re dancing your heart out, or attempting to navigate your way through the sea of constantly moving people, making room for others and being aware of your surroundings goes a long way.

When you see a train of friends that are trying to journey from one area of the crowd to another, or the faces of people simply trying to find some space, do what you can to make it easier. A momentary step to the side, tap on the shoulder to a friend, or really any gesture that acknowledges and helps fellow attendees get around the crowd, is a huge help to those in transit.

Being aware of your surroundings also involves being aware of yourself. If you’re in a bulky costume, have a totem, or a backpack that likes to bump into passers-by, try finding ways to reduce how much everyone else despises being near you in a crowd. Camelbaks hold plenty of rave-necessary items, and aren’t annoying, while costumes and totems can be customized for any experience.

On top of knowing how you’re affecting others, and vice-versa, be aware of other important information, such as the locations of the nearest crowd or stage exit, water, first-aid, and bathrooms. Knowing where they are, and how to get there, will save valuable time when you actually need to use them.

Shambhala Music Festival 2014

Photo: Jeff Cruz

Clean Up After Yourself

Mom has been telling us to do this for years, so transpose her voice for the filthy beats every once in a while, and clean up after yourself. Of course, we don’t go to stages or crowds with the intention of littering or creating a mess. Yet, we often do. We’ve all seen the pictures of disgusting campgrounds and litter-ridden stages, and felt the shame of a community that we know is capable of better.

The ‘Pack In, Pack Out’ rule is as good as any for festivals, or any outdoor adventure, and can easily be applied to festival crowds. Many types of trash can cause injuries to those getting ready to “FUCKING JUMP”, especially festival-favorites like empty water bottles. Essentially, don’t bring anything to a crowd that you won’t be taking from the stage with you, and there won’t be anything to worry about.

We can’t expect this rule to be followed perfectly, so if you do see some trash, or someone else picking up some, take a minute and help out. Helping prevent injuries, cleaning up garbage, and making new friends in the process all make cleaning up after yourself not such an annoying task, just don’t tell Mom.

Keep Your Hands To Yourself

There’s not many things better than a good hug. An amazing high-five hits the spot, too. But more often than not, it’s better to just keep your hands to yourself. It’s easy to tell when physical contact is accepted, or wanted, and if you aren’t sure, therein lies your answer.

Respect is a vital aspect of the dance music community, and society as a whole. Treating each other with respect, physically and otherwise, is a must for a positive festival crowd experience.

Let us know what you think are important aspects of festival crowd etiquette, and which festivals you’ll be deploying your practices at this summer! Comment below, on Facebook, or reply on Twitter!


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Written By

Born and raised in the Northwest, professionalized in Pullman. Enjoying the ride that dance music provides in our lovely corner of the country.

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!

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Important things happen in Pacific Northwest nightlife, and DMNW will send you alerts!