During the 2015 Labor Day Weekend, I attended the Budweiser Made in America Festival, for the first time ever. The festival, curated by Jay Z and Roc Nation, takes place annually in Philadelphia. Though it was a fun experience, I came...I saw...I conquered, and I probably won't be back for a while.
A couple weeks prior, I had just attended the Afro Punk Festival in Brooklyn to support my friend, Daisha, who performed during the Everyday People set, and to mark the popular event off of my “New York Bucket List” since I am still relatively new to the city. It had a very chill vibe, with a limitless amount of beautiful people from all backgrounds and walks of life displaying their unapologetic Afrocentric styles. That was a far cry from what MIA was, at least in my experience. Though I was happy to attend for the first time, and to get to see some of my favorite artists live, I would be lying if I said that I want to attend it again. Once was enough for me. For those of you have are looking to prepare for this festival (or any other festival) in the future, here are some tips to assure you have a great experience:
1. When attending MIA with a group, be sure to identify a meeting place within the venue in case anyone gets separated from the group
Because of the amount of people attending the festival, your cell phone signals will no doubt be on struggle-mode. It will be extremely difficult to reach each other via text or phone call.
2. Place your phone on airplane mode
As I just said, your phone signal will be struggling, and because of that, your phone battery will drain extremely fast. If you do not have a portable phone charger, this will make the festival experience very unenjoyable for you, as you won’t be able to take any pictures, or contact anyone during or after the event, if you happen to get separated. But again, if you refer back to #1, you can avoid this problem altogether. Sure, you want to capture as many videos as possible, or if you are addicted to Snapchat you probably want to be that annoying person with the 400-second snap story. Don’t fret. You can still load your Snapchat videos while on airplane mode. They will just “fail” when you try to post them, and remain there until you finally get a signal and can tap on them to proceed with making your friends [who are not in attendance] jealous.
3. Do not wear nice shoes and avoid sandals
I was wearing Nike Air Maxes both days and my inner spirit was vexed by the amount of dirt I had accumulated shortly after arriving. There is no way to avoid the kicked-up dirt (and/or mud depending on the weather). Also, ladies, if you decide to have your toes on display, just know that the opposite of what you intended will occur, as your toes will look like pigs in a blanket dusted with All Spice by the second hour you’re there. Cover your feet.
4. Plan out your day
Because there are multiple stages at MIA, with a full schedule for each day, it is essential that you have in mind who you’d like to see perform, so that you can make your way to their stages in enough time to get a good view. The performance schedule is typically posted a few weeks before the event. There is also an app you can download that will allow you to select all of the performers you’d like to see, and creates an ad hoc itinerary for you.
5. Eat a heavy meal before you arrive
Self-explanatory…unless you like waiting in line for upwards of an hour for an ultra-basic cheesesteak.
6. Have a good attitude
You know it’s going to be a long day, so be prepared for that, and keep your attitude in check. You don’t want to be that person who ruins everyone’s experience because you didn’t realize you’d be standing all day and that Beyoncé hits the stage at 10:30 PM. And no…nobody is going to want to leave before that, because well, it’s Beyoncé!