Much ado has been made of BottleRock Napa Valley during the first half of 2014. Questions surrounding this year's lineup and last year's debacle have swirled like the dust from the trampled Napa Valley Expo grounds. This past weekend I attended the notorious event and survived by sticking to a set of time-tested music festival maxims:
1. Feed Your Body. You're going to be on your feet, walking, and possibly running for 10 hours. You've got to stay hydrated and, just as importantly, adequately fed. Yes, festival food can be quite taxing on your wallet, but it's also one of the draws of the event. I survived BottleRock by splurging on the awesome Napa Valley food vendors and drinking free water poured into my reusable bottle at the Camelback-sponsored tents.
2. Screen Your Body. This is on par with number one, especially for a festival in Napa Valley. I survived the first day of BottleRock without sunscreen -- barely. I didn't make the same mistake Saturday and Sunday. I slathered on a nice, thick layer of SPF 30 -- even spraying down the visible portions of my head.
Just as you must screen your skin from the sun during the day, you must screen your body from the chill at night. My festival companion started Friday off in a sundress and sandals and ended the evening in boots, jeans, a hoodie and an overcoat.
3. Stake Claim on Your Real Estate. Bring a blanket and relax in your own space during the day, while the crowds are still thickening up. Although you can't realistically expect your blanket to be an invisible fence around your group, it will at least discourage others from getting all up in your business. On the other hand, don't be that guy (or girl) who expects to maintain your little haven all the way through the headliner's set.