Photos: Kieran Brownie 

Lately we’ve been really stoked on music festivals– the culture around the music, the art and innovation that bleeds from endless creativity gathered in one place, is one of the best ways we can think of to distract from the shred itch and get ol’ right hemi firing. Normally we’d stay on the hush about how we grease our ways past the bouncers, but we’ve been talking around the office and we want you guys to experience the goodness. We know you’re pinching pennies on that new pow board, so we figured we’d let you in on a few of our techniques. Just don’t go telling every Daryl you meet about these master plans…

1. Buy a ticket

Thee Oh Sees lead a killer thrash at Levitation Vancouver– just takes one of these moments to make that ticket worth it

You’re not just paying for access, you’re paying for an mindset. You’re on vacation with a ticket– you don’t have to worry about the hussle, you ain’t gotta duck any feds, you’re just doing you and enjoying the experience. You can make the most of your ticket by turning off your phone, putting an auto-reply on your e-mail, and following Chris Rasman’s advice here.

2. Shhhhhhh…

The Growlers keep things romantic with a waltzy number and some disco throwbacks– their merch booth had some great options for degenerates looking to restore their karma

We ain’t sayin nothin about number two, but remember that time homie from Saskatchewan rolled through your shred palace and you pass dropped to get him up the hill? Sometimes sh*t like that works for festivals. But if you’re going unsanctioned, keep in mind that the shredder’s code puts certain obligations on your fence-duckin’ ass. Bring money, about half what you saved on tickets, and spend it supporting the artists you see at their merch booths. This stash is separate from what you’ve budgeted for beer and pulled pork. A patch here, a button there, maybe a shirt– brings down the collateral damage of your heinous crimes and keeps the music alive. Also, it’s on you if you get busted. Security guards are hard workers, and without them there wouldn’t be festivals at all. Under no circumstances should you give them a hard time about dealing with your nonsense.

3. Contribute

The Allah-Las were on early at Levitation, kicking tasty james that had the bouncers bobbin’ heads

One of the best ways in is as a worker or a volunteer. Typically if you’re getting a pay cheque the music becomes secondary– you’ve gotta keep your wits about you and deal with thousands of goons, but you’ll catch some tunes at some point and you might just have an amazing experience thanks to your responsibilities. A friend of mine once told me about working as a paramedic during Shambhala. He saved a life while his favourite DJ played a set. Volunteers typically get a bit more down time and run a looser program. You might have to clean something gross, but you’ll be doing favours for the environment and the local people near the fest. Highly recommended.

4. Work that silver tongue

Our street team had to talk their way in all over again as Levitation continued at the Rickshaw– visuals by Mad Alchemy made those sore jaws worth it

Talk, talk, talk. Who’s running this show? How can you get in touch with them? How can you convince them that they’ll benefit by giving you a ticket? This approach requires planning, research, and something to leverage, but if you can tell the right person about your fiery Instagram account or how your photos always make it in the school paper it might just get you in. Get on this as far in advance as possible– better husslers than you have failed for lack of notice. Another key to success is spelling out the benefits in terms marketers will understand– “I can guarantee that 55 thousand members of your target demographic will see my post,” something like that. And remember that the way you sell it is the difference between thrashin’ in the pit and listening from outside the grounds; keep that confidence high and don’t forget to smile.

5. Be good enough at something that someone else gets you in

If you’re not listening to Fidlar you’re blowing it– these dudes and the Ramones are the only bands on Bart Simpson’s iPod, and because they’ve got that sound they can get in anywhere they want

The best way to get into a music festival will always be by becoming a rock god and having agents, PR teams, and promoters argue over how much it costs to get you on a stage. But you don’t necessarily have to whail to get in on talent alone. There are plenty of backroom influencers who can benefit from seeing cool and interesting people at their parties. Wouldn’t be the first time folks got VIP access cuz’ of their boarding– keep practicing those switch backsides and it could be you they’re lookin’ to get in.

Special thanks to Levitation Vancouver for helping us get in– Levitation runs festivals in Austin, France, and Chicago, with consistently stellar line-ups, vibes, and art.