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Wellness > Mental Health

I’m An Introvert — Can I Still Have Fun At A Music Festival?

It’s officially music festival season, and I know I’m not the only one living vicariously through Alix Earle as she takes on Coachella. The weather’s hit the 60s on college campuses across the country, and suddenly I’ve forgotten all about the final exams I need to be studying for… Nature is healing. 

Music festivals bring all the summer vibes. They’re the experience of a lifetime for so many college students. But for us introverts, music festival season can be super intimidating. There’s overstimulation from a high-energy crowd, loud music, and constant social interaction… it may sound like a nightmare to some. But they can also be amazing events to share with your closest friends. Festivals offer a unique experience where you can listen to a bunch of your favorite artists in one place. You can even discover new artists or bands that you didn’t know existed. Festivals are such a rewarding experience if you have the opportunity to go – you don’t have to let being an introvert stop you from having the time of your life! There are always steps you can take before the big day to set yourself up for success.

Know your limits.

If you’re not an experienced festival-goer, talk to someone who is. This way, you can get a little more information on what to expect before you get there. Come festival day, it may be tempting to give yourself a little extra liquid courage. But keep in mind that this is an unfamiliar environment, which can trigger anxiety for a lot of introverts. So pace yourself!

Do your research.

If you’ve never gone to a music festival before, you don’t need to jump in the deep end by going to something like a rave. Do your research and find a festival that matches the vibe that you’re looking for. Many introverts need more of a chill environment to have fun. Music festivals aren’t one-size-fits-all, so find one that works for you! Once you’ve selected your festival, plan ahead as much as you can. Find out where things are located, make a list of the performers that you want to see, and make a game plan with your friends. If you’re an introvert who needs a plan to ease some stress, do what you need to do.

Have a safe person who you feel comfortable leaving with.

If you’re a socially anxious introvert, you know how scary it can be to ask someone to step out with you. It may feel like you’re ruining their fun. But most friends (if they’re good ones) are super understanding and wouldn’t want you wandering off by yourself. So make sure that you have someone who you’re close with. They won’t judge you for needing a breather in the middle of a high-energy set. 

Wear clothes that you’re comfortable in.

There’s nothing worse than being overstimulated in a loud, crowded environment and suddenly feeling uncomfortable fabric rubbing against your skin. The sensory issues are so real for introverts. One of the best parts of any music festival is planning your outfit in advance. So have a good time with it and think about what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident! You’ll enjoy yourself so much more when you’re not feeling self-conscious about the way you look, or getting sensory overload from the material. Also, bring those comfortable shoes to change into – blisters are never a vibe.

Do it for the plot.

OK, hear me out. As an introvert, one of my favorite approaches for any social event is to take on a new persona. If I’m feeling anxious in a social setting, I literally will pretend I’m a different person who isn’t anxious. Try not to let being an introvert close you off from new experiences and people. As TikTok loves to say, “Do it for the plot”! You are the main character. The other people who attend music festivals are some of the nicest ever. Everyone just wants to have a good time.

Spend time alone before and after the event.

As introverts, we definitely need to plan our quiet time around social events so that we can recharge. If my social battery is at zero, I’m an absolute menace. So even if you just factor in a few minutes before and after the event to check in on yourself, it’ll be worth it. If your festival lasts multiple days and you’re camping out with friends, don’t be afraid to remove yourself from a social gathering to get some time alone. You’re not being anti-social, you’re protecting your peace!

When you get there, walk around to get a feel for the vibe.

“I think I’ll do a wrap-around.” Take a hot girl walk around the venue once you get to the festival to familiarize yourself with the space. As an introvert, I often get stressed out in unfamiliar environments where I don’t have an escape route from all the socializing. Give yourself some peace of mind before the chaos begins.

These are just a few gentle tips to help ease some of the stress that may come with attending a music festival. But remember that some of the most fun comes from spontaneity with your friends! Don’t put too much pressure on the festival to go exactly as scheduled. You don’t have to plan every single moment to have a great time as an introvert!

Julia is a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh studying Media and Professional Communications with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies. She loves to go thrifting, grab a coffee with friends, and go on walks with her dog!