Information Coordinator Chloe Numbers knows that the best way to obtain maximum festival enjoyment is to preemtively avoid mishaps with a festival survival kit. A well-stocked bag of necessities ensures that you remain calm and comfortable during the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, allowing you to focus on the music and the good times!
I am one of those people who is always prepared. I learned from my mother at a young age that it’s better to have a purse/backpack that seems like it’s overflowing with pre-garbage than to end up limping around downtown with a bloody stump of a foot because you don’t have any bandages or moleskin to save your heels from your seemed-comfortable- at-the- store shoes. Here’s a good example: at a certain camp-in outdoor music festival in 2012, I carried a space blanket in my backpack, and when night fell and the temperature plummeted, I was much more comfortable than any of my freezing, non-baked- potato-esque, t-shirted friends around me. This festival survival kit will ensure that you not only survive the festival, but that you can thoroughly experience and enjoy it as well.
1. Reusable water bottle or water bladder:
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people completely forget that hydration is crucial to human survival (especially when spending a day outside in the sun, dancing/mingling/singing/expending energy in other various ways). Having your own personal water supply guarantees that you will stay comfortable, and that you can avoid waiting in line somewhere to buy a plastic disposable water bottle, a waste of both valuable festival time and natural resources. The truly dedicated should consider a water bladder with an over-the-shoulder straw that you can wear on your back (Camelbak brand is the one that comes to mind for most). With one of these babies, your arms will be free for dancing and gesticulating while also providing your body with much needed hydration. As an added plus, there will be water bottle refilling stations at both Downtown Jazz and David Lam Park weekends!
This is what I mean by a "bladder".
Like the previously mentioned water bottle, sunscreen is not a very exciting festival survival kit component, but it is utterly crucial. While spending your day outside listening to live music is decidedly one of the best uses of your time, UV rays are not your friends. Neither is a sunburn, and nobody wants be a laughingstock at work on Monday morning because you look like a lobster who just blew in from Crispytown. It doesn't matter if there is any amount of cloud cover, either, because hiding from the sun behind a cloud is about as useful as hiding from your boss behind the artificial potted ficus that "lives" in your office; she will find you anyway, and your burn will be decidedly worse because there will be an additional sting of shame. I’m sure you parents out there don’t need any reminding to slather your kids in this stuff at David Lam Park Weekend/ during Canada Day. Seriously, apply sunscreen before you go outside, and reapply during the day.
This is not your best jazz festival look.
3. TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival Guidebook and app
There are about 300 shows happening at this year’s festival! A guidebook will be your festival bible as far as scheduling and information about the artists goes, and the Coastal Jazz app contains all of this handy dandy information within a little button on your smartphone. Pick up a guidebook at any TD branch (thanks TD, we love you), or at various café’s/coffee shops around the city. Knowledge is power!
4. A bandana
I know what you’re thinking- bandanas are tacky, unless they’re being used as an adorable accessory by your dog. BUT, they are surprisingly useful, and can come in handy for a multitude of purposes. At another outside music festival I once attended, I received a very ugly complimentary bandana from an insurance company on the first day. I used it so much during the next few days that I now bring a bandana with me to all festivals and concerts. A bandana can protect your head from the almighty and powerful sun (especially if you didn’t listen to me and left the sunscreen at home). In a pinch, a bandana makes a convenient napkin, handkerchief, or forehead sweatband (plus, then you can pretend you’re Bret Michaels from Poison). Wrapped up in a cord, it makes a convenient and rockabilly-chic headband for my fellow long-haired ladies (Rainbow Robert, I’m looking at you). I’ve even seen a bandana used as a makeshift belt before. They take up such a small amount of space, and will almost certainly be useful to you at least once.
This is my bandana. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
5. Hand sanitizer
I don’t think I need to elaborate much on this one. Hand sanitizer will save you from any number of gross situations, and it will help you stave off summer cold germs. The last thing you want is to catch a cold during the jazz festival.
6. Bandages and/or moleskin
Like I mentioned during the intro paragraph, foot pain issues totally suck. Along with comfortable shoes, carrying some bandages and/or moleskin with you will keep you dancing and happy from Downtown Jazz weekend all the way through David Lam Park weekend.
7. Tasty snacks
There is going to be stupendous food available at Free Jazz weekends; however, if you end up in that sticky situation where you’ve scored a prime spot right in front of the stage that you don’t want to give up AND you’ve already eaten 5 servings of food truck fare that day, a bag of trail mix and a piece of fruit will be the sweet, sweet fortification that you so desperately need.
*Note: author recomends all pineapples be butchered prior to jazz festival consumption for maximum efficiency.
8. An insatiable appetite for music
This festival is 10 days long. There are over 300 shows, all over the city. I want to see you at them, dancing hard, singing along, jumping up and down, etc. Or, sitting and having a beer/cider/club soda/other drink of choice. When you get to the bottom line, the music is what the festival is all about, and everybody knows that nothing goes better with hand sanitizer and a multi-use bandana than an insatiable appetite for music.