2.     Bring cash.

While most vendors do take debit/credit, going through the process of taking out your card, putting in your pin, entering your pin, blah, blah, blah , pretty monotonous and hello, possibly slow if the systems are being overused. . With cash you can simply pay, grab, and go! Hint: using cash allows you to monitor your drink intake ensuring you do not go overboard

3.     Bring a water bottle and snacks.

Don’t want to spend money on festival food? You’re welcome to bring in snacks and water bottles, as long as they are unopened prior to entering the festival gates. Eat up and stay hydrated! Hint:  bring some cash, festival food is the best so you may want to try a deep fried OREO or two. I hear Gabriel’s pizza is also rocking this year.

4.     Bring sunscreen!

Since Bluesfest is an outdoor festival, you’ll be spending a lot of time under the sun. Slather up, protect your skin from those harsh UV rays, and don’t forget to re-apply! ( Plus hello Umbrella for a bit of extra protection)

Being Prepared

5.     Pack some tissues (or a roll of toilet paper).

The festival staff try their best to keep things clean and convenient for concert-goers but it can be hard to keep up. Come prepared,if think you’ll be spending some time in the line ups for the portapotties always best to have some paper handy, plus a few wet wipes for sanitary purposes.

bluesfest portapotties

6.     Keep a copy of the schedule and plan out your day.

Whether you grab a physical copy at the gates, or save it on your phone, having a festival schedule will come in handy and help you plan out your evening. This way you can ensure that you don’t miss out on any of your favourite artists!

7.     Come dressed for the weather.

Figuring out what to wear can be a hassle, especially for outdoor events. About 90% of the time you’re pretty safe to go with shorts and a t-shirt, but evening may get cool especially by the river.  Rain is a hazard this summer so I recommend packing a light jacket or portable rain poncho. For those cold nights, you can wrap the jacket around your waist to wear for later. a Poncho can slip into a back pocket as a Just in Case. Better yet bring a heavier poncho, use it as a blanket during the day and a wrap in the evening.

8.     Wear closed-toed shoes.

I seriously cannot stress this one enough.  Your flip flops or strappy sandals may seem really cute looking in the mirror but…. Crowds of people and your unprotected toes. need I say more.  Plus if the weather is bad standing in open toe shoes in water and mud is not pleasant. Wear a pair of converse or cute sneakers. ( OK maybe workboots are overkill LOL)

bluesfest footwear


9.     Lawn Chair

This is a taboo I know but if you happen to be over 30 and plan on hanging out all day this is a must.  There is chair protocol though.  Sit while you are waiting no problem but during the show stand or at least be prepared that everyone in front of you will be.  In all my years the only show I saw everyone remain seated was James Taylor, what a site everyone just relaxed and enjoying the show.

lawnchairs at festivals

10.  Use social media!

Take tons of pictures, use and follow hashtags, and stay updated with what’s going on at the festival. Ottawa Bluesfest even has a mobile app that you can download that includes maps, set times, and other fun stuff! Also big HINT, there are contests going on every day you can’t win if you are not following them twitter, facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (@ottawabluesfest)

11.  Do not butt in front of everyone to get to the front of the stage.

If you get to the stage early you’ll give yourself some time to chill out before the set, and figure out the best angles to take pictures. If you are not prepared to get there early and hang tight do not be that idiot or group of idiots that rush and push trying to get to the front.

13.  Use your manners and say Thanks

So you’re a little late to the set and you want a good spot. There’s no need to shove, others want to watch the show just as much as you do. A simple “excuse me” will do the trick, and believe it or not, it’s a much more effective way to navigate through the crowd too! Plus big hint, thank a volunteer, they are actually working long hours in all weather to help make your experience great

Bluesfest Volunteer life

and finally,

14.  Have fun!

Live it up, soak up the sun, and enjoy some great music alongside the company of your friends.

Bluesfest fun in the VIP area

Disclosure: A Labour of Life  received a one week Bluesfest pass in exchange for this review. All opinions are our own and based on our experiences