[Originally published on Virgin.com, June 2014]
Are you a little on the shy side? A self-proclaimed introvert? Put aside those silly anxieties, because making friends at a music festival is not only easy, it’s fun. We at Virgin have attended our share of festivals and have compiled an arsenal of tested tactics to help you return to civilization with more friends than you brought along.
High five everyone
Let’s start with the basics. This classic festival move can be executed in two ways: 1) Keep your hand in the air at all times. You don’t even have to do anything – the high fives will just happen. 2) Find someone you want to meet, walk up and say, ‘High five’! Works most of the time.
Apply water liberally
In particularly hot environs, a cold spritz of water is more than welcome. If the festival allows them, arm your friends with water guns and start a friendly battle. The masses will practically beg you for refreshment.
Represent your town
Like a moth to a flame, wearing your team logo is guaranteed to earn a few high fives (or boos, but whatever). And the more obscure the reference, the better the reaction. Trust us.
Share a ride
If you’re driving your car to the festival, life must be nice. If not, try joining a stranger’s ride share (but be smart about it, of course). After a few hours of swapping your life stories, you’ll arrive at the festival with an enviable head start on the friend-making.
Share a compliment
This is a really easy one. As in the ‘real world’, you catch more flies with honey than with, well, whatever else. And with so many people around, you’re bound to see something new and interesting on a fellow festival-goer. Like his tattoo? Tell him. Does she have amazing sunglasses? Ask to try them on!
Because we’re humans, we love free shit. Offer candy, glitter, hugs, or whatever else (interpret as you will) and watch the new friends roll in.
Bring an extra poncho
Rain in the forecast? Pack some excess ponchos or umbrellas. When it starts to pour, pick the most unhappy-looking person in the crowd and watch your foresight turn that frown upside down.
Embrace the wet
Didn’t take those ponchos like we suggested? Might as well start a convo with someone equally soaked. Misery loves company, after all.
Wear something outrageous. Anything will do, really: a fancy dress, a spandex bodysuit, neon tutu, or enormous headdress. In sum, something totally impractical and completely fun. You’ll be hard to ignore – and that’s the point.
Dance funky, dance hard
And we can all learn from this gentleman.