A musical festival could be the most fun you've had all summer. Of, it could be a disaster.

Tickets to these events usually aren't cheap. So, invest in a few minutes of prep work to ensure that they day will be music-filled and drama-free.

Use the buddy system: Don't even try to go it alone. Large crowds, flashing lights and loud music can be disorienting. Pairing up with a familiar face or two is a great option for safety — and to have someone to share the experience. Try to keep a visual at all times. Your buddy comes first. Having fun is a close second.

Scout out the venue beforehand: Most festivals offer comprehensive information online. Log on or call the contact number to get details about the layout. Note where the bathrooms, merch tents, first aid and concessions are located. If you go in a big group, make sure to designate a post-show meet-up spot.

Read the rules and regulations: Don't show up at the gates with glass bottles, a cooler of food or a box of glow sticks if the venue prohibits these items. Checking the rules will help you avoid hassles. Coordinate with your buddy and pack a light bag with any essentials. Bonus: You can split the carrying time.

Be smart with your cellphone: You will run out of battery if you are snapping Instagram photos and texting friends all day from the event. Chances of finding a convenient outlet are slim. You'll want to make sure you can connect with friends or call a ride after the festival. So, think about getting a case that can recharge your phone. Or, try to limit your cellphone use. You'll make more memories staring at the stage than a screen.

Carry cash and an ID: This is all you really need. If you aren't planning to order alcohol, you might not even need the ID. Never bring your entire wallet to an event. Things can go missing, and if someone swipes your credit card, your could lose your savings. Carry cash instead — and bring at least $50 more than you think you need. You might need to take a cab home or opt to splurge on a souvenir.

Check the weather: Know what you're heading into. If it's going to rain, pack a poncho. If it's going to be 100 degrees, wear light colored clothes and a hat. If it's going to be cold, layer up. Be aware that — even in the summer — the temperature can drop several degrees after the sun goes down.

Pack sunblock: Getting burned is a bummer and can increase your chances of skin cancer. That's the last thing you want to think about while rocking out. But it can happen even when it's cloudy. Sunblock wipes are a portable and mess-free option to protect your skin. Re-apply after every set.

Remember to hydrate: You might be standing for hours. You might be wedged among a sweaty hoard. You might be drinking beer. Remember to chug water, too. Bring a refillable bottle if it's allowed, or spring for a bottle or two through the day. The aqua will give you stamina to last through the final encore.

Contact Erin McCracken at 717-771-2051.

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