The Oil Slick: The Summer Festival Survival Guide

Summer means festivals. And those all-you-can-eat -- um, hear -- sonic explosions have more than enough sights and sounds to keep you entertained the entire day. But with 90 decibels of bass pounding into your chest, it can be difficult to remember some of the basics of survival.

Stuffing a few helpful objects in your pockets before you head into the scorching sun can keep your day from being an exercise in heat exhaustion.

One word: Sunscreen. Although some festivals have ginormous tents to keep you away from the sun's killer blaze, many are set up in flat, treeless areas. This doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you've been wandering around for a couple of hours and the bands are all starting to sound the same. Staying out of the sun will keep you from wilting like the precious little flower you are.

Stay hydrated and keep the water flowing. Even if you aren't imbibing in spirits, it's pretty easy to forget that you're constantly losing precious H2O, and the easiest way to ruin an awesome band is a pounding headache. Smuggle some in, buy one, keep it around at all times. Because you really don't want to associate your favorite group with headaches and nausea.

Believe it or not, your ears can get tired. A pair of ear plugs can do wonders toward keeping every band sounding crisp and not like they're shredding from inside a giant plastic bag. Ear plugs may not be one of the most respected fashion statements of the year, but you never know when that will change. Being able to hear the next concert starts with earplugs.

Festivals. The word may bring a shiver of joy or a wince. It all depends on what's in your pockets when you go through the gate.

John Grimley writes The Oil Slick blog for

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