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My Top 5 Ways to Beat Pre-Fest Anxiety

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Believe it or not everyone gets pre-fest anxiety… even the festival vets who’ve been attending for years. Anxiety makes sense if you think about it psychologically- these music festivals are large significant events comparable to a graduation, prom, or wedding. There are life-changing transformations that happen to people at festivals. They leave festivals with fresh new perspectives on life that they then take and share with the ordinary world. Music festivals never really end even when the music stops.

The pre-fest jitters are normal and everyone has them even those who are making the event happen. Think of the performers having to perform in front of thousands of people. That’s even more nerve-racking I’d imagine.

You don’t have to perform though… even if you are a headliner (Insomniac reference!). Your feelings are still valid and I’m here to share some of my ways I work through these jitters. Hopefully one or more of these coping mechanisms can help you too.

My Top 5 Ways to Beat Pre-Fest Anxiety:

#1 Cuddle with a Squishmallow.

  • Squishmallows are plush toys resembling a pillow and can typically be found at major retailers and pharmacies near you. They come in all shapes and sizes and vastly different designs. If you don't have one and want to buy one make sure to pick one you resonate with and makes you feel like a happy kid again. They have everything from dragons, mushrooms, cows, cats, boba tea, and more. The more unique the better! This is a judgement-free zone.

  • Find somewhere comfy like your bed, couch, floor, or chair. Proceed to cuddle with your Squishmallow (or any plushie you like) and just breathe. Try and clear your mind. I like to think of a vast ocean or outer space. Nothingness and only essence. Listen to your breath and feel your heartbeat. Nothing is truer in existence than your own breath.

  • If you are feeling playful talk to your squishy about how much fun the festival is going to be and that they are coming too.

  • Give your squishy some swag. I’ve seen ravers deck theirs out in kandi, hats, sprouts, and earrings. You gotta give your squish some personality!

  • If you think this is all weird and we’re too old to have toys at raves… let me just tell you that Squishmallows are all the rage in the EDM community because they are fun, can reflect their personality, and can be used as a travel pillow especially on a road trip!

#2 Connect virtually with other attendees.

  • Radiate is my favorite app & social networking tools.

  • Find other people going to your event through chat rooms or event pages and say “Hey” to them.

  • There’s so many ways to initiate conversation. Here’s a few:

    • How are your outfits coming along?

    • Which artists are you most excited to see?

    • Is this your first festival?

  • Besides Radiate, be sure to check out Facebook, Reddit, Discord, & Snapchat for more groups and chats for the event you are going to specifically.

  • Plan some meet ups ahead of time! Whether meeting a potential rave bae or trying to do an official Radiate meetup just know that there are plenty of people wanting to connect human to human. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and make new friends.

#3 Try on all your outfits.

  • Trying on your outfits is essential and required for the jump test. Remember the jump test from my earlier blog post- you don’t want your outfits falling apart at the music festival.

  • Build confidence in yourself. You might be wearing something a little more daring than usual. Start feeling comfortable in the outfit first by breaking it in at home.

  • Make sure to snap pictures! Ravers && music festival attendees love exchanging selfies in their outfits on social media. I would say it's more popular on Radiate and private Facebook groups. These outfit selfies are not weird or sexual... I mean it can be sexual if it's consensual and potential rave bae is inquiring so I'm not going to deny that's a thing. Regardless of who you're sharing your pics with it’s freedom of expression and the dance community is supportive of what you want to wear. Exchanging or posting pics is another way to keep the conversation going with the people you’re connecting with virtually pre-fest.

#4 Make kandi bracelets.

  • Put on an upbeat livestream of an artist you are excited to catch at your next fest.

  • Shift your mindset into gratitude. Be grateful that you have the opportunity to be going to the event. Think of all the cool people you are going to meet and how you can’t wait to PLURR. If you are new to the scene, please note PLURR is rave culture handshake that involves the exchange of handmade plastic beaded bracelets. I will write more about it in the future, but PLURR stands for Peace Love Unity Respect Responsibility.

  • Focusing on making the bracelet takes you into a creative mode too. If you are having a hard time thinking of your first bracelet try picking out a funny reference from a comedy movie and using your two top favorite colors for beads!

#5 Appreciate the calm before the storm

  • It’s going to be wild at the music festival. Let your body rest and feel rejuvenated before the event. You want to be your best self and that includes a healthy mind, spirit, & body.

  • Embrace the present. Meditate, journal, yoga, light workout, take a bath, sit outside, watch a funny movie, indulge in your favorite food, or read. Be kind to yourself. Slow down && smell the roses.

  • Try listening to something more relaxing like jazz, frequency/vibration music, soundscapes, or ambient sounds. If this sounds boring don’t worry you’ll be getting plenty of hype music at your event! Use this time to calm the nerves and listening to these types of soothing sounds are about the vibrations and energies, not the music itself.

Photos (L to R) of my top 5 ways to beat pre-fest anxiety were all taken within last week while I was having pre-festival anxiety: (1) Meet my Squishmallow Maisha! She's a beaver and a gift from a civil engineering mentee of mine. I was told beavers were "nature's civil engineers" && that even if I left engineering I will always be an engineer. This was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received and am forever grateful. Maisha is traveling with me and possibly making an appearance at EDSea or Home Bass. No promises though! (2) My Radiate profile. No shame and yes I'm an OG. "Hey" me! (3) I was trying to figure out if I liked these baby pink Tonino Mid Wedges by Carmen Sol for my Baewatch outfit Day 2 of EDSea. Other people think it's fine, but I ordered something else. Keeping my fingers crossed it comes in time! (4) A stack of kandi bracelets I made for upcoming EDSea, EDC Orlando, and Home Bass. (5) Went for an outdoor walk and got myself some yummy local treats at the neighborhood Farmer's Market. A Sticky Pecan Bun from Yellow Dog Bakery && a black iced coffee from Oak City Roasters. A simple breakfast like this makes me happy and puts me in a good mood. Next level... I like to top my pastries with fresh fruit for added hydration && nutrition. When I got home I sliced up a half of a banana and put on top of the sticky pecan bun. It was heavenly!


The trick to getting over that pre-fest anxiety hump is just shifting your mindset into something else whether it is calming or more task-oriented. It’s also about being in the present and not worrying about the past or future. When working through anxiety long term it's best to notice patterns and how you are feeling after doing the work needed to help you get out of that negative feeling. Your body starts to develop a sense of ease and it becomes easier to reach those states of calm because that's where it wants to be naturally. It doesn't want to be anxious.

When you're feeling anxious before your next big music festival don't forget there are thousands of other music festival attendees out there with the same pre-fest jitters. They are just as excited to get out on the dance floor and meet you as you are excited to meet them!

I've had this John Summit livestream on repeat all week. It's definitely been the vibe I needed to chill out.

Don't forget to remember these 5 keywords while navigating that pre-fest anxiety: Comfort, Connect, Confidence, Gratitude, && Appreciation. <333



5 Keywords to help beat pre-fest anxiety pinterest

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