Mia Goes M.I.A: The Festival Survival Guide

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One of my favourite summer activities has to be attending music festivals. There is something so special about being out in the sunshine, listening to some incredible music and artists, the unique culture of people from all around the world coming together, the beautiful art, the delicious food, and of course the fun camping.

If you are new to the festival scene, it can seem intimidating and overwhelming. Don’t worry, I am here to help. Having attended several music festivals in the past (5 to be exact) I have learned a few tricks to ensure a successful festival weekend. Today I wanted to share with you my music festival survival handbook.

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Comfort is Key

I know that Coachella’s instagram feed makes one believe music festivals are really fashion shows, but this is just not the case. Reality check, music festivals are hot, sweaty, dirty places. You are sleeping in a tent for days, there is a serious lack of showers, there is dirt everywhere, and it is hot hot hot! This is not the time to crack out your favourite designer duds.

Do not wear white, do not wear expensive, do not wear uncomfortable. In fact everything you do wear you must be ok with ruining or else do not bring.

So what should you bring? From past experience I promise the more comfortable you are, the more you are going to enjoy the experience.

  • Loose shirts: I know, the adorable tight fitting crop top is totally in right? Leave it at home in this case because you are not going to be happy walking around in that for 10 hours straight. Oversized yet stylish shirts for the win
  • Jean Shorts: If any clothing is going to survive the apocalypse it is jeans, so they can survive a simple festival weekend. Bring on the mud, the food, the drinks. None of these are a match for jeans, they will survive the elements.
  • Running Shoes/think sandals: I remember the worst day of my music festival life. I had just bought an adorable pair of fringe heels that would complete my perfect festival outfit. I was wrong. Half way through Kendrick Lamar’s set I needed to quit the dance party because my feet were killing me. Make sure the shoes you rock are made for walking because there will be a lot of walking, and dancing, potential dirt and mud. A music festival is no place for heels or any shoe that is uncomfortable.
  • A blanket scarf: This multi purpose accessory is perfect to add some flare to your outfit and also to sit on if you don’t want to be on the ground.
  • A sweater: This may seem unnecessary since it is the middle of summer but if it rains, or the temps drop at night, you are going to be glad you brought one with you.

So in recap, dress for comfort, don’t bring anything you don’t want ruined, and for god’s sake leave all the heels at home!

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Suns out so protect the guns… and everything else 

Last year at Wayhome a dear friend of mine missed at least one full day because she was suffering form heat stroke. The second day she was still feeling sick. Don’t be that person who wastes your entire festival experience because you didn’t take care of yourself. Music festivals take place during summer, meaning hot temps. They take place all day, which means being outside in these hot temps for hours and hours. Make sure you are taking care of yourself.

  • SPF Yourself: Make sure that you are constantly applying SPF because the sun is not your friend when you are outside all day. Protect that skin!
  • Be the team’s waterboy: Wayhome was fantastic in the sense they had hydration stations laid out, but still so many people were experiencing dehydration. Sun and alcohol are not the best mix, so make sure to add some water to the combination. Even if you aren’t feeling thirsty drink up because when heat stroke sneaks up on you.
  • Bring a hat: Hat’s can be stylish and cool and they can also help keep you cool when you are outside all day.
  • Listen to your body: Despite looking forward to Third Eye Blind all day (yes I am dating myself here) I had to leave half way through their act at once festival because I wasn’t feeling great. Festival grounds do not offer a lot of shaded area, so if you need to, find a spot to take a break whether it be the camp site or a tented area.

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Create Your Own “Glamping” Experience 

This could be the most helpful tip I give you. I am not too keen on camping. Sleeping on the ground for three days straight surrounded by bugs  is not my idea of fun. This year at Wayhome we macgyvered a way to camp in style, and by camp I mean sleep in my car in comfort. I brought a blow up mattress, sheets, and bug nets so we could sleep with the windows down and it was as comfy as a 3.5 star hotel (as comfy as camping can get.)

If you like the idea of sleeping in a tent, I do highly recommend bringing a mattress of some sorts. It is not fun sleeping on the ground and I know this from personal experience.

Bring Snacks 

One of my favourite parts of festivals is the different and delicious food options. Food trucks upon food trucks line the festival grounds. The downside is long lines and expensive options. That is why I am always sure to pack breakfast options as well as snacks for during the day. You aren’t going to want to buy every meal because it is going to cost you and you definitely don’t want to leave your perfect spot right by the stage because your stomach is growling uncontrollably.

Splurge on the Showers 

I have experienced two different types of festivals. Festivals where I showered, and festivals where I didn’t and trust me the showering kind is far superior. Yes there will be hundreds of people on the grounds that haven’t seen a shower in three days, but you don’t want to be one of those people. Pay the extra $$ for a shower pass. It will help you feel more refreshed, energized, and ready for an exciting day of music.

Here are a list of some shower needs during a festival;

  • Dry Shampoo: Your hair will get dirty and greasy. Dry shampoo will be a lifesaver during the weekend
  • Less is more: Don’t go caking on makeup at a music festival. With the hot sun it will melt right off. This is the perfect time to give your skin a bit of a break and go for the natural look
  • Deodorant: Since showers are few and far between make sure you are going a little deodorant overboard to avoid the b/o

Pack a charger

Charing outlets are in high demand and difficult to come across at festivals and in a day and age where if it isn’t online it didn’t happen you want to make sure your phone is as ready as you are. A portable charger for the weekend is key!

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Buddy System

I haven’t really used the buddy system since grade 4, but in a festival environment it is key. When everyone is drinking and having fun it is also important to look out for one another because you never know what can happen. Cell service at festivals is pretty bad and you don’t want to get lost. Make sure you have a meeting point and a friend that you are with at all times because safety should be your number one priority. Safety and having a fun time that is.

And there you have it. My Music Festival Survival Handbook. Have you been to a music festival or are planning on going this summer? I would love to hear from you and for you to share some of your survival ideas.

That is all from now, until I go M.I.A again

xo

Mia

Mia Goes M.I.A: Top 6 Festivals in the Six (or close to Toronto)

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With the warmer weather,  that means summer is right around the corner. With summer comes my favourite time of the year, festival season. While the Coachella’s and Lollapalooza’s of the world sound like a blast, there are plenty of local festivals that are guaranteed great performers and great times. I decided to share with you my top six music festivals in Ontario, and I promise, you won’t be left with fake tickets and mugged like a certain Fyre Fest.

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Wayhome

Wayhome is the vision of Republic Live and will be rocking into its third year. This has become my favourite local festival. What makes it so good? Well it could be the incredible headliners. This year they will host Cage The Elephant, Frank Ocean, and Imagine Dragons as well as plenty of other talent. It could also be the art factor, interesting designs around the festival grounds. Or it could be the festival atmosphere. When the show is done for the day the fun doesn’t stop because you stay on site camping. Lastly it could be the fact that there is something for every music lover; indie, rock, electric, rap. The list goes on. It is truly a festival lovers dream.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: July 28-30

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Boots & Hearts

Grab your daisy dukes and cowboy hats because this is one of the best summer parties. Another Republic Live event this festival has become the holy grail of music festivals if you love country music of course. The festival, going into its 5th year is getting bigger and bigger every year. This year is no different. Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, and Brantley Gilbert will be headlining this year. Just like Wayhome you camp on site and dance all night long. The ambiance makes this festival truly special. Grab your cowgirls and boys and have an unforgettable weekend.

Where: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds 

When: August 10-13

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Field Trip 

An amazing music, arts, and food festival right in the heart of downtown Toronto, what could be better? This year the festival headlines Broken Social Scene, Phoenix, and Feist. What makes Field Trip a must not miss event is that it is so much more than just the music. The festival prides itself on local and creative food as well as interesting art installations. Grab a bite and see some incredible pieces in between acts.

Where: Fort York & Garrison Common

When: June 3-4 

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Bud Light Dreams Festival 

Formally known as Digital Dreams this is a must see for any electric music lover. The festival will yet again welcome some of the biggest names in electric music such as Steve Angello and DVBBS. Just like the name, the festival itself is getting a makeover this year. It will now have three stages including a waterfront stage. This festival is also unique in the sense that instead of having a variety of genres, it just sticks to electric music that will have you dancing all weekend long, and along with electric music comes insane sets so have that camera ready.

Where: Echo Beach 

When: July 7-8

NXNE

If a weekend isn’t enough for you then how about 10 days of an incredible music festival? That is what NXNE has to offer. Taking after its sister festival SXSW in Austin Texas, this festival showcases amazing talent as well as gaming, comedy, and other performances. According to the U.K Guardian, this is Toronto’s leading music festival, and I have to agree. While the headliners this year include Post Malone, Tyler the Creator, and Passion Pit, I fell in love with a bunch of the smaller acts and I know you will too.

Sound of Music 

The beautiful backdrop of Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park sets the stage for this fun and affordable music festival that brings in some big names. The Trews, The Road Hammers, and even Offspring will be performing this year to name a few. The festival also offers plenty of activities such as a parade, streetfest, market place, and carnival to keep you busy for the whole weekend. It is also kid friendly so the whole family can come and enjoy.

Where: Spencer Smith Park 

When: June 10-18 

Well there you have it, some of my favourite musical festivals this summer in and around Toronto. Do you have a favourite festival that didn’t make the list? Would love to hear about it!

Also coming this week my tips on how to survive a camping festival, and how to even glamp (when showers are a rare commodity). I will have that for you later this week.

In the meantime thank you for checking out the latest Mia goes M.I.A

xo

Mia

Mia goes M.I.A: Whistler B.C.

The World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler B.C. is an annual event that highlights some of the best local talent in music, photography, and film. It is one of the largest free outdoor festivals in the world. With the mountains still covered in snow well into April, the festival also offers some of the best spring skiing in the world. In other words, this is a must not miss event.

Last year I was fortunate enough to check out the festival and hit the slopes for some of the best skiing of my life. On top of that I fell in love with Whistler. It’s amazing restaurants, bars, and shops made me never want to leave.

Whether you are going for the festival, or just a trip to Whistler, the following are some of my recommendations of things to do, places to eat, and must not miss spots.

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Must Do’s

Whistler is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. The following are some of my recommendations of things to see and do to really appreciate what it has to offer

  • Take a road trip: I know that this isn’t in Whistler exactly, but one of my favourite parts of the trip was the drive from Vancouver to Whistler. The Sea to Sky Highway was breathtaking. You start off at sea level on the Ocean and then start the climb up into the air and mountains. There are such beautiful views along the way that I highly recommend leaving enough time to stop to take a ton of pictures
  • Shred it… Duh: Whether a skier or snowboarder, whether advanced or beginner, Whistler is the perfect place to hit the slopes. There are over 8,000 acres of snow covered slopes and more than 200 marked trails and hills that offer the perfect ski or snowboarding experience for all levels. Even skiing in April offered perfect conditions.
  • Take the Peak to Peak Gondola: I don’t care if you are skiing or not, you have to make your way on this Gondola. It takes you from the Whistler mountains to the Blackomb side and the 360 degree views are spectacular. I honestly felt on top of the world.
  • Relax and Rejuvenate at the Spa:  After a few long days of skiing, my body was begging me for a break. I did what any girl would do and hit up the Scandinave Spa. The location of the spa is stunning, surrounded by forrest and right on a lake. As for the spa itself, it was so relaxing and peaceful. No cells phones allowed so you can truly unwind. I recommend giving their baths a go!

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Must Eat’s

After a long day on the slopes, you are going to be on a mission for some grub. Whistler has so many option of great places to eat and drink. From delicious family run bakeries, to upscale spots, Whistler has something for everyone. The following are some of my favourite places to grab a bite.

 

  • Sushi Village: Sushi Village came highly recommended and so I decided to give it a Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.43.39 PMtry on my fist night in town. What can I say, it exceeded my expectations. I am have been a fan of sushi my whole life, but this was by far the best I have ever eaten. With so many options on the menu, we decided to go with the Chef’s option, which is basically a surprise platter. Each maki and roll was so fresh and delicious. I highly recommend trying some of the house specials. My personal favourite was the hot volcano roll. You also have to try a sake margarita!
  • The Mexican Corner: We were told the margaritas at the Mexican Corner were the world’s best so how could we not give it a try. They were right. I gave the Mango Margarita a go, and for the first time ever the drink wasn’t overly sweet. On top of their delicious drinks, they also have amazing food. From authentic Mexican cuisine like civiche and tacos, to some very different options everything was so tasty. I highly recommend their Chile en Nogada. Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.43.56 PM
  • Purebread: Looking for a breakfast treat before you hit the slopes? Look no further than Purebread. This family run bakery has the largest selection of bread I have ever seen in my entire life. I ate an entire loaf of the olive rosemary. Soft and warm like it was straight out of the oven. And don’t worry, you will work off the calories on the hills.
  • Bar Oso: Looking for something a little more upscale? Bar Oso is the perfect place to wine and dine. One of the newer restaurants in Whistler, this Spanish style spot is incredible. From the ambiance to the food you are going to love it. Plus they have a really creative cocktail list. My personal favourite, the Powder Day.
Must Après

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Almost as important as hitting the slopes is getting your après on. The following are some of my favourite spots in Whistler to grab a bevy and unwind.

  • Longhorn Saloon: This might be my fav après anywhere. The location of this bar is absolutely perfect. Their patio’s view is of the mountains so you can watch all the skiers and boarders. Grab a beer, head outside, and enjoy the sunshine and live music. Just beware, the patio fills up fast. Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 2.44.17 PM
  • Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill: Also known as GLC, this is another prime real estate spot. Located below the GLC lift you get a perfect view. Their patio is open all year round so you can enjoy some fresh air while enjoying beers with friends.
  • Merlins: I have never seen a place like this before. It is famous for table top dancing and their insane nacho platters. Watch the game while enjoying a bevy. They also offer karaoke nights.

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Whether you are going for the WSSF, a ski weekend, or just a little getaway, Whistler is a magical place. I fell in love with the laid back vibe, beautiful views, and challenging slopes. I highly recommend a visit. I would also love to hear any suggestions of places I should check out there next time.

Can’t wait to share the next place I go M.I.A

xo

Mia