Savannah Stopover Survival Guide – updated 2017 version

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Happy Stopover! One of my favorite musical weekends of the year is upon us again. You already bought your tickets, right? I wrote this festival survival guide last year, but I think it may be helpful again this year. I’m changing the year specific stuff, but the basics of having fun don’t change a lot from year to year.

Which, come to think of it, is a good place to start….

1.) Have fun. Seriously, if you’re not having a good time, you’re doing it wrong. So, ditch your annoying friend, or sober up, or have a drink…..wait, actually just read on.

2.) Be cool. Only slightly less important than having fun is letting everyone else have fun. Be patient, don’t get liability-to-your-friends drunk, don’t talk over quiet bands, you know, don’t be a dick.

3.) Wear comfortable shoes. Hell, comfortable clothes in general. I know you want to look hot, or badass, or whatever, but you’re going to be walking a lot, or at least on your feet for a long time, and sore feet will suck the life out of a party. You might want to throw a rain jacket and warmer clothes in the car/hotel/bag too, because you never know.

4.) Earplugs. Earplugs. Earplugs. Even if they’re just in case. Trust the guy who’s seen a couple thousand bands and whose ears will ring 24/7/365 for the rest of his life, barring serious advances in the treatment of tinnitus. Seriously, earplugs.

5.) Hydrate. Duh. Yes, beer is a liquid, but a water here and there will make things much, much, much better for you tomorrow. This is maybe Adult Drinking 101. Also on the subject of Adulting…

6.) Practice hygiene. Like, on every level. Germ killing is important, but so is not smelling so bad that it is a problem for other festival goers. Yeah, I get it, you like weed and don’t like The Man, but c’mon people, this is a society we are living in here. Do your part and put on some deodorant.

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7.) Make a schedule. Listen to the Stopover playlist and note what you like. Put it on a schedule. Have a plan. That being said….

8.) If you don’t like an act, leave. Pour your beer in a to go cup and go find something that you dig. Hey! now might be a good time to…

9.) Eat. Look, I know you don’t want to miss anything, but schedule some time to put something in your piehole. You need energy and something to soak up the drinks, Savannah has tons of great restaurants, so head to your favorite eatery and eat. Adult Drinking 102. Pro Tip: Walk into Vinnies with cash in hand, go to register, order a “cold slice”. It’s cheese pizza, no toppings, if they’re busy it’s hot, and even if it’s room temperature it’s awesome. Pay them. Tip. It’s a couple bucks and they pretty much hand it to you directly. Now get out of the way. You missed nothing. Another good way to miss nothing…

10.) Follow Stopover on Twitter. You’ll find out about secret shows, schedule changes and the like. On the same kind of note…

11.) Download the Stopover app. (Yeah, it says 2016, but it updates to this year, I promise.) It will help you deal with the schedule and give you a map and refresh your memory on which band was which and generally make your life easier. Unless your phone dies. Which brings me to…

12.) Put a paper schedule in your pocket. Fold it up, you won’t even know it’s there…until your phone dies. On the other hand, and contrary to preceding advice…

13.) No schedule, no problem. Okay, if you’re not Type A, just venue bouncing will make for a very fun, random, discovery filled weekend. Venues are easy walking distance apart and because it’s Savannah, you avoid this classic scenario…Walk into venue. Buy beer. Realize band sucks/is not your thing/your friends are somewhere else/that one jerk you met on Tinder is there/whatever. Have to chug beer/throw out beer/tolerate sucky band. Nope, not in the Hostess City. Pour that bad boy in a readily available to go cup and bounce. Wait, back up a little. You did remember to….

14.) Tip. Yes, even the big, scary, tattooed guys. Actually, especially the big, scary, tattooed guys. They deserve it for dealing with you, and, as a bonus, it will help get you a drink more quickly next time. Maybe. Drinking 103. While you’re supporting your local drink slinger…

15.) Shop local. There’s a ton of businesses downtown that are rad and are worth checking out while you’re down there, but you knew that already, right? Speaking of locals…

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16.) Support the local bands. I’ve seen every local band playing except one and they are all worth seeing. Many are playing early or in a time slot against big bands, so they’ll appreciate you showing up.

17.) Get some sleep. You’re going to need it for tomorrow.

18.) Check out the special events. They all look killer. Opening night? Killer. Band Poster Exhibition? Killer. Stopover in the Yard @ The Grey? Killer and delicious. Secret shows? I like shows. I like secrets. So, killer.

19.) Stay sober. Yeah, I said it. I do it all the time. Clarity is awesome. Listen to music, watch other people being idiots, wake up in the morning feeling like a human being. Win/win. Seriously. Or…

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20.) Get drunk. It’s Savannah. It’s a music festival. Have some beverages. As long as you pretty much follow the other advice, it’s cool. Pace yourself, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Oh, and yeah, EVERYONE has a camera with them now, so don’t be a dumbass, because chances are good your idiocy will be preserved for the ages. Speaking of which…

21.) Smile. Yeah, I hate when people tell me to smile, too, but chances are good you’re going to end up in photos, so you know, smile. Unless you can pull off Blue Steel or Magnum, then you should probably go with one of those.

22.) Dance. I look like an idiot dancing. But you should dance. Dance like no one is watching (but they are. They TOTALLY are.).

23.) Keep your ear to the ground. Not literally. That’s weird. You might find out about some cool weirdness or goings on. Who knows…an impromptu acoustic set in the artist lounge or William Tyler playing by the food trucks…you never know.

24.) Take friends. Nothing better than a tight group of your best homies/bros/buddies/girlfriends/fraaands making lifetime memories together. Just don’t take stupid selfies against the stage while the band is playing. For real. No friends? What’s wrong with you? Uh, sorry, I mean…

25.) Make new friends. I have made tons of friends just showing up and being willing to converse/interact with other people and, you know, being a reasonable human.

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26.) Have a plan for getting home. As in don’t drink and drive. Wait, maybe this is Adult Drinking 101. Have a D.D.. Summon a probably not a serial shooter Uber driver. Walk. Pedicab. Teleport. Whatever. Or, potentially better yet…

27.) Get a room. I used to go home between each day, but a couple years ago got a hotel room for a night. A year later, a couple nights in a hotel. The next year we rented a house through Lucky Savannah. This year, we VRBO’ed a place right in the middle of the action. Expensive? Not split between a bunch of friends, and it certainly changed the game. It went from concerts on successive nights to a three day music vacation. Oh, and on that note…

28.) Take Friday off. You know, if you can swing it. I mean, sure, you gots to pay the bills, but not having to deal with customers, clients or bosses the next day makes for a much more enjoyable night. Oh, you’re living it up with a room and taking time off? May as well…

29.) Go VIP. Too late this year, but I think it’s worth it if you have the coin next year. Swag bag, access to everything, awesome VIP lounge. Look at you, living the dream.

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