Going to Las Vegas music festivals: How college students plan outfits, finances and stage hopping

Kelsey Middleton gives tips on getting ready for a music festival in one of the main party destinations in the world.

The Life is Beautiful signature mural is where attendees capture pictures with friends. LIB takes place in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, mid September every year. Photo by Kelsey Middleton.

A Dedicated Group

They only come around a few times a year, but the loud music, bright lights and exotic fashion bring thousands to music festivals. Las Vegas is the center for entertainment and hosts festivals such as Life is Beautiful, iHeartRadio and the Electric Daisy Carnival.

Teenagers and young adults are a popular group of audience members who attend music festivals. College students seem to be the most dedicated when it comes to planning for these events that cost a couple of hundred dollars and aren’t always close in location.

Soaking up the sun, Grace Palliser, Susannah Muscott and Sami Garcia wait for the next artist to start performing on the single stage at the iHeartRadio Daytime Village. The iHeartRadio Daytime music festival is located on the Strip and occurs the same weekend as Life is Beautiful. Many people who are in Vegas attend both events. Photo courtesy of Grace Palliser.

Outfits

Planning on outfits to wear seems to be the biggest concern for attendees. Life is Beautiful is a very popular festival which is held in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a three-day event that is all outside during the month of September. Las Vegas is still pretty warm, so festival goers have to make sure and plan with the weather in mind.

“I was going with my best friend so we were trying to correlate our outfits,” Sami Garcia said. “So we started by thinking about the weather and the amount of people around us so we wanted to be kind of covered up so we don’t get sweat from other people on us. I ordered a tank top bando sort of shirt which didn’t come in time, so I went to Forever 21 and bought a pink glittery crop tank top. I already had black mom jeans to go with it. My friend wore black ripped shorts and a cheetah print cropped tee shirt. But we were still sweating with how hot it was. We both wore Vans to look good for pictures although our feet hurt very badly.”

Every music festival has a unique sense of style that goes with it. At Life is Beautiful, bright colors and crazy patterns are popular.

What Garcia wore to LIB is not something she would wear to other festivals such as iHeartRadio Daytime Stage or the Electric Daisy Carnival.

“I wore a black corset type tank top and blue jeans with Adidas shoes,” Palliser said. “I wore something that wasn’t super revealing compared to what I would wear at Life is Beautiful. Even when I was covered up, I got very badly burnt because it was so hot outside.”

iHeartRadio is known to be a more family friendly environment where people dress more casually. This is the complete opposite of EDC. There, the festival goers free themselves with eccentric rave clothing that barely covers skin. It is common to see people rolling on different drugs, head banging to music and sharing beaded bracelets called kanadi.

iHeartRadio on Twitter promotes the lineup of the festival and where to buy tickets. There are options for presale buying, general admission and VIP access. https://twitter.com/iHeartFestival/status/1405133304458747914?s=20&t=lhIWnG5O2kX5OtB6hbstwA

Finances

Besides planning on outfits to wear, getting the money to pay for tickets, transportation and a place to stay are also things college festival goers take into consideration. Some students have to work extra hours and pay attention to their savings in order to be able to go to a festival while others may have money already saved up. Another thing is parents sometimes pay for their kids expenses for these events, but not everyone has that option.

I was born and raised in Henderson, Nevada and am currently going to school at the University of Nevada, Reno. I attend Life is Beautiful and buy my own tickets with money that I have saved over the years. I do not have to worry about transportation costs or accommodations though. My parents like to pay for the flight and I stay at home since the festival is only a 20 minute drive from my house.

This is not the same for Susannah Muscott. Muscott lives in Folsom, California and is also attending UNR. She traveled down to Las Vegas from Reno to go to iHeartRadio with her roommates Grace Palliser and Sami Garcia. Muscott hitched a ride with Palliser and Garcia and they all split the gas money for the eight hour trip.

“I bought the tickets over summer and I was working at the time so I used that money to pay for the ticket,” Muscott said. “It didn’t really take out of my bank account that much and I used my friend’s presale credit card so it was a little cheaper. I stayed at Grace’s house for the weekend.”

EARTHGANG yelled to the crowd to start a mosh pit at the Bacardí stage. It is common to see people far away from the stage participating in the mosh pits since there is more room to spead out and move around. Photo by Kelsey Middleton.

Stage Hopping

The final thing that people do for multi-stage festivals is plan out which artists they will see.

At Life is Beautiful there are six stages where artists are all performing at the same time. I really had to plan out days ahead on where I was going to be at what time. The festivals usually put the bigger artists at the very end of the night. For example, last year, I had to pick between seeing Tame Impala or Megan Thee Stallion on Friday, Green Day or Illenium on Saturday, and A$AP Rocky or Billie Eilish on Sunday.

The time it takes to walk from stage to stage including the crowd, knowing if I want to be in the front or far away from the stage and finding time to eat and use the bathroom are all things to take into consideration too. The food is expensive and there are always super long lines so I suggest eating a huge meal before going. The bathrooms are porta potties that stink so badly, unless you have a VIP pass where it is a trailer bathroom that is nicer.

Most importantly is finding the time to take photos with your friends to show off your outfits. People usually do this at the beginning of the festival when their hair and outfits are fresh and not messed up. Photos are also taken during performances to get in the moment reactions.

Music festivals are a lot of fun but take effort to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. If you plan it out right, you will have a great time and want to keep going back to see amazing artists and have forever memories.

Reynolds Sandbox reporting by Kelsey Middleton

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Reynolds Sandbox

Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.