There's a lot to consider before you go to a music festival, but one of the biggest questions you should probably ask yourself before copping those three-day tickets is: am I too old for this? Since turning 30 a couple of years ago, I've been faced with this dilemma quite a few times, but while attending Outside Lands in San Francisco last year, it hit me: I'm probably nearing the end of my music festival days. Here are seven ways to know for sure, straight from someone who very recently realized that she is, in fact, getting too old for this sh*t.
- There are a good number of performers on the lineup you don't recognize or can't pronounce. After expressing interest in checking out a band called "Div," a friend and I were casually informed that they were actually pronounced "Dive." I decided in that moment that I was too old to see them, because I don't like being tricked.
- You can look around at any given time and be the only person reasonably dressed for the weather. This is because you A) had the common sense to check the weather before leaving the house and B) are old enough to know that running around in sneakers and covered in layers is more satisfying than running around in a tiny dress and covered in goosebumps. I had my days of prioritizing fashion over function, and they were a blast — but now I'm just too old for it.
- It doesn't matter if you're wearing your most comfortable shoes — your feet still hurt. You could be wearing Ugg boots. You could be wearing actual clouds. It doesn't matter! Your feet hurt, and they hurt a lot, and when did they start always hurting?
- You find ways to enjoy the music as far from the stage as possible. I gave up on being front row years ago, but these days it's like I don't care about being anywhere near the stage at all. I spent the entirety of The Knocks' Saturday afternoon set bopping along from roughly 1,000 feet away at a beautiful location called The Wine Club. I stayed posted up at the Back Wine miniature golf course with the ladies of Cannonball Wines and drank multiple glasses of their new Rosé. I could hear the music perfectly! And I wasn't being jostled by dozens of 20-somethings in flower crowns! It was an old gal's music festival dream!
- When I say "as far from the stage as possible," I'm not joking. You want to know how far away I stood to see Lionel Richie's performance on Sunday night? I was standing in my apartment, singing along to "Hello" while watching his set on a very high-quality live stream via the Outside Lands app. I brushed my teeth to "Endless Love" and shoulder shimmied to his closer, "All Night Long," while tucked into bed at a smooth 9:30 p.m. And you want to know where I WASN'T? I wasn't fighting a crowd of strangers just to get out of the park and into a Lyft, nor was I cursing myself for getting home "way too late."
- Trying to meet up with friends is a nightmare. I overheard one girl on the phone asking her friend if she was "standing near the balloon or the person holding the balloon" because (and I quote), "the balloon keeps moving." I've spent many a music festival happily watching performances by myself because looking for people was too much damn work, and you just can't always trust standing near those totems, you know? After all, they move around.
- Everything bugs you, and so does everyone. No matter what's happening, it's annoying. Why is this person standing so close to me? Why is this line so long? Why is this "shorter line" still SO LONG?! Then there's that moment when you've found the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy the show, only to be ambushed by a group of sloppy drunk frat boys whose only dance moves are moshing and grinding on innocent girls around them. It's too much. I'm too old.