Festivals are one of the most reliable social functions we have. Just think about all the friends you’ve made thanks to your shared taste in great music. Now, if you’re at an entire festival with fans who also love everything you love, why wouldn’t you want to make friends in the pit?
But I won’t lie to you. Being down in the weeds during a show is not the best environment for everyone to make friends. That’s why the best place to socialise are the rest areas. For example, Lipton Iced Tea has set up its Refresh Runway and is slinging free iced tea at this years Laneway Festival, so people can chat with other people at the festival and cool down at the same time.
But of course, if you’re shy, talking to strangers at a festival can be anxiety-inducing. But the good news is, most people at festivals want to talk and meet other people, and to vibe with their fellow music-heads.
Don’t take it just from me though. Here are some success stories from people who have made friends in the pit, and how they made them.
Everyone at the festival is your friend already. They’re just waiting for you to say, “Hi.”
Go to the artists you want to see the most. When they’re playing, you’ll be surrounded by people who love the same artist as you, or at least are interested in them. That alone is like two hours of conversation.
Compliment people! If someone’s wearing a snazzy outfit, just tell them you think their outfit is nice, and from there you can keep the convo going.
Nothing made me more friends than my hand-held fan. Especially for those who were getting really hot. I would fan them and introduce myself. Before I knew it we were hugging and dancing.
Being nice goes a long way! Give someone the stink face on that nasty drop and include them. Festivals are one of the few places on earth I feel it’s impossible not to make friends.
You definitely wanna be tactful when you try to make friends. If it’s in the middle of a set and you start talking to someone, you’re probably not going to get a good reaction distracting people mid-song. But if it’s in line for merch, or in between bands coming on, that’s your best bet to start talking to people. Seek out other solo concertgoers, but also people wearing a different band shirt, and strike up a convo about that band.
Not strictly a festival but I spontaneously arranged a monthly ‘pie club meetup’ with some strangers a friend and I met on the d-floor. We put the event in everyone’s calendars while we were still dancing and then had zero contact before meeting up a month later at the designated pub to try the pies.
Sharing things has been my go-to icebreaker for making friends at a festival. If it’s a hot day, I’ll offer people next to me my fan, or a bit of food mid-set as well. No one is gonna turn down chips in the middle of a pit.
I’ve also seen people hand out pins, sunglasses even candy and that seems to work.
I was at a show recently and someone randomly tapped me on the shoulder between bands and asked me what I thought of the set. We chatted for a few minutes, and eventually, other people joined in on the convo. We chatted until the next band and stuck together for the rest of the show.
Participate! If you wanna make friends in the pit, you have to participate in pit culture. Dance with people, wear a great costume, compliment people. Tell someone you like their dancing, how they’ve done their make-up, the shirt they’re wearing, anything. Just sticking around an area and keeping up good vibes always draws people to you, and boosts your mood as well.
Just enjoying your time there solo helps bring it out of other people.
If you’re keen to hit up a good social spot outside of the pit at a festival, Lipton Iced Tea will be popping up at this year’s Laneway Festival and slinging free iced teas throughout the day to help you stay hydrated.