For some of us, the idea of going to a music festival solo is our worst nightmare. Who would we dance with? Would it be the same without a gang of mates to camp with? The truth is, in today's society, we are constantly surrounded by people and of us never spend any time on our own. But how are we supposed to know who we really are when we're constantly defined by the people we surround ourselves with? Music festivals are one of the few places that offer total escapism to be genuinely ourselves and meet likeminded souls. So it actually would be the perfect place to dive into solo life and make new connections along the way.
I'll hold my hands up and admit, before this month, I had never been to a music festival alone despite travelling the world solo. I had always previously made plans to meet friends or had arrived with a group of mates. However, last year after seeing all the incredible photos and videos of Envision Festival in Costa Rica, I knew I had to make sure I was at the 10 year anniversary celebration in 2020. Before I had even booked my trip to Central and South America, I had booked my festival ticket and for the first time ever, I didn't invite anyone I knew to join me.
Why did I go to a music festival alone?
You guys all know I'm a pretty independent woman, but after a pretty tough year last year, I really wanted to remind myself of why I love being on my own. Solo travel has done so much for me over the years and has really rescued me in so many ways. My love of music festivals is clear from the countless events I've attended over the years and I love nothing more than losing myself in the creativity and music of a four day event. So it seemed a perfect combination to spend time in a country I've always dreamed of visiting and to get to go to such an epic event.
- Garorock Festival & why you should do a festival abroad
- Kicking off festival season with Debenhams at Wireless
- Hamburg festival MS Dockville celebrates art and music
What was it like to go to a music festival alone?
What is Envision Festival like?
Envision Festival is a explosion of creativity, freethinking, yoga and arts mixed with a top line-up of international electronic DJs. Nestled between the Costa Rican beach and jungle, it's bursting with energy and love, and welcomes everyone, no matter where they come from, or where they've been. It's the most diverse festival I have ever attended, with people from all over the world, and brings a real magic to the universe. Expect total immersion in music, art, yoga, surfing, incredible talks and inspiring workshops. The festival is suitable for families and has a real culture of long-time festival goers who have supported the event from day 1. This year Envision celebrated its 10-year anniversary with the biggest and best yet event, which spanned from 4-7 days and beyond.
Where did I stay?
Knowing some people who attended the festival last year and camped, I was pre-warned about the crazy humidity and heat in Uvita. So I decided to book accommodation at nearby Yubarta Lodge. It offers private rooms, dorms and air conditioning, plus a swimming pool, kitchen and chill out areas just a 7 minute drive from the festival entrance. I was really glad to have booked accommodation – it meant I could cook food for myself, shower and have time away from the festival grounds. Those I knew who camped were stuck with the extra expense of showers (with no water pressure) and food costs inside the festival during the week. I also knew a lot of people who had booked accommodation through Airbnb if they had larger groups which is a also a great option.
How did I meet people?
This was super easy and I want to reassure anyone who is thinking of going to a festival alone. Before I had even left Nicaragua, I had met loads of people who were travelling to the festival the following week. We all made friends and swapped contact details so we could meet up while at the event. When I arrived in San José and caught the bus to Uvita, I met another load of people on the bus who were also going to the festival. And again, when I arrived at my hostel, it was full of festival-goers who became my main festival crew for the week. It's so easy to meet people, especially when you are on your own. All it takes is a friendly smile and a love for chatting to like-minded souls.
Check out this article: Tops tips for every solo travel situation
- Stay in hostels or shared accommodations and hang out in public areas to meet new people
- Join Facebook groups or social media groups for events/travel and join meet-ups
- Smile and don't be afraid to make the first move to break the ice
How did I get to/from the festival?
Travel between the festival and the accommodation as super easy and not too expensive thanks to a combination of Uber, taxis and lifts with friends who were driving. The max I was charged was around 10,000c for a late-night taxi back alone which is around £13.
How did I find out where to go?
This one was super easy – I was very impressed with Envision Festival and how well organised it was. From the clear signposting and easy entrance thanks to online tickets and their RFID scanner wristbands for drink/food payments. To the extremely impressive app which gave the full schedule, maps, information about shuttles and even a schedule planner where you could find out more details of each performer and add it to your personal schedule for a reminder on your phone. It was much better than other festivals I have previously attended because not only was it well organised but it was super small at just 7-9,000 people, which meant everything was close by and easy to find.
10 reasons why you should go to a music festival solo:
Don't miss out because no-one can come with you
My number one reason and the reason why I decided to travel solo. I could have waited for a friend to decide to come with me, but then I could have been waiting a lifetime. Why should I wait and why should you? Don't miss out on the festival, or the trip of a lifetime, just because no-one else can afford the time or the money for it.
It's not as lonely as you think
I didn't feel lonely once during the festival, before or after it. Being alone doesn't mean being lonely – there's a big difference. If anything, being alone gives you the energy, time and space to meet countless other people and it can actually be hard to get time alone!
Meet new people and like-minded souls
If you're always with a group of mates, how do you expect to meet new people? A festival is the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded souls from around the world and to connect with people. Take the opportunity like I did and you'll make countless friends for life. I ended up travelling across the country with a group of friends I met at the festival and have planned to meet up with them later on in South America!
Experience the festival YOUR way
I know as well as anyone, going to a festival with a group of mates can be lots of fun. But it can also mean having to constantly compromise on which stage you dance at, which acts you see and it can mean not getting to see some of the talks or experience the yoga sessions you want to. But why compromise? You've paid a lot of money to be there, so you should be free to do what you most desire. Going solo means you get to experience the talks, the sunsets, the music and anything else entirely solo if you prefer.
Be free to move between groups of friends
The beauty of going to an event solo is that you have no ties to the people you meet. While it can be lovely to meet groups and hang out with them, it can also be nice to go off and do your own thing. So why not take advantage of this and flit between the various groups of friends you meet – join some at a stage when you want to dance, or head for food or yoga with others whenever you fancy. It can be a great way to experience a festival.
Be the person you really are
So many of us spend all of our time surrounded by people – friends, family, partners. It can be difficult to really be yourself, or to truly know yourself. Taking time on your own is an important part of life and getting to know yourself. A festival is the perfect place to really be yourself. To experiment with the person you want to be. Whether that's musically, spiritually, mentally or in any other capacity.
Try something new
Whether this is purely going to the festival alone. Or you want to try something completely new to you. While at the festival, I took some time out to attend talks on topics completely new to me. It was amazing to experience these alone. I could really try and further my knowledge without the distraction of new friends, or anyone who wasn't into it. For those who find doing this intimidating. It can be a great way to release you from any internal judgement as well.
Grow your confidence
If you're new to solo life, solo travel or solo festivals. Attending a festival alone can be a great introduction to solo life. It's a less intimidating experience than booking a flight across the world. You can easily go to a festival on home turf. If you're in need of a boost, why not challenge yourself to try something new? Watch your confidence soar as you make new friends and grow your world.
Work at a festival
Another great way to do it is to score a festival ticket by working at the event. I know loads of people who do this regularly and will work as performers, stage builders, pot washers, bar staff and even masseuses. It means getting a free or discounted ticket in exchange for a few hours work each day. It also means you have a ready made crew of friends on the staff.
Because it could be the start of something incredible
One thing I really love about going to a music festival, is the potential. You meet so many incredible people, experience things that really open your mind to new ways of thinking and living. It's such a welcoming and inviting space for creativity and developing ideas. Over the years, music festivals have inspired huge changes in my life by educating me on important issues. They have brought me together with wonderful humans who inspire me daily and remain amazing friends several years later. Go to a music festival solo because it could be the making of you and could change your life. You never know what you could be missing out on.
Have you been to a music festival solo? Would you do it? What's your favourite music festival?