Tips: How to Navigate NXNE

May 31, 2012 No comments
Written by Melody Lau

Photo by Andrija Dimitrijevic, courtesy NXNE

Festivals are always a challenge. There are many things to keep in mind like how to successfully venue hop or remembering to eat but we here at The Singing Lamb have collected a solid list of tips from our years of covering North By Northeast. This is a re-post of an old post we had on the previous site but with a few changes. Hopefully you can learn from our mistakes; see you out and about in a few weeks!

Heatstrokes and sunburns aren’t so cute when trying to attract the indie boys and girls.
Yonge-Dundas Square is undoubtedly one of the hot spots during NXNE…literally. Having spent my entire day there a few years ago, I began to sweat uncontrollably 10 minutes into the first band’s set. For fear of sunburns, heatstrokes or god forbid, a cute boy I liked seeing me drenched in not-so-sexy sweat, ducking into the Eaton Centre or Toronto Life Centre became an hourly pit stop for cooling off, smoothies and a general escape from the madness. Oh, and that cute boy? I don’t think he noticed the sweat…

Bring your phone charger with you.
Waiting to hear from ‘sources’ about the secret guest at the El Mocambo or Bovine Sex Club? Oh, don’t worry he/she will text me the guests in a few min…NO, MY PHONE! THE BATTERY’S DEAD! AH! Bring your charger. It’s an extra item to pack but it’s probably going to be one of the most valuable. Find an outlet to charge even if it’s a couple of minutes during a coffee break or quick dinner with friends. You need your phone for everything from checking Twitter and Facebook to finding friends in crowds, or even in my case offering up free fries in the middle of the night to hungry NXNE-ers. (Someone actually did run over immediately after receiving that text so yes, that actually works)

Zero dollars, handfuls of beer and burgers.
Although I missed out on all the daytime BBQ action last year, many others I knew fully took advantage of these sunny get-togethers at various rooftops and other locations for some free music and more importantly free food. I am staring at my paid food in disgust right now and every time I take out a bill for a beer, a little part of me dies.

Comfortable shoes.
A given. But also, sandals aren’t smart. Unless you like your feet covered in beer or being stomped over countless times. In which case, why didn’t you just go barefoot?

Travel in groups.
Saves you on the cab fare. And they’re especially a great ally if you suck with directions and/or are not from Toronto.

Travel alone.
You don’t have to constantly worry about another person and how slow they walk. You need to get to that show, damnit – stop window shopping! No, we don’t have time for street meat! No, that’s not a little lost puppy about to get hit by a car! Let’s go!! That puppy will survive!!!

Beware of the MMVAs.
Want to get to a venue on Queen Street on a Saturday night? Good luck. Every year, a good chunk of the street gets blocked off just for all the Justin Bieber fans waiting to get a glimpse of his swaggy-ness. Plan back-up routes or prepare to take a cab to avoid the madness.

Keep an open mind.
Some of my favourite shows this year ended up being ones I didn’t expect to like/care about. This just teaches you to approach festivals with an open mind. You never know when you’ll see your new favourite band!


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