So you’re on your way down to Philly to spend Labor Day weekend enjoying the musical goodies at the 2018 Made in America festival. Awesome. Now it’s time to figure out how to get there, what to bring, where to stay, and how to have the most fun you could possibly have. Don’t worry, in this survival guide we’ve got you covered with all the information you’ll need to make the most of the two-day fest.
GETTING TO PHILLY
If you’re already in another major east coast city like New York, Washington D.C., or Boston, all you really need to do is hop on a train or bus. New Yorkers can get to Philly on New Jersey Transit/SEPTA in under three hours for less than $50 round trip. Trains take you from New York’s Penn Station to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, which is only a 20-minute, one-mile walk from the festival grounds.
MiA-goers looking for a quicker trip from NYC can hop on Amtrak and arrive in less than two hours, but prices vary significantly depending on time of departure and ticket-type.
Driving is another option, but note that traffic on the Northeast corridor’s major highways (like I-95) can be very heavy on summer holiday weekends. Parking near the festival will be a challenge, but you should be able to find street parking or a parking lot or garage not too far away. Take a subway, taxi, or Uber/Lyft to the fest from there if you don’t luck out with a nearby spot.
For those coming from farther away, flying will be the way to go. The nearest airport is Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), which is about seven miles from the center of the city. Regional rail (SEPTA) is $8-9, but you can also take a taxi or bus to the city.
GETTING AROUND PHILLY
Once you arrive in Philadelphia, it’s very easy to get around on foot, or by taxi and public transportation. The local subway/regional rail/trolley system, operated by SEPTA, is amping up service on the Broad Street and Market-Frankford subway lines during the festival, and they’re extending the late-night schedule on some of the regional rail lines. All of the info you need about the subway and regional rail system is on SEPTA’s website.
WHAT TO WEAR
It may be September, but it’s not fall yet. So yes, that means your summer festival fashion game still applies. Looking for ideas? Check out our photo gallery of what some of the most fashionable artists at Lollapalooza wore this year. As of press time, the weekend forecast for Philadelphia calls for sunny days in the upper 80s, with nightly lows in the mid 60s—go ahead and wear shorts or a tank top, but you might want to bring something with sleeves for those sets after dark.
WHAT TO PACK
Bringing along a few festival survival essentials will have a huge impact on how comfortable you are. When you’re not distracted by aching feet, a phone that’s not charged, or wet stuff, it’s so much easier to enjoy the music, your friends, and the scene. After you check out what the festival doesn’t allow (it’s in the festival's official FAQ — no backpacks, glowsticks, pets, or frisbees btw), do bring along some of these:
• A bag but NOT a backpack - You need something to hold all your stuff at the festival, but backpacks bigger than 12”x12” aren’t allowed, so think small.
• Comfortable shoes - Flip-flops and heels might look cute, but the second or third time someone in that giant field of people steps on your foot, you won’t be happy. Broken-in sneakers or boots are a great choice since you’ll be standing, walking, and dancing for several hours each day. New shoes? Just say no. This probably isn’t the time to find out that that new pair of kicks gives you blisters.
• Poncho - A simple $2 poncho from your local drug store is worth its weight in gold on the off-chance it rains this year. It takes up almost no space at all, and even if it doesn’t rain, it doubles as something to sit on in the grass.
• Extra socks - There are a thousand ways your feet will thank you when you have the option to whip on a clean pair of socks during the festival. Sweaty, achy, soggy feet? Clean, cushiony socks will help.
• Hand sanitizer - Because eating with your hands and going to the bathroom at festivals are always messy, and often done one right after the other.
• Phone charger - Or better yet, a charging case or portable battery. You will definitely be using your phone more than on the average day to find your friends, take pictures, and update your various statuses, and you will need to recharge sooner than you think. To preserve battery life and delay this inevitable fact, consider dimming your screen, quitting apps you’re not actively using, and turning off notfications for things that aren’t urgent.
• Earplugs - It’s louder than you think, especially if you plan to go up close to the stage for any of the acts. Ringing ears and hearing loss are not fun and both of those things can happen.
• Water - You can bring in factory sealed water bottles that are up to one liter in size. Free filtered water is available onsite, so bring an empty bottle to fill up, too.
• A light jacket, long sleeves, or hoodie - It’s going down into the 60s at night.
MAXIMIZE YOUR FUN
• Make a Plan - Spend a few minutes with the line-up before you head to the festival so you don’t accidentally miss any artist you really want to see. Also, you’ll thank yourself for taking a few minutes to pick out a place and a couple of strategic times to meet up with your friends in case your phone dies or you have trouble getting a signal.
• Break Your Plan - Because you’re not a robot, feel free to change up your game plan. So what, you thought you wanted to see that one band but then someone tipped you off about a different act playing at the same time? Go for it. Festivals are one of the best chances to discover great music you might never have otherwise heard. And hey, it’s hard to guess when you’ll get so hungry, you’ll want to take time out to eat.
• Chill When It’s Hottest - The doors open at noon each day, which means a hot, hot sun glaring down for hours. If you’re not into that, think about going later in the day. If you do go earlier, remember that shade, a slower pace, sunscreen and water are your friends.
• Drink Water Often – Heat stroke and dehydration are sneaky and water is the antidote.
• Eat Well — Made in America has several food options, and you'll be there for up to 10 hours per day, so make sure you keep yourself fueled. It takes a lot of energy to walk from stage to stage, dance, and absorb all the sights and sounds.
• Be Prepared - Stick a printed-out note into both your wallet and phone case with your name and the contact number of someone you trust. If you lose your phone, a good Samaritan can just call that number and the friend you listed will find you. (You made a meet-up plan, remember?) If anything else awful happens to you, people trying to help will know who you are and who to call.
• Put the Phone Down - Of course you’ll take pictures and post to Twitter/ Facebook/ Insta/ Tumblr/ wherever, but don’t forget to take some time to watch, listen, and enjoy with the best computers you have: your own senses.