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10 Things You Shouldn’t Do at a Country Music Festival

Stagecoach Festival Moustache Cheers
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for Stagecoach

It won’t be long before we’re headed into spring and summer, and that means it’ll soon be the season for country music festivals! There’s nothing else that’s quite as much fun as planning a nice road trip with your friends or family, and then getting to hang out for several days of fun, sun and partying, all while getting to see a bunch of your favorite country music stars perform up close and personal.

But while there’s nothing wrong with a little drinking, dancing — and maybe even romancing — at this type of event, it’s also the kind of loose environment that lends itself to embarrassing yourself way too easily. In order to be better prepared, take a look at our list of the 10 Things You Shouldn’t Do at a Country Music Festival — and if you don’t, then don’t say we didn’t try to warn you when those Facebook pictures keep coming back to haunt you.


Lynyrd Skynyrd
Geoff Burke, Getty Images
10

Yell 'Free Bird!'

 
 

We know, Skynyrd rocks! Nobody's disagreeing with that. But the whole thing where some drunken fool yells "Free Bird!" at every concert on Earth (even at the symphony) has been done to death and back. It probably isn't funny to the performers trying to do their work on stage, and Lord knows your fellow festival-goers are going to think you're an idiot, so don't do it. Unless, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd happen to be appearing at the festival -- but even those guys are probably sick of it by now.

 
Toby Keith Backstage
Rick Diamond, Getty Images for Country Thunder
9

Believe a Guy Who Says He Can Get You Backstage

 
 

Yeah, sure he can. That's why he's standing there talking to you, instead of hanging out with Toby Keith in the dressing room right now. Look, whatever this guy's angle is -- he's probably some wannabe trying to impress you -- taking his word is a good way to end up wandering around near the dumpsters -- or even worse, trying to explain to a skeptical security guard why you're standing near the backstage door without the proper pass. And you know those guys are probably armed.

 
Plastic Cowboy Hat
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images for Stagecoach
8

Wear a Plastic Cowboy Hat

 
 

This also goes for American flag tube tops, huge belt buckles, overly decorative boots and various and sundry other tacky apparel items. Here's a well-kept secret: country stars only wear that stuff in videos or onstage, not in person. It's costuming, and when you wear it, it doesn't make you look cool -- it makes you look like you just bought your entire wardrobe at a Nashville tourist trap. And while we're on the subject, belly shirts really aren't for everyone. Do everyone (including yourself) a favor and take a quick look in the mirror before you come out to the festival grounds.

 
Festival Embrace
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images for Stagecoach
7

Make Out in Public

 
 

Ewww! It's all well and good that you love your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend. That's cool. After all, the mix of good country music and drinking is bound to put somebody in the mood for a little loving. We don't even care if you want to hang all over some random stranger you just met. That's all good -- but please, not right out in public. That's kinda why they put generally put these things on right near a bunch of accommodations. There's bound to be a Motel 6 handy, or a tent -- something. If you really can't get a room, the least you can do out of common courtesy is take it back to the RV.

 
Yelling
Spencer Platt, Getty Images
6

Fight With Your Significant Other

 
 

The only thing worse than having to watch you sucking face is to overhear your personal drama while we're trying to get our groove on to some great live country music. Nobody else cares about your home life. Things are stressful, and sometimes you lose your patience with that special someone over a late truck payment, or forgetting to feed the dog, or making eyes at that pretty young waitress at the Waffle House. That's normal -- but it's your problem. We don't want to hear you screaming about your kids, bills or (especially) your unrewarding sex life -- so please, keep it at home.

 
Food on a Stick
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
5

Eat Too Many Things on a Stick

 
 

We get it. Everything's better when it's on a stick -- only some kind of fool would dispute that! But here's the thing: you've got to pace yourself. It's a three-day festival -- you've gotĀ  to try to limit yourself to one stick-ified item per day. Like, chicken on a stick on Friday, lasagna on a stick on Saturday, and that newfangled pepperoni pizza with taco beef, cheese and sour cream on a stick on Sunday. You're just really pushing your luck if you eat all of that too close together. Breaking it up with a few leafy greens might not hurt anything, either. Yeah, we know there's a medical tent on-site -- but that doesn't mean you have to avail yourself of its services.

 
Stagecoach Festival Cheers
Karl Walter, Getty Images
4

Drink Too Much

 
 

If you watch the nightly news, you'll notice that almost every single bad thing that happens in the world ends with the tag line, "Alcohol may have been involved." You can avoid literally every other single thing on this list if you don't drink too much at a country music festival. If you do choose to overindulge, don't blame us when you yell "Free Bird!" after wandering around near the dumpsters wearing a plastic cowboy hat, then make out with your significant other in public before launching into some huge fight about how you've eaten too many foods on a stick. Consider yourself warned.

 
Portable Toilets
Matt Cardy, Getty Images
3

Use the Port-a-Potties at the End of the Day

 
 

Again, ewww. We don't want to get too graphic here, but suffice it to say this seems like a really, really bad idea for a wide variety of reasons. Hey, you see that guy who's been drinking too much all day, alternately making out and fighting with his wife, and eating chicken on a stick non-stop? Well, he's been hittingĀ  the Port-a-Johns all day. Hard. So you might wanna hold it until you get back to the motel -- or in the absence of that, peeing on the side of the road sounds pretty good right about now.

 
Nobama
Alex Wong, Getty Images
2

Wear Your Obama 2012 'Forward' T-Shirt

 
 

Okay, he's the duly-elected President of the United States and all, but that doesn't change the fact that President Obama is really unpopular among the country music fanbase. Though he has his supporters (like Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley), Obama inspires such dislike in country fans that it's almost as if he personally went around stepping on people's blue suede shoes or something. Look, you can do whatever you want, but if you wear an Obama t-shirt to a country music festival, you're just asking for a butt-kicking -- probably delivered courtesy of some angry Hank Jr. fan.

 
Willie Nelson
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images
1

Eat Any of Willie Nelson's Brownies

 
 

Willie Nelson has never made any big secret of his fondness for herbal remedies -- he even recently released a song titled 'Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.' Somehow, we suspect his pre-show relaxation ritual doesn't center around yoga, though it almost certainly involves some deep breathing exercises. So if you see a tray of delectable-looking brownies in his dressing room, they may very well be his own "special recipe." You might be better off staying away... before you end like Toby Keith, who once sang, "The last words that I spoke before they tucked me in / Was I'll never smoke weed with Willie again."

 

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