I look forward to big music festivals every summer. Now that I am getting older, I find that VIP service is the only way for me to roll. I’m a little old for the mosh pit, but I still prefer to get in close for some great live performances. Several years ago, events like Lollapalloza integrated a VIP experience to the festival experience and now it seems to be standard at most large concerts and festivals. Many of the perks are obvious, premium seating and view, unlimited food and drinks, sometimes air-conditioned tents to escape the heat, deluxe air-conditioned bathrooms, and of course spa services.
My hesitation to use these services due to my germaphobic mentality is usually overridden by alcohol. In more sober moments I have thought about what is being offered, and I can say I feel pretty good about the cleanliness of most of these spa services. Here is what you want to look for…
1) A giant vat of hand sanitizer. Usually services are provided backstage or in a tent, preferably in a more quiet area. Bathrooms and running water are not typically a feature of these mobile spas. Also, check that the therapist uses sanitizer on their hands between guests. If no care is taken to make the area appear as clean as possible, skip it, and move on to the beer garden.
2) Paper towels. Typically used in the face cradle of chair massage or massage table to provide additional cleanliness. Hauling in towels and sheets does not usually happen. Watch the therapist. If they sanitize and wipe down the massage chair and use new paper towels for the face cradle between every guest, that is a good sign.
3) Washable surface. It would be my preference to be on a wipeable mat vs. a sheet that has seen one too many festival goers.
4) Appointment times. Who wants to miss the show waiting an hour or two for a “free” 15 minute massage? Get on a list, or move on, unless the chair is empty and ready to roll. Set an alarm on your phone if you think you may forget.
5) Pick treatments times in the morning versus afternoon. Therapists usually work in shifts, so you want to catch one at the begining of the shift. Heat is usually a factor at these outdoor venues so cooler temperatures in the morning or late evening make for a better treatment experience. Hot, sweaty, sticky clothes in the afternoon are not optimal for a great experience.
I wish every festival massage was set up like this tent that was at Floyd Yoga Jam.
Use sunscreen daily and skip the massage if your skin is too damaged from the sun.
Don’t forget to tip! If you received a great service, show some love. Many times these folks are voluntold by their spa or massage school to work the event and they have to deal with some ungrateful and many overserved guests. I like to tip prior to the service. I find that I get a better, and usually longer, service rather than the tired therapist who phones it in. If this is a three-day festival and you are sleeping in a tent, these people are life savers. You may want to repeat treatments daily, so asking a good therapist when they will return is a smart idea. They may just rebook you on the spot.
If you are day drinking, don’t forget to include water in the mix. Try to alternate between adult beverages and water or other non-alcoholic caffeine-free beverages to stay hydrated.