So here’s the thing, I used to not want to go to concerts, festivals or see artists in other countries. I didn’t like the idea of a gig eating into my travel time, my sightseeing time, my limited time to see absolutely everything. Or even worse, a festival over multiple days. Multiple days! A whole weekend, how will I ever see everything?! Perhaps this stemmed from when we used to travel to places within England and Europe for roller derby to play games – we’d fly in, usually on the cheapest red eye flight, play the game, after party, then fly home pretty pronto the following day and miss out on seeing a lot of the place we were in. The derby was ace, the lack of exploring was not but going abroad to play sport is very different to going to festivals abroad.
Plus the beauty of life is that minds change.
Mine changed last year when Route 91 Harvest Festival decided to have Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan and Toby Keith headline their three day festival. BRAD PAISLEY. IN VEGAS. You know in Home Alone when they show the cartoon Grinch with a big grin? That was my face. Plus this was a festival a friend had gone to the previous year and said was awesome. I decided that I would get a festival pass and if something came up and I couldn’t go, well that was ok too. I have been to Vegas before so I wasn’t too bothered about spending too much time there but took some tips from my parents who had been there (not their first time either) a few months previous on their Route 66 drive. After speaking to Blaze and giving her the option of coming with me and also choosing where we traveled to after Vegas, it was all planned. (Basically I said, I want to stay in Excalibur and if we went to LA, we visit Disneyland!) She took the deal and years and years after my first trip to Las Vegas I finally got to stay in the Excalibur castle like I’d always wanted to.
I did also chose Excalibur as it was one of the closest to the Festival itself and upgraded to the Royal Tower, which turned out to be a brilliant idea because we could see and hear the festival from our room and only had a ten minute walk back to our room instead of messing about with shuttles!
The absolute best thing about going to Route 91 Harvest Festival in particular though, is location. It is right at the end of the Strip. This means that when the sun is setting near the end of the night, you get to watch the sunset over Luxor and the other hotels on the Strip. It’s absolutely incredible and one of the memories I will never truly forget, definitely making going to festivals abroad worth it! And later when the headliner is on, you just have to turn around and in the dark of the night, the lights of the Strip stretch on right in front of you. It’s magical.
After attending Route 91 in Vegas, I can definitely see why people choose to go to festivals abroad. Some of it is down to line up, I get that, but you can easily add in a few days sightseeing and since this festival didn’t start until nearly 2pm each day, we even fitted in some pool time and a birthday lunch at Zeffirino in The Venetian. I absolutely loved it and would definitely do it again. In fact Brad Paisley is playing an amusement park in Sweden in the July and a few days in the Swedish sunshine, listening to one of my favourite artists is too hard to resist – oops!
- I would definitely recommend if your prime reason for visiting somewhere is for an event, pick somewhere close to the event then deal with sightseeing etc out from there. I know it sounds obvious but after the festival I was super grateful to just walk across the road and already be in my hotel. (If you are going to Vegas, there is a bus called the Deuce that runs up and down the Strip so we had no issues with location.)
- If the cost of the festival itself is expensive, ask if they do payment plans. A lot of US country festivals offer payment plans if you book your pass before a certain date.
- See if you can get a discount on nearby hotels when you book your festival pass, thus saving you money and getting you a hotel near the action. Win, win!
- Plan, plan, plan. This is the only way you’ll get to see everything you want to at both the festival and the city you are in. I prioritised the Mob Museum and High Roller (the big wheel, like the London Eye) on our free day before the festival started as I knew it would take a while and then did other smaller things in the mornings before the festival.
- Check their rules for what you can take into the festival, rules abroad may be different to what you are used to at home.
- Enjoy yourself! Don’t stress about missing things, just enjoy the experience and creating lasting memories.
Have you been to a festival abroad? What would you recommend?