Let me start off by saying I was afraid. Not as bad as my fear-of-sky-diving-afraid, but a bit apprehensive to attend a 3-day festival in a country I’ve never been to before without knowing a single soul in attendance.
It’s funny, seeing how I constantly travel solo and push everyone I know to do the same – you’d think I’d have no qualms about a festival. Especially since I’ve been to so many. But no no, I can assure you, I did. Who am I supposed to belt out the tunes with? Argue over wanting to see two artists at the same time? Get drunk with? Set up my tent with? Find the way home with?
My fear was completely unnecessary.
Making friends in Novi Sad was easy. Hell, even if I wanted to, I could’ve made dozens while I was still in Budapest airport. Lots of people there were also going to EXIT. But I was too tired/hungover from my Berlin adventures to bother before we crossed the border into Serbia.
How I Made Friends at EXIT
Even before I finished checking into my hostel, I met another solo female traveler ready to take on the night together. She approached me as I was sitting at the front desk and asked, “Are you traveling alone?” I smiled and said, “Yes, you too?” And she said, “Yep. Perfect, I’ll make sure they put you in my room. We’re gonna be best friends.”
People aren’t usually as forward as Suzie was (love her for it though!) but there is something really special about traveling alone. It creates a community of people who just instinctively understand each other. Adding in the “female” part creates yet another layer of mutual understanding for a solo traveler.
Long story short, because of Suzie and my other awesome roommates, two Dutch girls Astrid and Anjo, this article is a bit of a cop out. I was never truly alone at EXIT Festival. I had them to run around the fortress with, well past sunrise, or explore the beach rave by day, or lie around the hostel hiding from the 105-degree heat in the shade. Even another friend, Taylor, spontaneously booked a ticket. We’d met 4 days prior in Copenhagen and he came to join the party.
Being Alone at The Festival
There were some moments, though, where I did find myself alone at Exit. I was the only one with a press pass, and at one point, I really wanted to see a DJ that none of them really cared for.
Here’s a few tips for those moments when you are alone, because, as long as you embrace them, they really are amazing, too.
When you want to talk to people and you’re scared to approach them, tell them you lost your friends.
- It gives you an excuse to go up to a group of strangers. Lots of people have done it to me at festivals when I’m in a group and they just tag along.
Strike up a conversation with someone at the bar/food court area.
- It’s a moment where you’ll catch other people 1 on 1. You’d be surprised at how friendly people can be, especially If you just ask to hang out with them. Asking, in general, is the key here.
Enjoy the music.
- This is true for everyone but easier to do when you’re totally alone. Sometimes, when I’m with my friends at a club or festival, I tune everyone else out and just close my eyes to really feel the music (sounds cheesy but it’s true). It makes for such a great and personal experience.
- Sure, if you’re separated from your friends for a minute, it may be annoying. But think about it as a good thing. You don’t have to worry about taking care of that friend that got too drunk and has to go home early; on your own, you stay as long as you want to.
- Or maybe it’ s the opposite. If your legs just can’t keep dancing, you can go home without worrying about ruining the night for your friends – no such thing as too “early” when you’re not on anyone else’s clock.
Have you been to a music festival by yourself? I’d love to hear about it!