Congratulations, you just spent over $400 to go to Coachella. Time to pack the Subaru and head out to the most overhyped festival known to man. Congratulate yourself by popping that White Claw or Hazy IPA and put on that obligatory concert shirt. But oh no, that was the last cold one, whatever will you do? Well, get in line, that’s what.
If you’re like the other 99,000 people who went to Coachella per day last year, you will eventually have to stand in a vendor line. This applies to any festival, but Coachella is just a great example. Please treat the people serving you with respect, because vendors are the unsung heroes of any concert/festival.
Anyone who has worked at one of these booths will confirm for you that they are among the most mistreated people at any festival, and it’s most likely your fault. Imagine spending $2,700 for the privilege—no, the right—to pour you and your obnoxious friends another drink. Can you imagine the fun, the adventure? Well, that’s the reality that vendors face at Coachella—and every other festival under the sun.
Of course, $2,700 is not the average price of a vendor stall at every festival. Most are well below the Coachella standard, but this doesn’t take into account the other expenses that these salt of the earth people must endure.
The amount of paperwork needed just to set up at one of these festivals is absurd. For example, here are just a few of the licenses and fees, vendors must pay prior to opening a festival —liability insurance, transient vendor’s license and advertising. This small list doesn’t include even half of the potential expenditures involved in setting at one of the festivals.
On top of everything addressed so far, there’s always the option of just not being rude. It all circles back to the golden rule, treat others how you would like to be treated, or whatever version of that you were raised on. Don’t freak out when they run out of medium-sized shirts, don’t fret over not having any more light beer and please, don’t ask for them to “check in the back.” They don’t have any.
After working in either a cramped shack or in the heat for long hours, the last thing they need are customers being rude and overly critical. The next time you’re at a festival whichever it may be, stop and thank these people. They probably don’t want to be there anyway, and being rude to them is just making their day that much longer.
You don’t have to have a full conversation with them, just give them a smile and a thank you when you receive your product. It may be cliche, but a small gesture like that does go a long way.
Vendors are the backbone of any festival community. They keep you clothed with merch, hydrated and will always be there to help you find the port-a-potty. Thank them for their hospitality.
Ryan Freeberg is a senior studying journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.