OTB’s Paradiso Guide: Advice From A Two Year Veteran
OTB’s Paradiso Guide
In only a weeks’ time, those here in the Pacific Northwest fortunate enough to attend Paradiso will be returning home and falling into a deep sleep of sore muscles, blown eardrums, and sweet sweet memories of the previous two days and nights. What has become a yearly tradition for me, as this is my third year, Paradiso is the highlight of my summer. As this is my third year I have gained a lot of knowledge from my last two trips to the Gorge for Paradiso. I wanted to give a brief guide to Paradiso from my personal experience and experience of friends. I understand that I will not cover everything that could possibly happen at Paradiso, but a few solid tips and tricks could save you hours of stress.
1. Be Smart, Drink Water!
This would seem to be a no brainer given that fact that USC pushes The Message so strongly (and rightly so) on the attendees of Paradiso and other USC events. If I had anything to recommend to people attending Paradiso it would be bring water, drink water, and refill your water the MOMENT you are out. Water is especially important at Paradiso since it is an outdoor venue. If you haven’t been to an outdoor event, you are going to underestimate how thirsty and hot you will be during the day AND at your camp. If you are going to be dancing in the sun to temperatures upwards of 90 degrees, you are going to be losing water rapidly as your body cools itself. Replenish it!!!
The other side of this is that if you are taking drugs or drinking (let’s not beat around the bush, I know at least one person reading this will take something or have alcohol) your body will be running through water even faster than normal. If you are going to take any drug (especially molly) be safe and drink lots of water. Most drug related incidents can be avoided by drinking and resting when you feel tired. Don’t chance it, just take a break. The Gorge is a beautiful venue to find a seat, sit, and enjoy amazing music to an amazing view.
To save the most money on water, buy a USC water bottle. They can be brought back in, have caps, and can be refilled at any water station at Paradiso, Freaknight, Resolution, or Lucky. They have been $10 at previous raves, which is the cost of roughly 3 water bottles. For $10 you can have a refillable water carrying device that lasts you more than an hour.
Although the weather is set to be milder than last year’s Paradiso, sunscreen is important. No matter what ethnic group your heritage is from, protecting yourself from over 12 hours of sun exposure is important. You will be outside for multiple hours a day in the sun, and that is going to have some effect on everyone. Protect your skin so that you don’t look like a lobster day 2 and have to rage with a sunburn.
It will be loud. GA is the worst, but premier is not soundproof. Earplugs are recommended at times for sleeping and general rave attending. If you think you will need them for sleep at night, get them and use them for when raging in front of giant speakers during the day as well.
(Below is a link to Amazon and the earplugs I personally use. They are absolutely amazing and only $12. They do not lessen sound quality, but lower the decibels by a few to ensure no post show ear ringing.)
**Tested on Excisions 150,000 watt bass system**
They suck. Always. Porta-potties are not pleasant so be prepared. I have not had some horror story or really heard of any, but be ready for them because that is your option.
Long lines. That is all. Be prepared to wait an hour minimum.
There are no water refills in the camp grounds (as of last year) but there is a very small mini-mart at the entrance of the camp grounds. It doesn’t have much but it might be enough to get you through a crisis. Plan accordingly. Don’t come underprepared. Camping can be really fun when done right, or suck when done wrong. Come prepared with a lot of food and water. Understand also that during the day it gets hot. So food/drink will need to be protected somehow. I recommend a cooler with ice bags in it. Just placing it in your car is not enough.
The campground has become kind of its own event. Expect a lot of loud speakers, RVs & busses covered in flags and scantily clad women dancing on top. There will be a lot of noise but it is also a lot of fun. There will usually be a few “gatherings” of people where partying has commenced. Last year there was a MASSIVE party with a DJ in the camp grounds. I do not know how much USC and Live Nation staff will crack down on all of this this year, but be prepared for a lot of commotion in GA, and don’t expect it to stop at night. It will get turned up. Bring beer (if of age), explore, meet new people, and have a good time. It’s a celebration!
Yes they exist. Yes you will see someone on them. This much is a given. But one thing that isn’t is common sense. DO NOT BUY DRUGS IN THE CAMPGROUND OR FROM ANYONE YOU DON’T KNOW. Last year there were many stories of extremely bad molly circulating. Do not become a headline on the local news. No one will think you are cool. You will be laughed at and shamed as “another EDM druggie who went to hard.” If you see someone in need and struggling help them! They might be ok, or they may be in a life threatening.
(If you are camping in Gold, this applies less to you as your walk is considerably shorter)
There is no re-entry for GA tickets. VIP does allow for re-entry, but general admission is not re-entry.
The Line: There is usually a long line getting in, but it moves rapidly from past experience. It has never taken me more than 15 minutes to get into Paradiso so don’t stress too much over this. Going right at 2 when the gates open might result in slower times, but wait an hour and the line will be next to nothing.
The Guards: There will be heightened security measures this year. Rule 1 is don’t be intoxicated upon entry…or at least don’t look it. If you look like you are drunk/rolling/etc, you will not be permitted entry and your ticket will be taken away for the day. I had it happen to a friend who was a little too drunk on accident. It sucks and will ruin your vibes for sure. Also remember that chugging in line or right before you go to the entry is a bad idea. If you gulp down 5 shots and then take the walk to The Gorge, those 5 shows are going to have hit by the time you get to the front of the line, and the guard is going to notice. Some guards are pretty laid back, but not all are.
Backpacks: Bring them. They are allowed. Camel back are my #1 recommendation for Paradiso, but if you don’t have one then bring a backpack to hold your water or have a boyfriend to do it. They are pretty thorough at searching but I have heard mixed stories on that. My bag checkers have always been very in-depth, but last year the checker at the line directly to my right was just waving people through. Basically it’s random if you have a chill or anal bag checker.
It will be dark, cold, and there will be a sea of people. Having a plan for this is important. At the very least choose a good meeting spot directly outside the gates so you can meet back up with your friends. A key thing to remember though is that the camp grounds will be EXTREMELY DARK and finding your tent could be an issue. Make sure to remember markers (such as bathroom numbers, flags flown on cars, etc) to help guide you back home after a long day. Your brain will be tired and may not remember things perfectly, especially in the dark. Do not use cars or other tents as markers. At night everything looks the same: dark. More than likely too your phone will not work due to either lack of service (which is not historically great) or lack of battery power (which is never great). Don’t be the one wondering around for hours in the dark desperately trying to remember where you left your stuff.
If you take all of this into account and plan things accordingly, Paradiso will most likely ending up becoming one of the best days of your life. However, if you don’t plan things out and don’t take everything into account you may end up having a terrible or a lot of stress at some point of the weekend. I want everyone to have an amazing Paradiso, and having good personal accountability is the first step. Be smart. Be safe. If you see someone in need help them or get a staff member to help them. Paradiso is what we all make it. Let’s make this year the best year yet and set the trend of smart rave attending for ravers everywhere.
Excited about Paradiso?! So are we!!! Read up on some of the artists attending Paradiso with OTB’s Paradiso Spotlight! Link below!
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