How To Enjoy An Outdoor Concert On A Potentially 100-Degree Day Without Dying Of Heatstroke Or Sunburn


Tomorrow is a big day for outdoor live music in New York City! The CBGB Festival is throwing a free show in Times Square with Superchunk, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the Hold Steady, and Seattle Weekly columnist Duff McKagan’s Loaded; it’s also sponsoring the SummerStage show at Central Park with Guided By Voices, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and Cloud Nothings. Over in Long Island City, P.S. 1’s annual Warm Up series gets started with a daylong party starring legendary DJ Todd Terry and Los Angeles bass duo NGUZUNGUZU; the Bronx has Roger Waters’ recreation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall at Yankee Stadium; Brooklyn has the first performance in eight years by the multilingual political singer Souad Massi. And so on. This is all well and good except for one thing: Temperatures are expected to top out at 102 degrees, and the 20% chance of precipitation isn’t much of a hedge. It’s going to be hellaciously hot, and you’re going to need to take some precautions so you actually see the artists you’re planning on without collapsing of heatstroke.

Stay hydrated. This is so basic, but: Water. Water. Drink a lot of it, drink it before you go out, drink it when you’re on the subway, drink it while you’re out, drink it when you’re about to leave. It’s delicious and cheap and calorie-free and really am I having to talk about the benefits of water in 2012? Come on. Just drink water. You can maybe have a Vitamin Water here and there, but stick to the clear stuff for the most part.

“Hydrated” means “water,” and not “alcohol.” Ah, the lure of day drinking on a stretched-out summer weekend afternoon—it’s so tempting, especially since CBGB Fest has a spirits festival attached to it. But indulging in alcohol to excess during a scorching day means being completely wiped out by the time the night—and slightly cooler temperatures—roll around.

If you sweat a lot, have a bit of salt. Copious perspiring can lead to a decrease in personal sodium levels, and you want to keep that balance in check. (Note: Anyone who wants to challenge the previous directive with “but what about a salt-rimmed margarita?” is fired.)

Wear light and loose-fitting clothing, and maybe a hat. It’s a concert, not a fashion show. And really, fuck “street style” blogs anyway. Also, remember, ladies, it’s legal to go topless in New York City, although individual venues might have different policies on that particular topic and the prospect of your picture showing up on Brooklyn Vegan and being razzed at by their cesspool of commenters is high, so proceed with caution.

And sunscreen. I am by nature a very pale person, but I have survived two outdoor festivals this summer so far thanks to this great spray sunscreen that lasts for a very long time. SPF 35, and after being out for hours in the sun I only got a bunch of freckles and no day-after pain. Remember to get the parts of your body that run up against your clothes’ seams!

Find shade. This will be easier at some venues than others, although Times Square certainly has quite a few mall imports where you can while away some time in Arctic levels of air conditioning. (The art installation in P.S. 1’s courtyard this summer, Wendy, will have shady areas as well as water sprays.)

Don’t get too caught in a mosh. Shows are for dancing, and yes, you should indulge in some, but don’t get so crazy that you wear yourself out and go into heatstroke mode. Note, also, that crowdsurfing is a great way to catch a quick breeze.

Know your limits. If you’re feeling lousy—headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea—and you just want to sit down, or find shade, or buy yourself a giant bottle of water that you’re not going to share no way, or go home, just do it. Because stories about being rushed to the hospital are fun to tell, but not a lot of fun to live through at all.

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