Hydration: If there's one thing to take away from this - even if you're into getting your health information from free news weeklies - it's that you need to drink water. And you need to drink it all day. You might not realize it, but you're shedding fluid throughout the day, especially in the heat. Bring an empty water bottle and, no matter how cold the beer is, you need to match each beer with a pint or more of water. Just keep chugging. You'll thank me.
Consumption: Don't be a moron. Taking down a six pack and two bong rips before you head to the venue might seem like a great idea, until you pass out on the grass and/or end up at the medical tent. Even if you do make it through, remember that you paid out the you-know-what (by which I mean butthole) for these tickets, so you might want to remember some of the performances. Also, don't party yourself into the ground the first night. It's marathon - not a sprint.
Being Economical: Headed to the Gorge for the Dave Matthews Caravan? Be prepared to throw down $9 for a PBR tall can inside the venue. I poop you not. If you're down to pay that, congratulations on your stock portfolio. If not, maybe you can get creative with your party supplies. You ever notice that security doesn't pat down the crotch area? That's all I have to say.
Sleeping: If you're camping at a festival, you shouldn't be expecting to get much sleep. That doesn't mean you have to give up on getting rest. When you pull up to your campground, which is typically just a glorified, shadeless parking lot, scope out your surroundings. If the dudes next to your prospective spot hop out of the car and proceed to shotgun Busch Light, you might want to quietly pack up and look for a quieter locale. Remember, these will be your neighbors for the weekend. And when you set up your tent, remember, your head goes on the uphill side.
Attire: Dress like a weirdo. It might be one of your only chances all year. But make sure sunglasses are part of the get-up. Don't worry, the shades won't compromise the integrity of your neon bodysuit.
Planning: If you're a diehard music fan and have your schedule mapped out a week in advance, don't head to the show with a huge group. Democracy is great, but not when you're trying to decide which band to see. If you need to, defect from the group and have a solo festival experience. Your friends are nice, but they can easily ruin a festival.