Winging it is fun and all, until you've stumbled upon nothing to your liking, then you realize Deerhunter just started at the Crystal and you're at Roseland, and then you blindly run into the street and get run over by the MAX. The moral: Know where you're going.
No matter how dedicated you are to sticking together, there will come a moment when you're all standing on a street corner, passive-aggressively arguing about your next destination for 20 minutes. Concede in advance that you will not all be skipping to the last bus of the night arm-in-arm and keep your relationship intact.
There's a temptation to rock 'n' roll all night and party every day during MFNW, but remember: KISS doesn't have day jobs. This festival is a six-day triathlon of drinking, walking and more drinking, and it's exhausting enough even with ample shuteye. That isn't to say you need a full, consecutive eight hours each night. Nap on a bench between shows. Nod off on the bus. Heck, find an unoccupied patch of Pioneer Courthouse Square and curl up during the Head and the Heart.
That might sound odd coming from the guy who once wrote a whole article about how he never rides bikes, but it's something I learned after
in March and felt like I was walking on two giant, foot-shaped blood blisters by the end. It's the most reliable, least cumbersome way to get from one side of town to the other. But then you probably already know that.
And by that, I don't necessarily mean moderation. Just pick your blackouts wisely. For example, I remember nothing about Titus Andronicus at
in 2010. The second half of Fucked Up's raging set at
last year is a blur of singer Damian Abraham's back hair. And yet I remember every sleepy moment of Iron and Wine at the Square in 2011. Drink to forget, not to regret.