How I Survived an All-Day Music Festival with Dietary Restrictions

I was front and center for Beasto Blanco, Palaye Royale and In This Moment!

Picture this. You learn that several bands you adore will play an outdoor venue and the radio station hosting the festival is offering advance purchase tickets for less than $10 bucks each!

Your inner audiophile snatches them up without a second thought.

Then, you read the concert guidelines and discover there’s no re-entry once you’ve passed through the entrance gates. That means you can’t go to your car or leave for food and come back during the day. Once you’re inside the gates, you’re there, until you’re ready to leave the venue. It’s a security precaution that I’m 100 percent happy to abide by to ensure that the bands and music-lovers alike are kept safe during the event.

Fun in the sun at River Riot 2019 at Westfair Amphitheater in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Navigating an Outdoor Event with Celiac Disease

This exact scenario happened to me a few weeks ago. As a gal with Celiac disease, issues with hypoglycemia and mild gastroparesis, I got nervous.

How would I manage my special dietary needs when I’m dependant on food trucks? Would they have anything I could safely eat? Would they have time to answer my questions? Would I starve under the hot Iowa sun?

Thankfully, the festival day went perfectly. Here’s how.

Rockin’ long into the night at River Riot 2019! Halestorm was the AMAZING headliner!

When I learned about the event, I reached out to the radio station and asked if they could share which food trucks would be on site. I would then be able to browse the vendors’ websites and reach out with specific questions about their menus and ingredients.

Sure, it’s a lot of work, but it’s better than spending the day in a portable potty getting sick, right?

Although the host was unable to share specific details about the food vendors scheduled for the event, they offered to let me bring in my own sack lunch filled with the foods that I need to stay healthy for the day-long event. I was shocked, thankful and overjoyed that I could be 100 percent certain I had safe foods to eat.

This is where I want to give a specific shout out to Sophia at 89.7 The River, an Omaha-based rock n’ roll station. Without her guidance, I likely wouldn’t have attended the event, or would have left early when I needed to eat, which would have meant missing some of the music. Thank you, Sophia for your kindness and attention to detail. It eased my worries and made the day great for both me and my husband.

Lunch break! Gluten-free and easily digestible to help manage my Celiac disease, hypoglycemia and gastroparesis.

Finding a Solution that Worked for Me

I was able to pack my lunch and dinner, store it with the EMTs at the medical tent, and grab food from my stash whenever I needed it. The EMTs were completely fine with my visits and never once questioned my need for a special diet.

Instead, we gabbed about the bands and our past concert experiences. It was a refreshing departure from my usual conversations when I’m eating something different than anyone else. I was accepted and not made to feel like an outsider. Kudos to that EMT team!

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The reason I’m sharing this story today is to encourage YOU to take action and speak up for the things you need to make your day more enjoyable. For me, it was approval to bring in food that would allow me to have a safe, healthy experience at a festival, then being proactive and preparing food that would last unrefrigerated for 12-hours or more.

Maybe you need something similar to manage a health condition at an upcoming event? Don’t let your health challenges blindly dictate what you can and can’t do. Always ask questions of the event organizers or venue staff. They are people too! They want you to have a great time and feel comfortable.

Ask for what you need. Always.

Until next time,
Choose healthy!

PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!

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