A previous year's Madipalooza — students packed around the stage. 

Free is a college student’s favorite word. Madipalooza provides free food, entertainment and swag. But only if you beat the crowds. Here are some tips to make the most out of this year’s festival:

  1. The early bird gets the worm. Arrive at least 30 minutes early to snag a good spot and beat the rush.

  2. Eat before you go. They may run out of food before you arrive, especially if you don’t go early enough. Not to mention, the lines at Festival will be wild.

  3. Don’t forget sunscreen.  My freshman year, my roommates and I looked like lobsters by the end of the night. Make better choices and bring at least 30 SPF.

  4. Bring a bag, you’re going to need something to put all your loot in. If you aren’t prepared to get as many free goodies as  you can get your hands on, you’re not doing college right.

  5. Regroup. Once you,ve settled and picked a spot, have one person get food while other people and you go to all the booths and collect all the free shirts, hats and bags you possibly can.

  6. Rain jackets and umbrellas are encouraged. This year’s weather is so unpredictable that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  7. Wear comfortable clothes, such as jeans and sweatshirt. This year it’s been announced there’ll  be a zipline. Ziplining in a dress will certainly be a mistake.

  8. Don’t be a sore “looza.” If a wing-eating competition is available, go for it. Win or lose at least you can say you did it!

  9. Live it up. Try things you never considered. I highly recommend going on that zipline if you’ve never had the opportunity. There might also be henna station like we’ve had in the past.

  10. Live the sober life. This is a campus event with plenty of fun-filled activities available so you don’t need alcohol to have a good time.  

  11. Make friends. There will be hundreds of students there. Take the opportunity to talk to the people around you, they may just surprise you.

  12. Be the best Duke you can be. If you see someone who’s lost or separated from their friends, stop and help them out. Offer up your sunscreen or umbrella to the people near you, if needed. Most importantly, just be aware of other attendees and lend a helping paw.

Madipalooza is full of exciting opportunities and a memory you may carry with you for the rest of your time here at JMU. Rain or shine, the show goes on. So, if you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to make the most out of your day.

Kate Formeller is a junior social work major. Contact Kate at