10 ways to stay sane at Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE
One of the best and worst parts of NXNE are the four nights of free concerts at Yonge Dundas Square showcasing international beloved recording stars and Billy Talent. If you can stand large crowds then it's an affordable (free!), unique night out. If you hate large crowds then it's a living hell. As a veteran of many a Yonge Dundas Square show, I'd like to share some handy tips straight from the trenches.
1. If you don't like crowds don't go. Even if you promised your dying best friend that you would see Social Distortion before you joined him in hell, don't go. It's not worth it bro. Seriously, avoid it at all costs.
2. If you're on the fence about your comfort with crowds, do this little simulation: get on the subway during rush hour at Yonge Station. Wrap your earbuds in tinfoil then loudly play one of the bands playing you don't really care for. Get off at Union, find a bathroom, use it, then get back on the subway and ride it to Dundas Square. Get off, find the nearest smoker then breath as deeply as possible. Do you still want to go?
3. Don't bring anything that you can't fit in your pockets. Carrying a shopping bag, for instance, for a long time can be a real pain. If you set anything down, it will take all your attention. You'll even find a backpack to be cumbersome. This year, I think I'll try out a fanny pack. YOLO.
4. Try to avoid making mental enemies of strangers to pass the time. Sometimes I'll pick out a person in front of me wearing a dub outfit and make fictions up in my head about their poor character. It's a fun way to pass the time but gets me all riled up to the point of distraction.
5. Piss, like a lot, before you get there. If you're standing in the crowd and need to go, it can literally take hours to find a bathroom and return to your spot. Tip: LCBO bathrooms.
6. The closer you get to the stage the better you will see. However, the closer you get the stage the more you'll be pushed, squished and have your tush touched.
7. Don't bother going with a group any bigger than 4-5 people. You will get split up and half the show will be spent trying to find them again in the crowd.
8. If you are a smoker do not smoke if you are in the crowd. Technically you are outside, but it's a really dick thing to do. Although if you are literally surrounded by people smoking, then light up!
9. If you see someone you only know causally but feel warm towards, don't be shy about saying hello. A friendly face is made friendlier by a large crowd. Plus they may have snacks.
10. If you're biking, don't bother looking for a spot to lock east of Bay St. Your time is better spent locking up far away and walking the remainder.
BONUS: Finally, enjoy the unique experience of being in a crowd for good reasons. It's an infinitely safer thing to be in a crowd to see Joey Bada$$$ then to protest a corrupt government or violently bemoan the loss of a favourite sports team. A crowd is a unique beast and provides fascinating insight into the way humans interact individually and as a collective. It's the closest you can get to being in a John Steinbeck novel without having to pick fruit for pennies and eat tumbleweed soup.
Oh, BTW here is the full line up.
Thursday June 13th
6:00 pm - Imperial State Electric
7:00 pm - The Flatliners
8:00 pm - Old Man Markley
9:00 pm - Social Distortion
Friday June 14th
6:30 pm - CTZNSHP
7:30 pm - Hayden
9:10 pm - The National
Saturday June 15th
1:00 pm - Riverdale
2:00 pm - Steve Hill
3:00 pm - We Are Scientists
4:00 pm - Blinker The Star
5:00 pm - Moon King
6:00 pm - Big Black Delta
7:00 pm - Teenage Kicks
8:00 pm - Millencolin
9:00 pm - Billy Talent
Sunday June 16h
3:00 pm - Mickey Avalon
4:00 pm - Deniro Farrar
5:00 pm - The Underachievers
6:00 pm - Fat Tony
7:00 pm - Smif N' Wessun
8:00 pm - Joey Bada$$
9:00 pm - Ludacris