EVEN at the best of times, trying to get out of a music festival each night is not a pleasant experience.
Punters are tired, yet excited about watching their music idols playing live. Sometimes it's raining, or cold, or both.
The exit from Bluesfest on Thursday and Friday night was not as traumatic as other years, mainly due to a combination of better informed crowds, improved bus services and better traffic management by organisers.
The average time to get out of Bluesfest last night was between 35 and 55 minutes.
Here is a list of five things you can do to improve your festival exit for the rest of the festival:
1. On your way in: Each parking lane has a name or a denomination, normally a letter and a number. It's easier to ask a traffic ranger "How do I get to D3” than "how do I get to my car not sure where I parked it!” Leave some snacks and water in the car for later. Also keep a pair of comfortable shoes and even a change of clothes in your car. Also remember that umbrellas, pets, glass, video cameras and unsealed bottles are not allowed, save yourself an unpleasant moment at the gates.
2. Go before you go: On your way to your car, make sure you go to the toilet. And ensure any mates travelling with you sober up and make a pit stop too. Change your shoes and, if wet of cold, change for a nice dry change of clothes. Leave the parking area like a king / queen.
3. Be nice on the road: Everyone is trying to get out, and it's nobody's fault (or everyone's) that traffic is busy at the end of each night. Be patient. Put on some music, and enjoy the snacks you left in your car earlier.
4. North versus South: If you exit via the South Gate, you will have to take the southbound lane at the Pacific Highway. You will then have to travel to the Ewingsdale interchange to access the northbound lanes and head to the Tweed Valley or the Gold Coast. If you exit via the North Gate, you will be on the northbound lanes, and will have to travel to the Brunswick Heads interchange to be able to head back towards Byron Bay or Ballina. Be aware of this and do not try to 'chuck a u-ey' in the Pacific Highway.
5. Carpool: The less cars and buses we have on the road, the earlier we all get out of the festival.