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While Bacchanal is supposed to be a weekend of good music and fun with your friends, you won’t have fun if you’re too busy worrying about your p-sets and essays or if you get a bit too wild and find yourself at Mount Sinai on Sunday morning. (Please don’t let this happen to you. Be responsible and stay safe.)

There are plenty of ways to survive the weekend while maximizing the fun, so make sure you prepare for all stages of the festivities.

Avoid getting a hangover in the first place

Preventing a hangover before it happens is the surest way to not get hungover. This means drinking water at all times: before, during, and, of course, after Bacchanal. Fill up whatever water bottles you have and even stock up on them by going to JJ’s Place, where you can get bfour water bottles per swipe at the breakfast station. If you’re doing housing selection this week in John Jay Lounge, you can also get some water bottles there. Water is key, people! Future you will thank past you.

Also, make sure you get a good meal before you start drinking and bring snacks to eat throughout the day (but note that you can’t bring food into the pens). Sure, you might eat more than you usually would, but drinking on a full stomach will help ensure you don’t absorb alcohol too quickly. The best foods are the ones that are carb-heavy (bread, pancakes, potatoes, pasta), high in healthy fat (avocados, peanut butter), and/or high in protein (chicken, eggs, quinoa).

Prepare yourself a Bacchanal survival kit

Alison Li

First things first: Make sure you actually know when and where to get your wristbands. People generally start lining up at their designated locations around 8:30 a.m., but the Bacchanal committee won’t start handing them out until 9 a.m.

Depending on which school you’re in, you’ll have to go to a different place on campus to get your wristband. (And keep in mind you have to have this to get into the concert! It’s going to be a really sucky day if you can’t get in because you didn’t have the right things with you.)

  • CC and SEAS can get their wristbands in front of Hamilton Hall or in the Wien courtyard
  • GS and BC can get their wristbands in front of Dodge Hall

You will probably spend most of your day outdoors, so bring sunscreen and a hat to avoid getting burned.

If you’re concerned about what to wear, make sure to check the weather on the day. Right now, the forecast is for partly cloudy with a high of 56 degrees. Wear layers and definitely bring a jacket so you don’t feel too cold during the concert or when temps drop for your ~post-Bacch festivities~. It may also be a good idea to bring a beach towel to sit on if you are going to watch from the Butler Lawns.

The enclosed pens to the stage on Low will be super crowded. So instead of carrying your phone, hat, keys, and water bottle by hand, consider bringing a small bag with you to keep everything in one place. Keep an eye on all your belongings so you don’t lose any important personal items.

Also, make sure that you’re not just watching out for yourself—keep an eye on your friends as well. This is so, so important. Don’t let them wander off without your group, and definitely don’t let them go with anyone you don’t know. Before setting out for the day, make sure you have everyone’s contact info (even if your group includes some people you don’t know as well)—that way you can stay updated throughout the day on where everyone is, how, they’re doing, and what the plans for later are.

Bacchanal is supposed to be fun, but you also need to stay responsible, part of which includes pregaming safely, watching over yourself, and watching over your friends. Lastly, make sure you address any medical concerns you have throughout the day—if you’re not feeling well, seek medical help. Even though health services will not be open at Barnard and Columbia, CAVA will still be up and running, and they should be your go-to source for help. Remember, if you’re not feeling well, do not take pain medication and drink at the same time (this includes taking medicine while alcohol is still in your system).

And of course, try to finish your work before Saturday

Alison Li

I know this is much easier said than done. But trust me, you won’t want to be writing your 10-page Lit Hum paper on Sunday morning while your head is still pounding from the day before.

Have any questions about how to prepare for the Bacchanal weekend? Ask us on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Sein An is a Spectrum trainee and a Columbia-Juilliard Exchange first-year. Getting her ticket for Bacchanal was the most intense minute of her life. Reach her at

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