To end my 2018 with a bang, I went to the inaugural Hijinx Festival in Philadelphia, PA. As a first year, indoor, winter festival, Hijinx really had a lot of factors working against it. But I have to say, and everyone else I spoke to both friend and stranger agreed, this event exceeded all expectations.
The event website told everyone to arrive an hour before the first artist they wanted to see. While this is definitely solid festival advice, it set the tone for long lines and disorganized security checks. What we found when we arrived each night, however, was clear signage, friendly staff stationed near the doors solely for the purpose of giving high fives, and a really quick and smooth entry process. The fact that this event was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center and not just in the middle of some field like many music festivals meant the staff were prepared for crowds of this size (roughly 18,000) because this is part of their normal business operations. I’ve said this before about Camp Bisco, too – going to a festival at a venue that is an actual venue and not a pop-up in the middle of nowhere has massive benefits when it comes to organization, and thus, attendee experience.
Pretty standard, relatively non-obnoxious festival crowd. No great or horrible standouts, which is just fine by me. Though I’m really starting to notice just how much older I am than everyone.
Okay, Hijinx didn’t really have any fun stuff, per se. But…it was a convention center, so I didn’t exactly expect a secret garden or yoga classes or any of that stuff. I was pretty pleased with the sort of minimal but still cool and enormous inflatables hanging from the ceiling, because “I’m right under the upside down pyramid!” made meeting up with people pretty easy.
Water fountains!! What a treat.
Even though it was one big room they still had a cute little vendor area and a good amount of bars, and though you could never really get away from the music (see: one big room) there was plenty of space. Considering that the center is probably most often used for conferences they did an incredible job of making it feel like a real festival.
The convention center is located super centrally in Philly. There were hotels galore in the immediate vicinity and traveling to and within the city is a piece of cake. Having a short walk to and from the event was a nice change considering that most festivals have longggg walks back to your campsite afterward.
My first tier ticket was super reasonable. I would have paid a lot more for this lineup (though I’m glad I didn’t!).
Yet again the convention center-ness of this festival shines through. Real bathrooms! And just to keep it real (and reduce lines), they brought in port-a-potties, too. There were still some bathroom lines but it was never more than a few minutes. They were clean and there was toilet paper. In the grand scheme of festival bathrooms they may as well have been gold-encrusted toilets. It’s a low bar, you guys.
Holy sound system, Batman. I never knew bass could be so clear. Truly one of the best if not THE best sound I’ve encountered at a music festival.
Stay tuned for the Hijinx music recap!