Perhaps the most underappreciated art each year at the Double Decker Arts Festival is actually attending the festival itself. You might think Double Decker is as simple as waking up a little earlier than normal, putting on some comfy shoes and a nice outfit and boppin’ on over to the Square to have a nice day enjoying music, art and all the delicious food Oxford has to offer. But that’s wrong; Double Decker is so much more.
Double Decker, much like the Grove in the fall, is a marathon. It is an athletic event that, if you do not prepare for, you will die.
Here are some tips to help you Double Decker like a pro, because the last thing you want to do is go out to the Square during the biggest event of the season and die.
- Major key to success: SPF. They don’t want you to wear sunscreen, but you should. At this point you might just think I am making up stories about getting horribly sunburned all the time but that is because in my youth I was foolish and believed if I didn’t wear sunscreen, I would get tan. So during my first Double Decker, I headed out on a beautiful sunny day, and walked back to my dorm almost in tears by mid-afternoon because I was in so much pain from getting sunburned. Don’t be like freshman me; protect your precious skin from the harmful UV rays.
- Stay hydrated: Again, you may think “Drink water is literally a tip in every How-To guide, we get it.” But I just want to remind you: nothing is more important than your hydration. When you’re out roaming around all the different vendors, sampling the wares of the Square and enjoying your weekend, it’s easy to forget to drink water. So, I’m reminding you now.
- Take all your buddies: Not only is carpooling super cool, fun and great for the environment, over 60,000 people a year come to Double Decker. Which means parking usually isn’t super cool or fun. Traveling in a big group, or maybe meeting at a friend’s house who lives close enough to walk to the Square, takes a whole lot of hassle out of the day. Not to mention it’s easy to get lost or lose track of people at the festival. I once wandered around by myself a full 20 minutes before I found my friends after getting separated. Hunting down someone who has been separated is a real buzzkill, (and sometimes kind of scary because “Where did they go? They were just right behind you,” and it’s best if you just stick to the buddy system.
- Have transportation arranged for after, too: Prowling around the Square all day usually means (for those of age) there’s bound to be a few drinks to be had. Always be smart, and if you and your buddies know you’ll be drinking, make sure there is a designated driver. If you suddenly wind up without one, have a backup plan to get home.
- Try something new: You never know what kind of hidden gems you’ll get to unearth during Double Decker, so keep an open mind. Browse around, you may find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or something special for an almost-graduate. A stroll around the courthouse could lead you to your new favorite restaurant in town, or if you stick around for the real fun at the sound stage, you may just end up seeing your new favorite band live and in-person for absolutely free. There is a lot the Double Decker Arts Festival has to offer, and it only comes around once every spring, so you might as well get as much out of the experience as you can.
- Dress appropriately: I mean, honestly, it’s 2016, you can dress however you want, I’m just letting you know you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking on concrete and pavement, so maybe think of your feet when you get dressed in the morning.
- Make some good memories: Like I said, this festival only comes around once every spring, and it takes a lot of man hours, a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication to put on. So put on a nice outfit, go take some nice pictures and have a good time. For many of you, this may be the last Double Decker Arts Festival you attend as a student, so make sure you make it count.
- Touch the bus, if you get the chance: It’s worth seven years good luck if you touch the bus, 14 if you can touch both. Just sayin’.
Here’s a time line of the organization of Double Decker.
Time line compiled by Zoe McDonald. Art by Jake Thrasher.