If you like folk music, you’re in for a treat!
The 33rd annual Tucson Folk Festival is just a couple of weeks away—May 5 and 6—and once again it’s going to be absolutely packed:
- Four main stages centered in and around El Presidio Park.
- More than 100 bands and artists and hundreds of musicians, including national headliner Pokey LaFarge, local favorites Greg & Randal Morton Band, and a young artist showcase for local performers 18 and under.
- Non-stop music from noon to 10 Saturday and 11 to 9 Sunday.
- Plenty of local food and drink to keep you fueled.
- Arts and crafts, kids activities, a songwriting competition, and more.
Throw in the fact that it’s free to the public, kid-friendly, and pretty laid back overall, it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours—or an entire weekend—as your schedule allows.
Are You Ready for Fun?
Here are a few tips on how to stay comfortable and safe during the festival, from your friendly neighborhood foot and eye doctors.
Bring sunscreen. You should already know this living in Tucson, but applying sunscreen is an absolute must for a day outdoors. And not just your face and arms. Make sure you get your legs and even the tops of your feet if they’re going to be exposed to the sun. Bring a bottle along so you can reapply if you plan to spend more than a couple of hours downtown.
Wear a nice wide-brimmed hat. Hats give your hair and skin extra protection (though you’ll still need to apply sunscreen to your face. They also offer protection for your eyes as well.
Don’t forget your sunglasses. On a sunny day, sunglasses are more than just a temporary comfort and fashion accessory. Their most important role is protecting your eyes from UV radiation. While skin cancer gets all the headlines, too much sun exposure can be devastating to eye health. They can hasten the development of cataracts, macular degeneration, astigmatism, and other problems.
Remember that not all sunglasses are created equal, and not all are equally good at blocking all kinds of ultraviolet radiation. The best pairs will block at least 99% of both UVA and UVB rays. If you aren’t sure if your old pair is up to the task—and you threw away the packaging ages ago—it might be time to shop for some new shades.
Drink plenty of water. Although there will be lots of places nearby to grab a drink or a bite to eat, it’s definitely handy to have a water bottle on hand to stay hydrated—especially if it gets hot under the sun and with so many people around. Dehydration can make you feel dizzy, achy, and even dry out and irritate your eyes due to reduced basal tear production.
Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be doing a lot of standing, and even walking from stage to stage. Some stages and areas will be set up on the grass, although other areas may require you to stand on harder surfaces.
So make sure your shoes are up to the task! If your shoes are beat up, fit badly, or just don’t have the kind of support and cushioning you need, your feet will get sore quickly. If you have been prescribed a set of arch supports or orthotics, definitely wear them.
Take breaks as needed. Even with good shoes, periods of prolonged standings can wear you down and lead to pain. Fortunately, there should be plenty of space to sit down on the grass—or you could pop into a nearby restaurant for a bit.
Planning Your Day
Now that that’s out of the way, here are some extra tips to help you enjoy the festival as much as possible:
Getting there. If you’re planning on driving, there are a handful of parking lots and garages within a few blocks of the park. That includes a 575-space underground garage directly below El Presidio Park itself. At $5 per day, it’s a convenient and great deal, but no doubt it’ll fill up fast.
If you’d rather take public transportation, El Presidio Park is just a few blocks west of the Ronstadt Transit Center. SunTran lines 3, 21, and 22 all stop right at the north end of the park along Alameda.
The Sun Link also passes a block south of the park along Congress Street. Get off at N Church Avenue. You can walk up Church, or take the pedestrian walkway between Church and Pennington—it’ll take you straight into the park.
Choosing your artists. The festival website has helpfully posted full schedules of the lineup for each day and stage—both Saturday and Sunday. Make sure you don’t miss your favorite band! (You can also find performer bios online as well, if you’d like to learn more.)
Interested in the Young Artists showcase? No problem! The Wildflower stage in the southeast corner of the park will be featuring under-18 musicians from 2-3 and 4-6 on Saturday, then again from 12-2 and 3-6 on Sunday.
Of course, you might choose not to have a plan at all. There’s always something interesting going on, and if you aren’t feeling one act, it’s a pretty short walk to another stage.
Worried about your eyes or feet keeping up with the excitement? If you have any concerns at all about these important aspects of your overall health, please get in touch with our resident optometrist, Dr. Zuraida Zainalabidin, or our foot specialist Dr. Alan Shih. We’re always happy to help you out! Call anytime at (520) 545-0202.