Summer is almost here, and you know what that means — music festivals. So many music festivals. Music festival season starts in March with events like South by Southwest filled with varying popular music genres going all the way until August with the never forgotten Burning Man and Electric Zoo NYC… And those are just looking at the big names! Basically, wherever you live, whatever type of music you fancy, there is a music festival out there for you. So what are you actually supposed to bring to a music festival? I have a few recommendations, but remember, always check your specific event’s guidelines before packing to ensure that nothing is restricted.
Many music festivals last more than one day — some, like Coachella, last for multiple weekends! If you are attending one of these and plan on fully embracing the festival experience, you’re going to need to set up a proper campsite.
- Do not bring anything valuable or irreplaceable! You will not be at your campsite at all times so things could potentially get lost or stolen.
- Pack a tent, tarp or canopy, rope, zip ties, scissors and poles to create a spacious tent area. A traditional tent can get too claustrophobic in the summer heat so check the weather.
- Bring pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, fold up chairs, air mattresses (and pump!), a portable heater — really whatever you’re going to need to stay comfortable
- Pack a fold up table and a cooler or fridge pouch for when you want to come back to your campsite and hangout.
- Don’t forget food and drinks! Be cautious when packing perishible items unless you will have plenty of ice to refill you cooler. Many venues sell ice there. Make sure none of your items have been opened prior to the event.
- Decorations aren’t necessary but many people choose to add paper lanterns or colorful tapestries to their campsite to make it feel more festive and homey.
- Bring a pickup truck or trailer to tailgate. This is a perfect way to transport all your music festival materials and set up the best campsite.
- Pack a small portable grill or stove to cook with your friends! This will both save you from buying overpriced event foods and provide an additional social activity.
- Make sure you have enough propane to last you the entire music festival! Plan ahead on what you want to eat to make sure you buy enough food and drinks for your entire group.
- Bring portable lanterns, solar panel powered lights or flashlights. You’re going to want some light for your temporary home once the sun goes down.
- Pack spare batteries if you are bringing anything battery powered.
- Bring trash bags. Of course there will be trash bins throughout the music festival but packing a few of your own is not a bad idea. This will help you keep your campsite clean and not have to constantly get up just to toss out another paper plate.
- Be prepared with paper plates, cups and anything else you will want to eat. We also recommend a food tent to keep insects off.
Now that home base is set up, you’re going to need some basic things to get you through the day. With all the singing, dancing, socializing…and let’s be honest, social media sharing, you and your devices are destined to get a little worn out.
- Bring a refillable water bottle. Most concert venues will have fountains or other areas for refill so bring something durable and easy to carry like a Camelbak.
- Have a map of the venue handy. Circle the stages where you want to see artists play and the times that they will be up, restrooms, your campsite location and any vendors that you enjoy visiting.
- Stay hygienic! Hand sanitizer, wet wipes, makeup wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, dry shampoo, hair brush, deodorant, chapstick, bug spray, a first-aid kit and in case of emergency toilet paper and toilet seat covers are a must. You will be sweaty and gross at some point but packing these essentials will help you feel a little less disgusting so you can focus on the music.
- Get your go-pros, selfie sticks and portable chargers ready. We all know that between trying to find lost friends within the show, endless selfies and videos of artists posted to your snap story are going to need these items.
- Keep your skin protected and stay cool with a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and even a mister or spray bottle.
- Bring spare clothes in case yours get a little too dirty. Make sure everything you pack is not only music festival fabulous but additionally comfortable, easy to move in and lightweight. Sneakers and loose, breathable clothing will be your best friend. Ladies, I know heels are cute. I’m guilty of wanting to wear them everywhere too. Trust me, even if your festival is just one day, your feet will hurt.
- Pack shower sandals, towels and any needed toiletries if your venue has showers available. A swimsuit couldn’t hurt either if the showers are a little too communal for your taste.
- Fanny packs, as lame as they may be, are incredible for music festivals. If you don’t have one or just hate the idea of wearing one, a small backpack or crossover bag will also work.
Alright, so we’ve covered all the essentials. With the above items you should be able to successfully survive music festival season. Now to really embrace the atmosphere!
- Portable speakers are definitely not necessary — you’re at a live music venue after all! But if you are camping out, having some can make your site the social sensation of the event.
- Bring your own instruments! When the artists end for the night, head back to the campsite, pull out your acoustic guitar and jam!
- Make friends! Maybe you’ll never see them again and maybe they’ll be your new best friends for life, but be social! Going to a music festival is a full experience and engaging with the other people there is a big part of that environment.
- Flower crowns, colorful and glittery make-up, temporary jewelry and temporary tattoos: They are cliche but they have also been made a cliche for a reason. They are fun, festive and cute. Each music festival has it’s own vibe to it. See what type of music is playing and dress for the occasion. The classic band T-shirt, shorts and sneakers is always appropriate.
- Bring a disposable camera! Your phone may take great pictures, but there is just something fun about a classic disposable camera. Trust me — take a bunch of pictures, pass it around with your friends and when you finally develop them, get ready to be pleasantly surprised.
- Pack card games or board games to give you something to do during concert down time.
Which music festival are you most excited to attend? Share in the comments below!