Music festivals are among the most fun events happening in today’s culture. No other setting allows you the freedom and opportunity to see multiple bands, meet new and interesting people, have the time of your life. It all happens in an atmosphere that is nothing short of euphoric.
Nowadays there is a festival for every genre of music, ranging from larger-than-life productions, like Bonnaroo or Lollapalooza, to smaller more intimate scenes, like Wanee and Sasquatch Festival. No two festivals are alike, but most of them require the same preparation prior to showtime.
Being well prepared for a music festival means the difference between the most fun you’ve ever had, and a regrettably bad time. Here are a few tips and recommendations that will cover every type of festival, and help you make your music festival experience a successful one.
1. Camp in comfort
Odds are that you’re going to be camping on-site during the festival, unless your attending festivals like Outside Lands or The Hangout Fest that do not offer camping. If you’re going to be car camping, you may as well do it in style and bring a few comfort items that will make life much easier while you endure the heat, dust, rain, and whatever mother nature feels like throwing at you.
Gear, like a roomy tent, a pop-up shade tent, table, chairs, mini grill and cooler, are ingredients for a plush campsite. It’s also important to pack strategically. Pack your pop up tent in last so that you can open your trunk and set that bad boy up as soon as you park. Most of the time setting up at a music festival is a straight up free-for-all, so if you establish your area right off the bat, you won’t have to worry about others encroaching on your campsite.
2) Backpack rights and wrongs
If you get one thing right while packing for a festival, make sure it’s what’s in your backpack. Your campsite is probably going to be light years away from where the music is happening, and you’re not going to want to trek back to your car every time you need something. So here’s what goes in your backpack:
— flashlight/headlamp (for finding your way back to camp at 4 a.m.)
— water bottle (all festivals have water bottle filling stations)
— festival stage schedule
— cash for beer and food (Don’t bring a ton of food to the festival. Save your money and spend it on festival food, which is delicious. You don’t want to miss out on it because you bought a can of cold Beanie Weenies.)
— power bank and phone charging chord
— extra layer (fleece, flannel, and/or a rain jacket)
— blanket or small fold up chair for chilling (the Kelty Essential Chair is perfect)
— water-proof backpack liner/dry sack (for keeping everything dry when it rains)
3) You are what you wear
Your apparel is just as important as the gear you bring. Depending on where the festival is, the weather could change in an instant. Stay away from cotton, as it retains water, stinks when sweaty, and will cause chaffing. Make sure your clothes that are next to your skin are made of merino, capilene, polyester, or any material that wicks away moisture. For outer layers, go for durable over fashionable.
Other things to wear: A watch (for making sure you catch your shows on time after your phone and backup battery dies). A wide-brimmed hat (a wide brim will keep your upper body cooler than a ball cap. Stay away from straw as sweat and straw will leave your hat rotting and your forehead smelling like dead grass). Chacos (or any shoe that will not give you blisters, and stay on your feet when you’re standing in two feet of mud). Sunglasses.
4) Plant your flag
Bring a flag for your campsite. Make sure it is super tall and unique. Without it you’ll never find your car in the sea of automobiles you’re camping within.
5) Don’t forget to bring your friends
The more, the merrier. If you camp with a huge group, your campsite will be larger, you’ll have more resources at your disposal (like duct tape, rope, batteries, etc.), and you’ll likely have a battle-buddy to stick with who wants to see the same shows as you.
6) Gas up before you get there
Fill up on gas right before you enter the festival. You may be stuck in line for a long time trying to get out, and you don’t want the needle to hit empty while you’re idling.
7) Fans for music fans
If it’s hot, bring a fan, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it is to pack and operate. If it’s cold, bring warmer gear than you think you’ll need.
8) Know where your towel is
If the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy taught us anything, it is that a towel “is about the most massively useful thing” to have with you anywhere, including at a music festival.
9) Save your phone battery
Don’t use your phone unless you have to. To save the battery, put it on airplane mode, turn off wi-fi, or turn it off completely.
10) The sharing economy
Don’t take anything too seriously. You’re at a music festival, the most laid back event in the world. You’re surrounded by 50,000 friendly people with whom you can barter if you need to. Forgot something you can’t live without? (Like toilet paper?). Your neighbor probably has some to spare.
Relax, above all else. Have fun with your friends. Eat good food. Drink good beer. And listen to the music.
Essential Festival Gear
The Kelty Low-Love Mesh Chair is a super-comfy folding chair built for two.
Our pack that quickly and easily changes from a backpack to tote carry for extra versatility on the go. The zippered roll-top closure offers expandable capacity, and your laptop is easy to grab through the external access sleeve.
This unique double-size dual-layer blanket is perfect anywhere from festivals or as a warm companion around the campfire.
The classic Kelty Sunshade is back with a great new look. This unique three-legged structure features a moveable sidewall to block the sun from any direction.
This can’t-live-without chair is a comfortable respite wherever it goes. With a rugged steel frame that’s built to make tailgating as cozy as nights beside the campfire, it has an adjustable insulated beverage holder to enjoy your drink of choice.