What To Pack For Music Festivals: The Ultimate Festival Survival Guide
You’ve probably heard of major music festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago and Coachella in California. They look like the most transcendent days of basking in your favorite tunes right?! What you may not know is how much people prepare for these events!! Bringing in a small bag becomes so much more of a big deal when you have to pack smart – so how do you know what to pack for music festivals?
Before you get to enjoy the music floating across the fields in a sea of sunscreen and sweat – here is your ultimate music festival survival guide! We’ll cover what to pack for music festivals, what to prepare beforehand, general festival safety tips, and what to wear!
Map Out What You Want To See
First things first: figure out what you want to see at the festival. You’re probably not going to be interested in every artist or event that takes place during every day of the festival. Additionally, the festival grounds will have multiple stages scattered throughout to provide the maximum flow of entertainment throughout the day.
- It’s highly likely that your event has an app!! Make sure to download it before you go so you’re not trying to download it at the festival grounds. You most likely won’t have good enough service at the event to download anything. When thousands of people walk through events – cell phone service tends to be less reliable.
ARTISTS & EVENTS: Before you can decide what to pack for music festivals – decide what artists you really want to see! When we went to our last festival – it turned out that the artists we wanted to see were all in the evening. By watching the schedule – we realized we probably didn’t need to go all day, saving us from preparing for a full-day event. (Not going that extra 4 hours didn’t take away from our experience at all!)
- The artists will be stagered across different stages and different times. We suggest making a list in your phone of what stage and what time your favorites go on so that you know where you want to be and how much time you’ll have between shows!!
- Scope Out All The Food Before Trying Anything! This is a trick we’ve learned so that we only spend money on what sounds best – and cuts down on what we need to bring. You can typically find a list of all food vendors on the festivals website or Instagram. By scoping it out in advance – you can also figure out what to eat when and potentially beat long lines!!
Know Before You Go
Every festival is different – but there are a few things to check on before you get to just about any festival.
- Re-Entry Policies: This one is a biggie! For safety and security at the event – most festivals don’t allow re-entry after
- Ticket / Wristband Activations:
**Safety Note: Something we really enjoyed about the last music festival we went to? Our wristband activation process included setting up our emergency contacts. While not every music festival will have this safety protocol in place – it’s important to consider making sure you have accessible emergency contacts when you’re packing for a music festival! Things happen at larger events all the time. We’re not saying you should be overly scared- but by being prepared you can avoid more dangerous situations!
- Hotels & Camping: Beyond
Last but not least: check what you’re allowed to pack for music festivals!! Not unlike going on a trip – heading to music festivals means that you’ll have to be strategic about your packing. When you go on trips – you most likely have a list of things you’ll want to be doing and you pack accordingly. The same goes for festivals!!
Keep Track of Your People
Are you the type that wants to be up close and personal with the artists? Just dying to be on the stage or deep in the center of the mosh pit? It’s so easy to lose track of your friends when you’re focused on the music (or a monster fry bowl)! So here’s what you need to do: plan. ahead.
These are a few of our favorite tips for staying safe and connected!
#1 FIND MY FRIENDS APP: This is super helpful for finding your friends in an emergency. You can share your location for the day which is particularly important if you and your friends want to see different shows at the same time.
- If you don’t have an iPhone – or you need to share within a group of mixed phones, the best free app to keep track of everyone is Google Maps!
#2 SET A MEETING POINT: Let’s face it: the world is crazy and bad things happen! It’s important to set a designated meeting point inside the festival and near your car (or near a shuttle.) The easiest way to remember is by taking a picture of where you and your friends plan to meet! It’ll keep you from trying to remember and then getting lost at the end of the day when you’re tired.
So what to pack for music festivals to keep yourself and your group together?
- Phone – Make sure it’s fully charged before you go!
- Extra Battery Backup & Power Cord
- Camping? See our notes on camping below, but remember to pack some kind of flag identifier for your campsite!!
What To Pack For Music Festivals
We’ve mentioned a few things here and there throughout this guide – but there are so many considerations when figuring out what to pack for music festivals!!!
We’ve compiled a list of your essentials and then a list of the extra items we highly recommend that will just make your day better!!
#1 WATER: Probably the most crucial thing to remember about music festivals is staying hydrated. You can keep yourself from getting sick and passing out as we have seen many do. After seeing all of the delicious beverages present throughout the festival – you’re probably going to want to do something. Keep in mind all mixed drinks will be ridiculously expensive and not much alcohol! So what do to pack for music festivals to keep yourself hydrated? Most festivals have specific rules on how you can bring in water. The last festival we went to said we could bring in one unopened 8-ounce bottle to use for refilling.
- Figure out where the water refill stations are throughout the festival. Water will be free and there will typically be lines – but it’s worth it to constantly fill up!
- Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier: you don’t have to have many of those to keep you going! One packet in a bottle of water is roughly the equivalent of 3 bottles of water. Replace the electrolytes you’ve lost while jamming to your favorite songs!!!
#2 SUNSCREEN: The 2nd most important thing to remember is sunscreen. Along with staying hydrated – keeping up your sunscreen regimen throughout the day will help to keep you from being miserable in so many ways!! From preventing sunburn all the way to minimizing sun-poisoning – it’s worth it to lather up before you go and pack an extra small tube. If you’re thinking ‘I don’t have a ton of room – do I really need to pack sunscreen for this festival?’ The answer is an unequivocal yes!
COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR: Probably one of the most important things you’ll do before you go is either pack or wear comfortable shoes to music festivals. Heels can be cute if you’re only going for a couple of hours to see one artist – but more than likely your feet will hurt. Sandals will probably also leave you pretty dirty if you’re not in a VIP section?
- The best shoes to wear for music festivals are boots and tennis shoes!
- Extra socks – You’ll thank me later!!
CASH: Even if you have credit cards and wristbands with your credit cards programmed in – there may be an emergency! Many major festivals are in larger cities where you might need a cab, payphone, etc. You may also want to tip in cash instead of putting everything on your wristband.
Extra Things To Pack for Comfort
- Sugar Packs –
- Sunglasses –
- Picnic Blanket – if you’re not camping but you plan to be at the festival all day, make sure to pack a small easily foldable blanket!! We saw some people attacht them to the bottom of their backpacks like a bedroll? Super smart way to save space.
- Wipes + Hand Sanitizer – These are a must to pack for music festivals!!
What To Pack for Music Festival Camping
We’ve never personally camped for a festival, but we have plenty of friends who have! Obviously, if you’re camping – you’ve probably camped before or you’re going with friends who have!!
- Tent / Tent Locks / Tent Flag (For easy Identification!)
- Sleeping Bag – Something lightweight!!
- Pocket Knife – You just never know.
- Toilet Paper – This will be a hot commodity!
- Towels (We love this micorfiber antimicrobial super absoorbant one!!)
- Camping Chairs / Blow Up Couch
- Trash Bags
- Dry Bags
- Cooking Supplies: Camping Stove, Gas Canisters, Biodegradable Dish Soap, Cups, Plates, Ice, Pots/Pans & Cooking Wares, Camping Meals, Instant Coffee/Hot Chocolate, Emergency Water Purification Tablets
- Health & Wellness Supplies: Vitamins, Medications, First Aid Kit, Pain Medicine, Emergen-C, Blister Care, Hot Hands
- Bathing Supplies: Towels, Biodegradeable Soaps/Shampoo, Hair Products, Makeup, Skin Care
Interested In a Little Daydream Inspo?
If you’ve got everything you need to help you pack for music festivals, get on our list for a little more daydream inspiration! Music festivals are loud, chaotically exhilarating, and just plain exhausting – but usually worth every blast of serotonin throughout the experience.
After your next festival – your next travels may need to be a little something more low-key. Maybe a few underrated hiking destinations throughout the United States? Or maybe a few amazing USA destinations in September at the end of festival season?
P.S. Get our guide to over 100+ Fun Things To Do in Louisville, Kentucky. There are over 15 festivals in Louisville every year for music!!
Whatever you’re looking for – there will be something to inspire your next trip!
Bucket List Festivals Throughout The World
We made this must-have guide to what to pack for music festivals – so we must have a few bucket list festivals right?! Umm… yes. And there are more than a few!! Even though some of these are also food festivals, the gist of what you’ll need remains the same. Be prepared and enjoy!!
Being from Kentucky, there are more than a few incredible music festivals every year we want to share.
- Louder Than Life – One of the biggest rock festivals in the country taking place in Louisville, Kentucky!
- Forecastle Fest – A hipster/indie music festival in downtown Louisville. We highly reccomend grabbing some of Louisville’s incredible tacos after!! Just completes the hipster vibe ya know?)
- ROMP Festival – A bluegrass music festival in the BBQ Captiol of the Midwest: Owensboro, Kentucky
- Railbird Festival – A country music festival in Lexington at the Keeneland Racetrack
- Carnival In Venice, Italy – The best time to go is mid February!
Other music festivals on our bucket list throughout the United States:
- The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in New Mexico
- SXSW – Austin Texas
- Austin City Limits in Austin Texas
- International Cherry Blosson Festival in Macon Georgia
- Governors Ball Music Festival in NYC
- Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival
- Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores Alabama
A few of our other bucket list festivals throughout the world include Oktoberfest in Germany, La Tomatina in Spain, and Holi Festival in India.
While not all festivals will have such strict guidelines, our suggestions for safety, packing, and staying hydrated can apply to all!!
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Until next time friends,