In the past year I have been fortunate enough to attend two music festivals–Bonnaroo in Tennessee and the first ever Firefly festival in Delaware. Music festivals are a ton of fun, but they can also be ruined if you fail to plan well.
For example, I always overpack, but for last summer’s trip to Bonnaroo, I managed to dehydrate myself the first day resulting in a feeling of grogginess that lasted me the entire time. So when I packed for Firefly this summer, I knew that I had to be prepared for anything, especially because I was going to spend 20 hours volunteering.
Just in case you have the opportunity to camp at a music festival in the near future, I want to share a list of essentials to pack so that you will not only enjoy camping, but you’ll feel great when you get to be front row for your favorite bands.
1) Water- It’s a no-brainer obviously, but you have to take this seriously. The last thing you want is to secure a good spot waiting for a headliner just to realize you have no water to keep you hydrated. Always have at least one full bottle on you and an empty one in case the festival has water fill-up stations.
2) Cooler- Nothing is worse than drinking boiling beer and trying to stomach mushy PB&Js. At least a day before the festival, fill up some ziploc bags with water and store them in the freezer and start saving ice cubes for cold drinks. Once you have a good amount of “ice bricks,” you’ll at least guarantee any food can stay fresh for a day in your cooler. Many festivals have stores on the campgrounds to purchase ice from, and I highly recommend refilling your cooler each day. Some people also suggest dry ice, but it doesn’t take too much effort to keep your cooler full of regular ice.
3) Wipes-Chances are you won’t want to spend any extra time looking for the showers. Pack some wipes to carry in your bag, so if you start to feel a little gross you can at least clean up on the spot. I like to use wipes that are advertised for use on the face so when I start to sweat I can feel refreshed. It also helps to bring a bucket, soap and sponges onto your campground if you are looking for the closest thing to a shower. Once you feel manageably clean, you’ll be more excited to stand out in a crowd.
4) Comfortable shoes-While it’s nice to show off your newest pair of shoes, think twice when packing footwear for a fest. You’ll be spending a lot of time standing and walking around, so avoid shoes with no support. While flip-flops are easy to wear, they may not keep your feet comfortable after a long day. They may be perfect for walking around your campsite, but before you walk into the festival area pick a reliable shoe that will hold up all day. You don’t want to have to trek back to your campsite just to make a shoe change.
5) An open mind-So this isn’t quite an item you can buy at Target, but this might be the most important thing on the list. Before you head off to your festival, don’t assume you can plan everything out perfectly. For all you know the weather may change and a storm may drown out your original plans. Be ready for anything to happen and don’t force yourself to see every single band. I recommend choosing a few bands that you really want to see close up. If you aren’t a diehard fan, you can still sit down, listen to music, and have a great time.
With these five items, you are on your way to having a great time at your next music festival. And if you are still searching for a music festival worth attending check out Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza, and Electric Zoo.