Outdoor Summer Concert Essentials

By Lauren Caggiano on June, 17 2022
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Lauren Caggiano

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based copywriter and editor with a nerdy passion for AP Style. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, thrift shopping, fitness and travel. Learn more on her website:

We love a good outdoor concert here at Ruoff. (Hello, summer bucket list!) Then again, we’re biased, as our name is on the largest amphitheater in the Indianapolis area.


As you probably know, an outdoor music festival is a completely different experience than a small intimate show, or even an arena show. That said, you want to ensure you’re prepared so you can enjoy the show in comfort and with safety in mind.


“Travel” wallet/fanny pack and cash — Don’t bring your whole wallet to an event when you can downsize. Instead, focus on the essentials — driver’s license, tickets and cash. It’s always prudent to have at least $20 at any given time on hand for incidentals. While Ruoff is a cashless venue, it’s always good practice to have an alternative to a card payment in case you need to reimburse a friend for expenses.


Backup charger – Concerts can drain your battery. It’s very likely you’ll be using your phone to provide directions to the concert, take lots of pictures, text friends to meet up and upload content to social media. Bring along a small portable backup charger so you don’t end up with a dead battery.


First aid kit – Festivals mean large crowds, which means accidents happen. Stash a small first aid kit in your bag in the event of any incidents.


Throat lozenges – Singing, screaming, and cheering might be fun in the moment but they can cost you your voice. Even if you’re on the quiet side, several hours outside may leave you parched. Throat lozenges can be your secret weapon.


Sunglasses – Many music festivals and concerts offer hours of fun. You don’t want to miss your favorite band because the sun is glaring down into your eyes and blinding you. Plus, sunglasses with UV protection can help prevent damage to your eyes and skin.


Sunblock – Speaking of the sun, no matter the weather you can be exposed to the sun’s dangerous rays. Be sure to get a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF — per the American Dermatology Association (ADA) — and apply generously every few hours.


Bug spray – There’s no shortage of bugs on a hot summer day. Mosquitoes are the worst! Keep them at bay by having a small can or tube of bug repellent with you.


Hat – Just like wearing sunglasses and sunscreen are good practices, a hat offers the same value proposition. A wide-brimmed one will provide the most coverage, but a baseball cap is better than nothing.


Clothing – While you might be tempted to show up in style, this isn’t the occasion to prioritize fashion. Instead, think practicality and wear loose, lightweight articles. White shirts are ideal for a super-hot day.


If it’s going to be super hot, don’t wear a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. If rain is in the forecast, be sure you dress in layers so you aren’t miserable. If you are going to an event that goes late into the evening, be aware of temperature changes. It can get chilly when the sun goes down. So keep a sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt on hand. Don't forget to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. Open-toes shoes aren’t a great idea in crowds, as someone might step on your toes. Ouch!


Rain poncho – Rain isn’t fun but it’s a possibility as far summer shows are concerned. The good news is that rain ponchos are super cheap and easy to store. and they’ll keep you from getting soaked.


Blanket – Keep a blanket in your bag so you can sprawl out and enjoy the show.


Hand sanitizer – Your mom was right — keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or even on your belt loop. Bathrooms and porta-johns don’t always have handwashing stations, so you want to have a plan b.


Tissues – Portable toilets may not have toilet paper. Keep a travel-size package of tissues on you and you won’t have to worry about having to deal with the unpleasant experience of having to ask for TP.


Baby wipes – A multi-use essential, baby wipes are a great way to clean sticky hands, dirty faces and other minor messes. Plus, they can have a cooling effect.


Food and snacks – Food and snacks at a venue can add up fast. And who wants to stand un line? Plus, choices can be somewhat limited for some with dietary preferences or restrictions. If the venue permits concertgoers to bring in food, bringing in your own food and snacks can save you time and money.


If you do plan to bring snacks, be sure to bring things that don’t require prep or will melt easily. Popular items include granola bars, dried fruit, protein bars, chips, pretzels and sandwiches.


Towel – Keep a beach towel in your car for the same reason you should bring a rain poncho. Getting drenched during a walk to the car may be refreshing for a hot second, but not great when you have a long car ride ahead of you.


Change of shoes and socks – Keep a second pair of shoes and socks in the car. If it does rain you don’t want to be stuck in soggy shoes and socks.


Kitchen size trash bag – Keep a medium-sized trash bag in your car. If it rains you now have a place to put all of the wet items and you’ll keep your car dry. Easy peasy!


On the note of preparation, Ruoff Music Center will continue to ensure they’re meeting or exceeding the latest guidelines from local government and public health officials as regulations continue to evolve. However, check the specific event page for the latest entry requirement details ahead of arriving to the venue for your show. Ticket purchasers will also receive direct emails with important information leading up to the show. The requirements and venue protocols (such as masking, testing and vaccination) are subject to change, so be sure to check back closer to your event date for the latest information. You can see a list of the venue policies here.


Here’s to a summer to remember!