What to Pack for a Music Festival

By Ashley Wirgau on July, 14 2023
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Ashley Wirgau

Summer is in full effect and so are the music festivals. Weekend concerts and multi-day shows are popping up all over the country, so you better get while the getting is good. Pumpkin spice season is right around the corner, you know.

But before you rush out to take in the latest headliner and a handful of up and comers, take a moment to peek in your overnight bag and make sure you’ve got everything covered. Once the music starts and you hit the pit, there’s no turning back to grab a toothbrush.


Better Bring the Basics

Start with the essentials. Whatever you would pack for an overnight should definitely make the cut. Whether you are camping on site or crashing at a nearby hotel, you are going to need some necessities. Socks, underwear, cash, a pillow, a comb, deodorant (lots of deodorant), and yes, a toothbrush.


Sprays & More Sprays

While music festivals are mostly fun, there are still some elements to contend with. The summer heat, UV rays and, mostly likely, a few bugs will show up to rock on right beside you. Stock up on various levels of sunscreen for protection, and pack at least one canister of bug spray should the black flies or mosquitoes decide to crash the party. Antiseptic sprays and a basic first aid kit are also good ideas in the event someone gets injured. Finally, you might also consider bringing along a portable mister to keep you cool and comfortable in the peak hours of sun.


An Extreme Fashion Sense

Music festivals are a time to see and be seen. As such, concert goers like to bring their fashion A-game. Yes, there will always be the die-hards in the vintage band T-shirt and Birkenstocks, but for a lot of attendees, their outfit selections are part of the show. This is your chance to be creative and take risks. You will always find somebody in the crowd more “out there” than you, so let your freak flag fly. This is your time to shine.


All the Outdoor Gear

Weather can be pretty unpredictable these days, so even if the forecast promises clear skies and 80 degrees, it is best to come prepared. Jackets and blankets are a good start in case the temps drop or evenings end up cooler than you had planned. Rain gear is also a must. Pack an umbrella, a poncho, and some waterproof shoes like a pair of durable flip-flops, Crocs or rain boots just in case. When the rain comes, the mud follows, so the sturdier, the better.


Ear Plugs

No. Seriously. At some point, you have to sleep, and sound travels pretty far. Whether you need to block out the never-ending shows or just the neighboring tent, a pair of ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones will help you take a break from all of the stimulation (and can also get you caught up on your Podcasts). And depending on where you land during the show, you might need them just to dial down the noise for a bit after hours upon hours of concerts.


Nourishment and Lots of Hydration!

You are going to need snacks…lots of snacks…and probably the fixings for a few actual meals. There will most likely be plenty of food vendors and alcoholic options available, but the lines can be long and the choices limited. Pack a well-insulated cooler with a variety of nutritious snacks (think fruits, vegetables and protein) and, of course, a good assortment of carbs to help soak up the beer should you choose to partake.


But most importantly, if remember nothing else, you must stay hydrated. Pack a case of water, and bring in a large, insulated container reserved solely for H2O. This will help keep you cool in extreme heat and maintain appropriate hydration levels throughout the event.


All the Friends You Can Find

Festivals are a great opportunity to meet people and make friends, but they should not be attended alone. Make sure to bring a friend or two (or seven) to help ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd or overwhelmed and in need of a break back at the tent. Don’t make the journey solo. Use the trusty buddy system and stick together, whether it’s to the line of port-a-potties or a walk to the campsite.


An Open Mind

Multi-day concerts can be exhausting, and not everything may go as planned. This is why an open mind and flexibility are key qualities to bring along with you, as well. One of the headliners might cancel at the last minute, you could end up with crummy seats for your favorite band, or a thunderstorm might roll through and demolish an entire afternoon line-up. Regardless of what pops up, you will ensure you still have the very best time if you pack a positive mindset next to that extra pair of shoes. Prepare yourself ahead of time to see the festival for what it is – a chance to get out there and enjoy wherever the music takes you.


Yes, the legwork to prepare for a festival takes a bit of time and some forethought. Once you’ve gathered up all of the essentials, though, it’s should be smooth sailing right into that final show.