Being prepared for a music festival is the difference between having a good time and having an amazing, life changing time. This list is based off what you can fit in a 4 door sedan with two people driving in.
So lets go over some stuff.
First things first, what are the physical essentials every person should bring?
- Reusable Water Bottle/Camelbak – hydration is key. No need to bring 300 water bottles with you, maybe pack one case for camp, but when you’re inside the fest nothing is better than saving $5 on a bottle of water. You can get one from Walgreens or Target for like $10. Sometimes the water isn’t the best tasting thing on Earth. I like to get a thing of powdered Gatorade or some type of flavored electrolyte (it’s what plants crave) or something similar. Getting those electrolytes will help you stay energized throughout the day.
- Baby Wipes – Trust me, this is almost as important as water. When you get back to camp after a long day of dancing and sweating, but you can’t get the energy together to hike to shower, this is the next best thing. Also porta potties, they get rough, people piss on the toilet paper (not really sure why), so it’s a nice little luxury to have. Plus one ply stuff does nothing to help clean up the 5 Gouda Boy egg rolls you decided to eat that day.
- Cooler- This is kind of a no brainer. You’re bringing food, you’re bringing drinks. Keep that shit cold. I suggest bringing one cooler for just ice, get two things of dry ice and put them in the middle. The other cooler put food and drinks in, add ice as needed. By day three you should still have some nice ice to be moving cooler to cooler.
- Hand Sanitizer – Music festivals are dirty. We sweat, we lay on the ground, we sweat some more, we go into porta potties, we sweat in there. Grab a few small ones and give them to your group.
- Tent or EZ up with Cots – Tents get hot, like really , really hot as soon as the sun comes up. You will wake up covered in sweat. So I personally suggest an EZ up or something similar with some tapestries or tarps for shade.Get yourself a cot or an air mattress and sleep on that. You’ll thank me when you sleep past 7am.
- Chairs – Some fold up camping chairs. They’re chairs, you know what to do with them
Ok, so you have some shelter and water, your hands and the rest of your body is cleanish. What about food? If you plan on cooking a lot, make sure your camp (and the festival) can support it. If your like most festival goers, you will have a cooler with some foods and some non perishables. Obviously your list will vary from mine, but these are my go tos music festival foods.
- Uncrustbales/PBJ Sammies – I live off these things. They’re cheap, require minimum prep, have carbs, protein and they’re delicious. If you’re making your own sandwich, please use potato bread, there’s no reason not to.
- Beef Jerky – Doesn’t go bad, doesn’t take any prep, delicious.
- Trail Mix/Chips/Other Delicious Snacks- Great to snack on at camp, bring some little sand which bags to bring in side so you have some good power ups during the day.
- Gum/Starburst/Jolly Ranchers – Anything sweet, it’s great to enjoy in between sets. Sharing is caring, hand out some stuff to people around you when waiting for the next band. Great way to meet people and share the love.
- Bread/Lunch Meat – Sammies guys, it’s key. Cheap, easy to make, easy to bring inside. Potato bread.
- Beer/Liquor (If you drink) – I am guilty of bringing wayyyyy too much beer every year. Bring around 15 beers per person for a 4 day fest, unless you are very thirsty, then bring more.
So what about non essentials? Extra stuff to add to your experience/comfort. I’m not talking about drugs, we all know there are no drugs at music festivals. Don’t ask people about it on social media, they will tell you the same thing.
- Disposable Camera – They’re nice and cheap, physical pictures are awesome.
- Pedialite/Emergen C- We push our bodies more than on a normal day. This will help you get back to normal in the morning
- Advil/Tums – Headaches and heartburn happen, be prepared. You don’t want something simple to mess up your day.
- Cigarettes – If you’re a smoker make sure you bring enough to last you. You’ll probably smoke more than you would on a normal day. You don’t want to but a pack inside (usually around $15-20).
- Sunglasses/Sunblock – Do you like staring into the sun? No? Do you like feeling like a you accidentally laid in a fire? Me either.
- Baby Powder – Just do it.
- Comfy Shoes – I’m a barefoot or flip flop guy on any other day. At music festivals make sure you have a good pair of shoes. Your back, your feet and your legs will thank you.
- Bandanna – Not just to help protect you from the sun, but to keep that dust away. Festivals get dusty! You will breath it in, you will get sick afterwards. Last year at Roo was the first time I made a conscious effort to put a bandanna over my mouth/nose throughout the day. It saved my life. No festival flu. Amazing.
So obviously this isn’t a complete list, even though I’ve been to a decent amount of festivals I always check the list below before going. Print it out, give it to your friends and make sure each other are prepared. This is a marathon, not a race. Give your body food, give it water, take naps, sleep, rest, dance. Get your body ready guys, try and do some walking/exercise a few weeks prior. Before you go out for the day do some stretching.