Festival season. Two of the most beautiful words in the English language, ones which bring music to my ears (see what I did there?).
Festivals can be fun, amazing, and life-changing experiences, but they take a lot of work and planning. Preparing to be out and about all day shouldn’t be taken lightly, so I’ve put together my own little list of what you need in order to be adequately prepared for a day of music and dancing.
1. SUN STUFF
Sunblock. Bring it. Make sure to check the rules on sizes and whether they allow sprays vs lotions. You do not want security to take your sunblock because you brought the wrong kind. And a hat, if hats are your thing. But as Baz Luhrmann said in that weird song that was cool while I was in high school, “trust me on the sunscreen.”
Sunglasses help block your eyes from the sun, but they also help block your eyes from overly aggressive light shows. I can frequently be found dancing to indoor shows with sunglasses on, not because I want to look cool, but because my eyes are really sensitive to light and sometimes I can’t handle the strobes and lasers. I do look pretty cool though with them on. Let’s be honest.
Again, check the rules. Some festivals allow empty water bottles. Some allow factory-sealed ones. Most allow empty Camelbaks. But whatever you do, BRING WATER. Do not wait until you’ve finally gotten to the front of the crowd in anticipation of the artist coming on next and then realize you’re overheating to think about getting water. Always have water on you.
PRO TIP: if you aren’t bringing a water source, bring a Poland Spring bottle cap with you. Many festivals will sell you bottles of water but will take away the cap because they don’t want you to use it as a projectile. Not having a cap on your water is terrible. Bring one. Only once has my bottle cap not fit the bottles they sell there. (This is a good tip for regular concerts too, not just festivals.)
PRO TIP2: Don’t use a water bottle as a projectile, you jerk. Be cool. In fact, don’t throw anything, unless it’s a beach ball.
3. BATHROOM DE-GROSSIFYING THINGS
Ladies! Wad up some toilet paper and put it in your purse. Port-a-potties run out pretty quickly and having some on you will make having to pee in one of those smelly ovens a little less awful. Also, Purell is wonderful to have if they let you bring it in. They don’t always.
PRO TIP: If you’re using Purell bottles to sneak in alcohol (which I assume is the reason my Purell has been confiscated before), seek help. Because that is disgusting.
Baby wipes are awesome. I’ve never brought these into a festival with me but may start doing this going forward.
4. WARM STUFF
Bring a sweatshirt. Seriously. BRING. A. SWEATSHIRT. It doesn’t matter where you are or that it was 90 degrees during the day. The vast majority of festivals cool down at night and remember how much this winter sucked? Being cold is the worst. Do not depend on dancing to keep you warm. Yes, it will be annoying to carry around during the day when it’s hot, but you’ll thank me later. So will your mom because she doesn’t want you catching a cold.
5. ONE FUN THING
Always have a fun thing on you. For no real reason. Lots of people choose to bring those prism glasses that refract the light into rainbows. I sometimes bring around my Toroflux or some bubbles. Toys are good conversation starters and good things to play with when you’re bored in between sets.
6. PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER
Get one. This will be your savior. Do not rely on charging stations, which are as mythical and rare and elusive as unicorns. If your phone dies you won’t be able to Snapchat your favorite songs to all your friends back home who don’t care!
It doesn’t matter if the festival says they take credit cards. It doesn’t matter if they say they’re functioning on a cashless system where you only pay with money pre-loaded onto your wristband. Just bring cash, people. Cash is king. Pretty sure my accounting professor said that. He was a very smart man.
PRO TIP: If your festival DOES function on a cashless system, load money onto your bracelet at home. You know who wants to wait in the never-ending line to add money to your wristband? No one.
Chapstick. A hair tie. A band-aid or two. Earplugs.
Festival people – what am I missing? What can you not leave home without?