Music Festivals are a staple in many summer cultures. Preparing for your first couple of music festivals can be very hectic and you can learn a lot of things the hard way. This is my personal music festival packing guide that I have found works best over the past several years of festivals I’ve attended around the world.
Important: everything you bring into the festival, please bring out with you. Do not leave your broken tent, easy-up, food, or anything else at your campsite when you leave. I’m serious.
The Bare Essentials
Below is a list of essential items that I bring with me to every festival. Forgetting any of these, in my opinion, will make your life much more difficult.
- 1 government photo ID
- Plenty of cash – most places do take credit cards but everyone takes cash
- Your festival ticket or wristband – make sure you don’t need internet access for the ticket
- 1 camelbak or reusable water bottle
- Flashlight(s) and lantern(s)
Before heading to any sort of festival, these are the clothes I make sure that I have. Remember here, these clothes will most likely get dirty or possibly lost, so try not to bring anything you will get attached to.
- A pair of fresh underwear for every day you’re there and then plus one.
- Use the same advice for socks as underwear
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 hat – the sun is brutal out there
- 1 pair of jeans/pants
- 2 t-shirts
- 1 long sleeve shirt or flannel
- 1 poncho or rain jacket
- 1 hoodie
- 2 pairs of shorts – maybe one of them to sleep in
- 1 pair of cheap sunglasses
- 1 (microfiber) towel
- Some Dr. Scholls or equalivant foot pads – you will thank me later
- Bandanna – useful for dusty venues, sweat bands, and shade from the sun
- 1 pair of flip flops – mostly used for around the campsite or the public showers
- 1 pair of tennis shoes/runners – make sure they are comfortable to be in for hours
- 1 pair of rain boots
- 1 pair of backup shoes – these cna be rain boots or another pair of shoes just in case something happens to the first pair. Personally, I usually bring a second pair I don’t care about getting muddy.
- 1 toothbrush/toothpaste/mouth wash – sometimes it’s too tiring/difficult to brush your teeth before bed.
- 1 bottle of sunscreen
- 1 pack of baby wipes
- 1 bottle of shampoo/conditioner (dry shampoo is your best friend at festivals)
- 1 deodorant or lemon(s) if you’re into the whole natural thing
- Imodium – festival food can mess you up
- 1 bottle of hand sanitizer – it gets gross out there
- Bug spray
- 1 roll of toilet paper
- Daily vitamins
- Baby powder/ gold bond
- Don’t forget your hair essentials such as elastics and brushes
- Personal medication – please don’t be stupid here. Make sure the label has your name, is the medicine described, and not an excess amount. Music festivals are really cracking down on this.
Other Important Items
- 1 rechargeable battery – electricity is usually scarce.
- 1 hand or electric fan
- A wristwatch – phones get lost or battery dies
- 1 pair of earplugs – seriously protect your hears and helps you sleep at night
- Variety of plastic baggies (zip-locks, trash bags, and grocery) – useful for organization, dirty clothes, or if the rain comes
- 1 day pack or camelbak
- A blanket to sit on
- Test kit – if you’re going to buy anything, please please test it
- Jump cables – you have no idea how many car batteries die at festivals
- Your own personal drinking cup aside from a water bottle
- A multi tool
- Hand warmers if it’s cold
- Paper towels
Camping Gear List
- 1 – 2 tarps – these guys save lives for either rain or making shade
- 1 tent – make sure to set it up before you ger there, you could be missing parts
- 1 easy-up if allowed – the more shade the better
- 1 sleeping bag per person.
- Sleeping mats or air mattress – don’t forget the pump!
- 1 headlamp – check the batteries!
- 1 flag for your tent – it can be hard to find your tent as festival grounds fill up or day turns into night
- 1 folding chair per person
Cooking gear (if allowed)
- 1 portable cooking stove/stand
- Biodegradable dish soap
- 1 scrubby to clean the dishes
- 1 pot
- 1 frying pan
- 1 can opener – this is often forgotten
- Picnic plates, bowls, cups, and silverware – please don’t use plastic to just throw away
- 1 spatula
- A chopping knife / cutting board if needed
- 1 microfiber towel to dry dishes
Food & Beverage
While every festival will provide it’s own food, it is essential to bring some type of food and beverage with you to a festival. Making a meal plan before you go will help you properly pack your festival kitchen kit also.
- Bring heaps of water – try to bring in as large containers as possible. Don’t litter the place with small water bottles
- Nonperishable snacks – granola bars, bags of chips, some candy (be careful of melting), trail mix, etc.
- Trash bags – clean up that mess
- Some sort of electrolyte powder replenisher and drink these throughout the day. Check out Endurolytes Fizz by Hammer Nutrition or something similar. These things save you a hangover and keep you going.
- Ice – prepack as it will be expensive once you’re in the grounds
- Juice for the morning
- Raw veggies and dip – my personal favorite is hummus
Stovetop Cooking Items – try not to cook anything with a ton of grease. This can become difficult to clean and dispose of.
- Eggs – perfect staple for breakfast
- Rice based meals
- Canned soups
- Spray cooking oil
- Instant coffee or tea
Going the Extra Mile
These are things that are not essential but will make your festival experience much better.
- An inflatable couch
- A rope – used for clothes line or make shade with a tarp
- Febreeze – spray on your clothes or gently in your tent
- Portable speaker – just don’t annoy your neighbors please
- Small washing big for cooking items
- Collapsible wagon – especially useful if you’re not car camping
Festival Fun Items
- Stickers or glitter tattoos
- Rolling papers – everyone needs them
- Body paint
Leave These At Home
- Your totem – I know you want to find your friends and vice versa, but these things really do suck
- Anything in glass – most festivals won’t allow this anyways
- Anything the festival hast listed as a banned item
After checking your list and making sure everything is packed, go ahead and read these music festival tips I posted about.