The Essential Music Festival Packing List!

The Essential Music Festival Packing List!

Almost a week has passed since Firefly Music Festival took over Dover, Delaware but that doesn’t mean that festival season is over. While the east coast seems to be simmered down after Firefly, Bonnaroo, and Governors Ball, music fans everywhere still have some partying left in them. For US based festivals, options range from Summerfest in July, to Lollapalooza  and Made In America in August. If you are more of a world explorer, you have plenty of options available as well! No matter when you are headed to your next festival (or even your first), it is essential to know what to pack.  Even if you are all festivaled out for 2013 this is a great compilation of what to bring for the next time you gather with tens of thousands of people in the woods to listen to some music.


music festival
(Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
While hygiene is a loose term while at a music festival, the point is every little bit helps.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Even the .01% of germs left will be more than enough to keep you sufficiently gross.
  • Distilled Water: There is still too much debate about whether or not it is ideal to drink, but either way you can use it for plenty of other things. Cleaning your hands and pouring it over your hair are great examples of things that this purified water can be used for.
  • Sunscreen: Bring a lot of it, and make sure it’s high SPF. Even if you bring SPF 100 you will still get a tan, but we would recommend SPF 30 or 50. Reapply every few hours and make sure you bring it into the festival with you. And if you forget to apply it one day…
  • Aloe Vera: Seriously, there will always be that one person who gets sunburn on their shoulders. Be the hero and bring some liquid gold in a bottle.
  • Bug Spray: By the end of the trip your smell will have a trail of friends following you, make sure they don’t bite.
  • Deodorant: It’s the least you could do.
  • Tooth Brush/Mouthwash
  • Paper Towels- For all spills as well as drying your hands.
  • Lysol Wipes- You can only disinfect so much, but when (not if) things get gross you will appreciate them.
  • Toilet Paper/ Baby Wipes- We would say just bring the second one to feel a little more refreshed but it’s your call.


  • Gold Bond: We don’t really have to go into why, but let’s just say you do not want to leave it at home.
  • Body Spray/Febreeze: This one can go for either gender but Women will probably find their way into those $5 showers at some point during the festival while we attempt to “rough it.” Do everyone a favor and at least spritz it up a little bit.


  • -P-Mate’s: Multiple girls at Firefly swore by these this year. They essentially let a girl easily stand and pee, which for obvious reasons might be preferred to the porter potties.
  • -*Products*: Most festivals will have a stand-up Walgreens or something of the sort but rather than buying overpriced products, you are better off simply coming prepared in the first place.
  • -Shampoo/Conditioner/Spa Package: However ‘clean’ you plan on staying is entirely up to you. Don’t overload the already packed car with fifteen bags of face scrub, but bring what will keep you comfortable.


music festival
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
This section is assuming you are going to a festival that allows camping (Firefly or Bonaroo for example).
  • Tent: Although some people would actually elect to sleep outside on a cot, if the elements aren’t your friends some pitchin’ may be in order.  Make sure you figure out who is in each tent before you pack too many (or not enough) tents for the trip!
  • Canopy: Shade is your friend. While you may tell yourself you will spend no time at the campsite in the morning, your group will wake up at different times and probably take a few hours to get ready if you have girls with you (see above “Hygiene” section). The last thing you need is to be burning up for first few hours of your day, especially because it is going to be very hot when you wake up in that tent.
  • Chairs: While you shouldn’t (and probably can’t) bring them into the festival itself, you will appreciate a place to rest your feet after standing for 8-12 hours every day.
  • Sleeping Bags/Air Mattress/ 500 Threat Count pillows: This all depends on your preferences. If you are a heavy sleeper that can fall asleep standing on your head in a hurricane,  a pillow and sleeping bag will suffice. For the sleeping beauty types, a little more accommodations may be more your style. Make sure your sleeping area fits in the tent without making it uncomfortable for everyone else and remember you aren’t in a five-star hotel (well unless…) but rather camping for a few days, so at least try to make some sacrifices.
  • Grill: Depending on the rules for your festival a grill may be a great idea. It’s a very inexpensive way to eat throughout the festival and will quickly make you friends all over the campgrounds. Remember that if you bring a grill you also need: Cleaning utensils (that burger tastes an awful lot like salmon), a spatula , plates, coals and condiments.

The Important Stuff:

music festival

  • Plenty of socks: Wet soaks aren’t fun.
  • Plan for a shirt every day and for a pair of shorts to last two days.
  • Comfortable Sneakers: No converse, no sandals. Wear something that is comfortable to stand in for hours at a time and will protect your feet from any jumping hipster around you.
  • Snacks: If you aren’t grilling, you will want plenty of snacks throughout the day. Be careful with festival rules though! I had delicious pistachio muffins confiscated from me as I entered the security check, but was allowed to keep granola bars. You may need to get creative with ways to hide your food but you should bring some either way. Granola bars and other quick snacks are ideal for midday hunger pains and if you are camping chips and dip or chex mix are a great idea.
  • Camelback. We can not stress how awesome these are. First of all the water refilling stations are going to be extremely long for the entire festival, and also you do not want to be carrying a bottle while jamming out to your favorite bands. We recommend ones that come with an included backpack (this is the one I used which was both affordable and extremely handy)so you can kill two birds with one stone, but any variety will due you good. 2 liters or more is ideal. (*Bonus* These offer a great hiding spot for ‘other’ things as well.)
  • Bandanna: These feel incredible if you dip them in water.
  • Drinks: Especially if you had a long night the night before,  Gatorade will really come in handy. If you plan on bringing alcohol, make sure to bring mixers for that as well.
  • Alcohol and *Stuff*:  We aren’t going to get into what that stuff is, but some people insist on doing certain things at festivals and if you don’t want to wake up in the first aid tent we advise you bring whatever you want with you as opposed to searching for it at the festival. As far as alcohol goes, you will either have to hide it well or only drink it at your campsite, considering most festivals want you to buy it on-site. (*Bonus*: Always drink responsibly and if you are of legal age, you want it to be a fun weekend, not a nightmare).
  • Phone Car Charger: While there probably are charging stations at the festival, chances are the lines are long. We personally recommend forgetting to be a millennial for a few days and keeping the phone off, but make sure to bring it for an emergency. Emergencies *do* include getting lost during MGMT. Whether you are camping [by your car] or have your car parked outside of the entrance, you should have a charger on you. (*Bonus*: To conserve battery turn off Push mail and set Fetch to manual, turn off LED flash alerts, lower your brightness, close any apps open in background, and keep phone on airplane mode when not using]
  • Cash: You want to bring plenty of money with you. While there will be ATMs, they often will run out of money and have long lines as well.
  • Ponchos: The rain actually will be a welcome feeling after all of the sweat, but if it starts to come down a little too hard, make sure to bring some protective cover.

What not to bring:

  • Explosives, Weapons, and all that other illegal stuff.
  • Pets
  • Small Children (or any children)
  • Sunglasses (they will get ruined anyway)
  • Glass
  • Any other dangerous things

What are your must have items at a music festival?



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