Festival season is in full swing. SXSW took place in March, The first and second weekends of Coachella have come and gone, Sasquatch Music Festival (WHICH I WILL BE ATTENDING THIS YEAR!!1!) takes place during Memorial Day weekend, Bonaroo & Lollapalooza are happening later this summer, and Bumbershoot takes place Labor Day Weekend.
I love music festivals. This will be my third year attending Sasquatch, and I am beyond excited. Music festivals are amazing because people from all over the world come together for a weekend full of good times, good company, and good music! Because this is my third festival, I do have a little bit of experience under my belt, and today I thought I'd share with you my Top 10 Music Festival Essentials.
I should mention that these are the essentials for the actual festival grounds, this is not a full packing list.
TOP 10 | MUSIC FESTIVAL ESSENTIALS
1) Sunscreen: Sunscreen might seem like common sense, but I feel like it's worth mentioning anyway. If you're going to be at a festival like Sasquatch, you're going to be in the hot sun all day long. One mistake I made my first year of Sasquatch was not bringing ENOUGH sunscreen. I brought a few travel size tubes and not only did I get really sunburned, I also had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get a full-size bottle from the store on-site.
2) Sunglasses: Again, I feel like this is common sense, but trust me, these are extremely important to bring. I don't advise bringing an expensive pair of sunglasses, because the likelihood of you losing them is extremely high (which is why you should also bring a backup pair, just in case), but make sure the sunglasses you bring have UV protection! The same year I didn't bring enough sunscreen, I also wore cheap sunglasses that didn't have UV protection & I'm pretty sure my eyeballs got sunburned, too! My eyes were bloodshot, they felt like they were stinging, they were really sensitive to the light, and they were watering UNCONTROLLABLY! It was terrible. Here is a photo of me trying to manage my sunburned eyes, courtesy of my friend Sundi.
3) Portable USB charger: If you are going to be camping at your music festival like I am, you can count on there being a very limited number of outlets to charge your electronics within your campgrounds. There might be charging stations in the festival grounds, but people will be fighting for those outlets. Save yourself the hassle and invest in a portable USB charger so you can charge your devices on the go. You and your friends will be happy you did. I got this one from Amazon, and it claims to be able to charge an iphone 4-5 times, so this will come in very handy.
4) Long Zoom Camera w/extra battery & SD card: Festivals usually don't allow you to bring DSLR cameras into the festival grounds, so if you're thinking about getting a camera before going to a festival, I suggest investing in a point and shoot with a long zoom. I understand the appeal of having a slim digital camera, but it's way worth it to get a little bit of a bulkier camera that takes better quality photos from farther away. I also recommend getting an extra battery and an extra SD card. You're going to be taking a lot of photos & video footage over the weekend, and like I said, your options for charging devices will likely be limited. If you have an extra battery, you wont have to worry too much about conserving it. I mention the extra SD card because you don't want to run out of room on one card and have to go through your photos/videos and to choose which ones to delete.
5) Hand Sanitizer or Sanitizing Wipes: Music festivals aren't exactly super sanitary. Depending on the festival you're attending, there will likely be thousands of people roaming around the festival grounds, touching things, then touching other things, that you will eventually touch, too. Festivals also usually utilize "Honey Buckets" or porta-pottys and the washing stations are often out of soap or sanitizer, so I certainly think it's worth bringing your own travel size sanitizer.
6) Water bottle: You're going to be in the hot sun all day, walking around, dancing, and if you're of legal age, you'll probably be drinking some adult beverages, so staying hydrated at a festival is extremely important. I know at Sasquatch Music Festival, they only allow you to bring in one factory sealed water bottle, so I recommend bringing in an empty, refillable water bottle that you can fill up at a water fountain. That one factory sealed water bottle will not be enough and water bottles inside the festival grounds are extremely expensive.
7) Snacks: Just the same as water bottles, food inside the festival grounds is extremely expensive. I suggest packing food you can snack on throughout the day. My friends and I usually bring things like sandwiches, granola bars, chips, fruit like apples and oranges, trail mix, etc.
8) Blanket or Towel to Sit on: - At some point you're probably going to sit down and enjoy a set. The Blanket or Towel is nice because you don't have to sit directly on wet grass or dirt.
9) Change of Clothes: At a festival like Sasquatch, it can get pretty hot during the day, but once the sun goes down, it can get pretty cold and windy, and artists usually perform pretty late into the night. Plus, weather at the Gorge can be pretty unpredictable, and you want to be prepared if it starts raining. I recommend bringing a pair of pants, like sweatpants or jeans, as well as a rain jacket and/or a hoodie that you can put on over whatever outfit you wore during the day.
10) Backpack (or cross-body bag): You're going to need a bag to carry everything into the festival grounds, and I recommend a bag that 1) is going to keep your stuff safe and 2) is going to allow you to be hands free. I personally prefer carrying a regular backpack that has several zip pockets so I know things won't fall out of my bag. The last time I went to Sasquatch, I wore a zip backpack the whole time, until the last day, I switched over to a canvas tote. BIG MISTAKE. The tote didn't have any zip or magnetic closure and I ended up losing my digital camera and all my footage from the festival forever! It's also nice to be hands free so you can dance around, take photos, or double-fist really overpriced beer.
Those are my Top 10 Festival Essentials. I hope you found this helpful in some way. If there is anything I didn't include that you consider a festival essential, let me know what it is!