Updated on March 5, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
Music festivals are an awesome way to spend time jamming with your friends and maybe even exploring a new part of the world.
Festivals come in all shapes and sizes, with music of all types, ranging from indie rock, classic rock, and world music to hip hop, jazz, americana and bluegrass. Be prepared for this year’s lineup of festivals by checking out this go-to festival packing list including what to wear at music festivals, what NOT to bring and other FAQs.
What to Pack for Music Festivals – 17 Essentials
1. Neck Wallet
When you’re somewhere as crowded as a music festival, there’s no doubt you’ll want to keep your valuables organized and secure. Use this neck wallet to keep your smartphone, cash, credit cards, and passport safe by wearing it conveniently under your clothes so you can enjoy the festival without worrying about losing your stuff.
Any sort of festival is going to require a lot of standing, walking and dancing! Make sure to wear a super comfortable pair of shoes that you wouldn’t mind ruining so that you can jam out without your feet killing you. These sneakers have awesome reviews and are very colorful – perfect festival gear.
These are a no-brainer to bring to a festival. Especially if you’re camping out, you likely won’t have access to a shower, and after a day of partying, dancing, and sweating in the hot sun, you’ll be ready to freshen up. These deodorant wipes are perfect for a quick refresh when other options aren’t available.
Especially if you’re traveling far from home for a festival, you won’t want to overpack and be stuck dragging around tons of luggage. Stay organized and avoid overpacking by using packing cubes! This set comes in a variety of fun colors and includes cubes in different sizes to suit your needs.
Any outdoor festival can dehydrate you really quickly. Between drinking beers and sweating in the sun, you’ll need to consume LOTS of water. Especially if you’re going to a multi-day music festival, the rule of thumb is one gallon per day per person. Wear this convenient Camelbak water pack around to keep you hydrated throughout the festival.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to hackers when you connect to WiFi in public places! By turning on your VPN when you connect to WiFi, you’ll instantly protect your sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers from anyone attempting to steal your information. If you’re visiting a foreign country, this will also guarantee you access to sites from home that may be censored in your host country.
Needless to say, outlets can be hard to find at outdoor music festivals, and charging stations are always packed. For those times when you absolutely need to charge your camera or smartphone, this lipstick-sized portable charger will be a total lifesaver.
Some festivals like Bonnaroo and Burning Man involve camping, and others you might just attend during the day. If you plan on staking out a home base for you and your friends, it’s a good idea to lay down a tapestry for a chill spot. This one is trendy, cheap and large enough for all your friends!
9. Protein Bars
Keep your energy up by bringing low-maintenance, zero-prep snacks like protein bars with you to the festival. Fresh fruit that you can grab and go, like apples, bananas and oranges, are a great option, too. You won’t want to get hangry mid-festival, so stick a few of these in your daypack and you’ll be good to go!
You’ll be glad you brought a daypack with you to stash your water, beverages, snacks, sweatshirt, etc. Finding the right fit is key, especially since there are so many options on the market today. This one by Osprey is awesome because it’s durable, reliable, and comfortable, which will be perfect to have during any festival.
If you’re going to a festival where you’re going to be camping, like Bonnaroo or Burning man, you’ll need somewhere to sleep. Most festival-goers use tents, which are ideal, although hammocks could work too, depending on the venue. This tent is a great option – it can fit up to two people, and has a wide entrance for easy entry and exit.
It’s especially important to bring a universal power adapter if you’re attending a festival abroad. If you plan to stay in a hotel or hostel, you’ll need to make sure you have a reliable adapter so you can charge your phone and camera before heading back into the action! This one’s awesome because it works in nearly every country.
It’s so important to have good travel insurance before attending a festival! We recommend using World Nomads, which kicks in once you travel 100 or more miles from home. They’re reliable, inexpensive, and offer generous coverage so you’re protected if anything goes wrong.
Don’t let anything rain on your parade. Rain and condensation may occur while you’re trying to enjoy the festival, so keep all your stuff dry by storing the important things in dry bags. If you’re bringing your phone or camera, this is extra important.
At some music festivals like Voodoo Fest, it’s expected and encouraged for festival-goers to wear costumes. For example, one of the coolest parts of Burning Man is the costumes that people deck themselves out in – they range from Mad-Max-inspired to glow-in-the-dark light suits. If you’re one to dress up in outrageous outfits, stock up on a few entertaining costumes. These LED hand gloves are perfect for the late-night techno at the festival.
If festival rules allow it, you will not regret bringing a big cooler with you, especially for multi-day festivals. It’ll keep all your food and beverages nice and cold, and you can pack it with water bottles, easy snacks, and maybe a bottle of aloe vera in case you get a sunburn. This one comes on wheels so you can easily roll it from the parking lot to your spot.
17. First aid kit
Anything can happen at a festival, and a first aid kit filled with bandaids, Advil and Neosporin will definitely come in handy at some point. I’ve had blisters, splinters, scrapes, cuts and burns happen at festivals, and have had to use my first aid kit on myself, friends, and strangers more times than I can count.
Other music festival packing list items not to forget
What to wear to a music festival
What you wear totally depends on what festival you’ll be attending. Generally speaking, less is usually more. Try to dress in layers, and bring a light jacket for nighttime (especially if you’re camping). During the day, casual festival clothes like jean shorts and tee shirts are a good fit. For the car or plane trip there, wear comfortable clothes that you can re-wear throughout the weekend so that you don’t overpack. Do a quick weather-check before you head out. If you’re totally lost for what to wear, browse through blog posts with pictures of the particular festival you’re going to!
What NOT to take to a music festival
The following are banned from most music festivals (including Burning Man, Jazz Fest & Bonnaroo):
2) Animals or Pets – Sorry, but you’ll have to leave your furry friends at home.
3) Glass – Bring any alcohol in cans instead of glass bottles. Check beverage rules first, though!
4) Generator – Most music festivals don’t allow you to bring a generator. If you need energy at your campsite, bring portable chargers or battery-powered devices only.
5) Drone – Drones can be dangerous and annoying to other concert-goers. Bring your selfie-stick instead if you want to get pictures from a higher angle.
7) Valuables – Don’t bring any valuables! If you absolutely must, keep them locked and out of view in your vehicle.
8) Firearms of any kind – This includes BB guns, air rifles and paintball guns.
9) Hand-held lasers – Leave these at home. All other lasers must be registered.
10) Wood chips, loose feathers, tubs of confetti – They’re bad for the environment.
FAQs about music festivals
1) If I’m camping and the festival is during the summer months, how do I stay cool in my tent?
Bring some ice packs or chilly pads and keep them in your cooler. When you’re getting ready for bed, cool down by setting one on your forehead. You can also bring portable fans to use in your tent.
2) At multi-day festivals, what am I supposed to do with my trash?
At most festivals that involve camping, staff will give you a trash bag when you go in that they will collect at the end of the festival. At Bonnaroo last year, they even gave festival-goers a raffle ticket for every bag of trash they turned in! If you can, try and spend a little time picking up trash to keep the Earth clean!
3) How much money should I bring with me?
It depends on how long you’re going for and what kind of music festival it is, but if you’re staying for a few days you should plan on bringing around $100-300 in cash. Make sure you bring enough money to purchase any souvenirs if you wish to.
4) How can I make the most of my music festival experience?
Make the most of it by losing yourself in the music and taking lots of pictures!
5) Are music festivals safe?
Yes. In general, the main dangers at music festivals are those you can easily avoid – that is to say, if you don’t overindulge and you take standard sun and safety precautions, you shouldn’t have any issues. Don’t carry excessive cash, keep any valuables close and hidden, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated, and pay attention to your surroundings. You’ll have a fantastic time, and enjoy memories of your experience for years to come!