Ahh…Summer festivals. As the summer sun beckons even the laziest couch potato to get outside and soak in some Vitamin D, it also opens up the floodgates for the best music festivals worldwide, giving way to an incredible range of options for every musical genre, atmosphere, travel locus, and party scene combination you can think of!
Whether you’re heading to Barcelona to get your electronic music fix at Sonar (a 3-day event that’s known as one of the most colorful music festivals in the world) or embracing your inner hippie (while showing off your camping skills) at festivals like Glastonbury in Somerset, England and Mountain Jam in Hunter Mountain, New York, you’ll quickly realize that tents serve as homes, campgrounds turn into thriving neighborhoods, strangers become compadres, and lawns are really just open dance floors.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of (and survive) your festival experience!
Check the Weather
While partying it up for a 3-day stretch sounds like a dream come true, keeping the party perils to a minimum is also ideal. Making it through your summer festival is heavily contingent on the weather, so make sure you do your due diligence before you set out! Check the weather, thoroughly, and pack accordingly. Save yourself the nightmare of being caught in a thunderstorm without any rain gear or, worse, being stuck under the sun all day without enough sunscreen!
Pro-tip: Does it look like a scorcher? While festival fashion is vital to the summer concert experience, so is making sure you don’t get sick from the heat! A great trick to beat the heat is to wear white. White reflects the spectrum of light, meaning it absorbs the least amount of heat. It may not seem like much, but after 12+ hours under the blazing sun each day, every little bit counts!
Invest in a Quality Water Bottle
We know what you’re thinking: You’ve already purchased an expensive ticket, a plethora of temporary tattoos, an inflatable tent, and a series of outfits you will probably only wear once, how could there possibly be more?! Well, even without the drinking, partying, dancing and mosh-pitting, your body needs at least 8 of glasses of water, per day. Most concert venues allow you to bring empty water bottles into the event, because even they know how essential it is to stay well hydrated. A good water bottle like the one made by The Coldest Water, costs anywhere from $20-$25 and keeps your water cold for up to 36 hours! In comparison, the average cost of an 8oz bottle of water purchased in the festival ranges from $5-$10 per bottle. Times that by the amount of water you need to drink over 3 days and your investment in a good water bottle just saved you upto $240!
Pack a Solar Powered Battery Charger
Tweet, snap, instagram, facebook… as you rock out to your favorite headliners, you’re going to want to post it all. But in order to share your every moment, there are two things you simply cannot do without: a phone and a charger for that phone. Many camp and concert sites (so very thankfully) have charging stations these days, but they’re not always easy to find, so when that measly battery of yours flashes red, it may be difficult to find an outlet to juice up. Solar powered battery chargers a great solution to that! Unlike other external power banks, the only thing you need for some extra juice is the sun and you can find one in your favorite color for as low as $13 on Amazon!
Remember to Bring Some Hygiene Essentials
The good news is that there are multiple festivals out there that offer hot showers and campground lodging. The bad news: there are just as many, if not more, that don’t. Whether you’re at Coechella, which offers free 24-hour showers and real bathrooms with hand dryers and toilet seat covers, or you’re at Bamboozle where the amenities are slim, hygiene essentials such as wet wipes, hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, travel size mouth wash/toothpaste, and of course extra water, are key! In addition to packing your own H20 to rinse off with, it’s probably a good idea to scout out the closest water station to wash yourself off between sets when you can’t make it back to your campsite.
Just Keep Packing (Your Cooler That Is)!
What’s worse than a hangover? A hangerover. In the midst of heavy drinking, rocking out, and sweating up a storm, you’re bound to build up one heck of an appetite and let’s be honest here, it’s only a matter of time until you get hangry. Having a well-stacked cooler, is going to be your saving grace over the next 3-5 days! With endless, affordable and high quality options for both classic hard shell coolers or cooler bags, you can tame that insatiable appetite no matter where you go! Hummus, grapes, rice bowls, vegetable sticks, Gatorade, chocolate bars, and my personal favorite, foil-wrapped leftover pizza slices, are a just a few fantastic items that will make that festival hunger (and hanger) disappear. Some festivals like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Rocklahoma have a pretty lenient cooler allowance, so go ahead and pile in the goods!
Come Prepared for Some Scrapes and Scratches
The last thing you’re thinking about when you’re jamming out to the Muddy Magnolias at the Ride Festival is how to save yourself from injury. Between the few alcoholic beverages you’ve had by now and all the pushing and shoving you’ll do to get to the front of the stage to see Chance the Rapper, safety hazards are abound! Be sure to pack a small first aid kit that will fit into your backpack, including the essentials such as bug spray, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, first aid cream and hydrocortisone (for those miserably itchy mosquito bites).
Don’t Bring These!
You’ve spent a small fortune on these tickets and all the gear in order to prepare. You’ve waited on endless lines, surrendered your hygiene and put your health at risk to make it to this festival. The last thing you want is to be denied entry or get kicked out! Here are some standard “no-no’s” when you’re thinking about what to bring with you for the jam fest:
Glass. Yes, this means no glass bottles. If you’re thinking of bringing condiments, transfer them into plastic containers and/or Ziploc bags. Trying to get your booze on? If you’re 21+ many festivals will allow you to bring in (extra classy) cases of beer cans.
Weapons. Pocket knives, pepper spray and baseball bats are just a few items that qualify as weapons. Be sure to check the festival website for the complete list!
Fireworks. Or really, just anything involving fire such as tiki torches, Chinese lanterns and firewood/fire pits. While toasting s’mores over an open fire seems like a harmless way to add to your festival experience, many venues don’t allow open flames on site. Check the grounds’ rules regarding fire pits and open fires.
The wrong kind of bag. Many festivals have specific rules and guidelines regarding bag sizes, styles and materials.
Jewelry. Festivals mean crowds and crowds mean potential injuries. Often times, you’ll find specific guidelines regarding accessories, so it might be best to leave that spiked bracelet and those heavy chains at home this time around.
Have a Blast!
Now that you’ve checked off your lists, packed your safety essentials and stacked your cooler, you’re finally ready for the most important part of your 3-day extravaganza: to have a blast! While it’s easy to stress about the many hiccups you may encounter along the way or all the expenses you took on to make it to this summer festival, just remember that you’re in for an experience that’s going to be relaxing, refreshing, and most importantly–truly priceless.