Ahh, festival season. Those five months of the year where thousands of music lovers trek around the country to gather with thousands of other like-minded people. I’ve become a big fan of music festivals; the energy surrounding them, the sense of friendship you feel with every person you encounter, and of course the massive appreciation for music. There aren’t many bad things about festival season, but if you’re one of those campers who didn’t prepare ahead of time, you might not find yourself in such good spirits.
The hardest decision is usually which festival(s) to spend your money on, but if you’re camping like most people, you might be stumped deciding what to bring, too. Or maybe you’ve been to a fair share and you think you have it down. No matter how many festival stripes you have, this list will help make sure you’ve thought of just about everything. There are plenty of lists out there on Pinterest that start from scratch, but I’m going to assume you already know to bring a tent and toothpaste. I included some helpful basic lists below, in case you just went ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I forgot about toothpaste!’.
I’ve only camped at one festival (soon to be two!), but I tend to over-prepare when it comes to big events, so I'm in a good position to give some advice. A couple of these ideas really saved my butt at TomorrowWorld last year, so I hope you find something useful too!
- A journal; if you love writing like I do, it’s a great idea to bring a journal or some way to write down your thoughts during some down time before sets. I don’t know many people that would bring a laptop to a music festival, and you never know when inspiration might hit! Don’t let your wonderful thoughts get away before you have a chance to write them down.
- A change of clothes; less obvious than you think, I’m talking about clothes for the ride home! If you’re driving more than an hour or two to get to the festival, you’ll thank yourself so much for this one. Pack a change of clothes and extra shoes and leave them in the car so they stay fresh. Theres no telling what could happen to the rest of your clothes over the weekend, so having something clean to change into for the drive home will be a lifesaver. (Doesn’t hurt to leave an extra case of water in there too!).
- A doormat; Maybe you aren’t a neat freak like I am, but you’ll be happy you have a mat outside of your tent to wipe your feet, leave your shoes on, or just make it feel a little more homey for the weekend. A doormat will help keep the inside of your tent tidy (even though I bring a small dustpan anyway), and it doesn’t take up much room in your travel gear. Win-win!
A watch; most festival veterans know this one, but if it’s your first time heading to a multi-day music fest, you'll want to bring a watch! Phones die (or get stolen) and you don’t want to miss out on a performance because you didn’t know what time it was! I usually bring two waterproof watches, just to be extra prepared. Walmart sells a silicone watch thats super cute, cheap, and comes in a bunch of colors! I bought the white one, and it’s good to wear as an everyday accessory too.
- Detangler spray; If showering isn’t easily available at your festival, you may resort to dumping a water bottle or two over your head with some soap. Needless to say, it’s going to be a pain to comb that all out. Remember that Loreal detangler you used as a kid? Well they still make it, and it saved me a lot of hair pulling (literally) at TomorrowWorld. Also, cornstarch works as a cheap dry shampoo! Definitely look into packing some!
Well, I think you’re ready for a great weekend of festival camping! The best way to make sure you’re comfortable is to prepare well ahead of time. If there’s anything I left off this list that you think belongs on here, leave me a comment below!