View Full Version : Top 10 Things To Bring To A Music Festival

03-10-2010, 03:11 AM
Are you new to music festivals? Have you been going for awhile, but you're still pretty sure you could be more comfortable? Look no further... these ten things are absolute must-haves, especially for weekend camping festivals. If you'll be camping for the full weekend, check out the camping site at About.com for information about what to bring, camping gear-wise. And for more advice, learn How To Make The Most Out Of A Music Festival.
1. Sunblock
We all know the dangers of UV rays, and at most festivals, you're very exposed to them. You don't want a sunburn now, and you certainly don't want skin cancer later, so lather up. For festivals, I like to use sport spray-on sunblock; I can put it on myself without having to ask for help with the hard-to-reach areas, and it won't sweat off in the summer heat. Remember to reapply every few hours!

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2. Headlamp
I refused to buy one of these for way too long because of the dork factor, but now I don't leave home without it. These convenient flashlights strap around your head on an elastic band (no more holding a mini-mag between your teeth). They're invaluable for nighttime Porta-John trips (the scariest thing ever) and they work well for mixing drinks, making beds, and all sorts of other things.

3. Toilet Paper
No one ever wants to talk about this, but every seasoned festivarian knows to bring a couple of rolls of Charmin from home. PortaJohns often run out of toilet paper pretty quickly and even when they have paper, it's usually of the super-thin super-scratchy variety. Toilet paper also doubles as facial tissues, and a few well-tossed rolls can take care of your problems with the neighboring campsite (kidding, kidding).
4. Baby Wipes
Not just for babies any more, wet wipes can keep you feeling fresh as a daisy even after a few days with no shower. Your hair will still be a rat's nest, but at least you won't smell. Remember what their original purpose is, as well... they can clean up even the most sensitive areas when a hot shower just isn't available.

5. First Aid Kit
Legally-run festivals (which are the only kind you should attend) are required by law to have first aid services available and an ambulance on call, so if something major happens, there will be people to take care of you. However, they often don't dispense headache medicine, and sometimes it's more hassle than it's worth to get a simple band-aid put on, so make yourself a simple first-aid kit and save yourself some trouble.
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6. Camera
You can't go to a music festival without your camera! Some festivals have rules about what types of camera you can bring (no movie cameras, etc.), but every outdoor festival that I know of lets you take snapshots. If you're worried about your expensive digital camera and you're not a hotshot photographer anyway, bring a few disposable cameras and you'll be set. Buy the super-cheap flashless cameras for daytime, and get the still-pretty-cheap flash cameras for the evening.

7. Bottled Water and Sports Drinks
If festivals let you bring your own drinking water, by all means, do it. Staying hydrated in the hot sun is very important. Remember, also, that if you're sweating heavily, it's important to keep the minerals (salt, calcium, potassium, etc.) in your body replenished as well. I seldom attend a festival without a jar of dill pickles for this reason (seriously), but I'm told that normal people just drink electrolyte-rich sports drinks.
8. Easy-To-Carry Cooler
Some festivals don't allow coolers, but many do. I personally like the little foam coolers that you can throw over your shoulder and hold a couple of beers and a jar of dill pickles (what more do you need?), but if you're just attending a festival for a day, or if you have more than yourself to feed, get yourself one of the nice new coolers a long handle and wheels. They can easily hold food and drinks for four people, and they double as a bench.

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9. Blanket or Chairs
At some point, you're probably going to want to sit down in one place and hear some music. Some festivals don't let you bring chairs, but most do, and if you're bringing them, the folding canvas chairs with carrying bags are the best, comfy and easy to carry. I personally prefer to sprawl, though, and I really like those ten-dollar woven wool Mexican-style blankets. They hold up and they're easy to carry, but if they get lost or forgotten, they are quite replaceable.

10. Backpack or Knapsack
Between my little cooler and my little backpack, I can carry just about everything I need for the day. Carrying a purse (as much as I love them) just isn't practical at a festival; it's tough on your back and purses generally don't hold as much as you need. Keep the stuff you're carrying to a minimum; you probably don't need three changes of shoes, for example (that's mostly advice for me).

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