You’ve scored tickets to see your favorite artist(s) live and now it’s time to get ready for the show itself. It doesn’t matter if you’re attending a show at a small GA venue or a world tour inside of a stadium, there are certain things you should and should not bring with you to the concert. As an avid concert goer, I’ve decided to write an ultimate concert essentials checklist with all the must-haves every music fan and concert goer should bring with them to a show! Without further ado, here is the list.
Concert Essentials Checklist
For most concerts I usually carry a fanny pack, over-the-shoulder purse, or a clear bag. It mainly depends on the venue’s policy (which you should always read before attending a show or festival).
Within the past couple years, stadiums have implemented the clear bag policy for sporting events that requires attendees to bring clear, vinyl bags that are no larger than 12” wide x 12” height x 6” deep. In the past few months, I’ve noticed that arenas are also slowly starting to implement the same policy.
If a clear bag is not required for your venue, I suggest either a small cross body bag or a fanny-pack. Both bags are great for jumping around, dancing, and keeping yourself hands-free throughout the night! And you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on your stuff because it will be on you all night!
2. Cash vs Debit/Credit Cards
Before I would have suggested bringing cash to limit yourself to a certain amount of money to spend on food, drinks, and merchandise. But due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of venues are starting to go cash-less. Long gone are the days where you’d get stuck having to pay a ridiculous ATM fees at a venue.
3. Portable Charger or Charging Case
You don’t want to be stranded at the venue with not enough battery to call your ride, order an Uber, or worse…not be able to access your mobile ticket. Or if you’re like me, your phone may drain quickly because you love to document shows for social media whether its pictures with friends or videos of your favorite artist performing.
I would like to take a second to personally thank whoever created the portable charger because it has saved me on many occasions. Stay on the safe side and arrive at the show with your phone fully charged and bring along a portable charger or charging case just in case!
4. Your Driver’s License/State ID
Whether it’s picking up tickets at will call or buying a drink at the bar, you need your ID. It’s also important to bring with you because some shows and venues have age restrictions where you have to be 18+ to attend.
I know some people hate when people have their phones out at shows but your phone is a concert essential. Whether it’s taking a quick picture for the gram, checking the time, or connecting with friends to meet up in the venue, you need your cellphone on you.
You can make the night more fun with a lens for your phone. Take wider shots of the stage and get clearer pictures with optical zoom or fish-eye lenses.
I have never personally brought binoculars with me but I’ve sat next to people who have and they’re handy if you don’t have the best seats in the house. They can enhance your concert experience by giving you a better view!
7. Your Concert Ticket
I triple check that I have my tickets before I leave the house every single time. Printed tickets are becoming less of a necessity with mobile ticketing apps and the ability to simply add your tickets to your Apple Wallet. But if they are allowed at your event, printing a physical ticket is a reliable back-up just in case anything happens to your phone.
8. Digital Camera
This was something I made sure to bring with me during my first concert ever and I’m glad I did (especially if you don’t own a smartphone). I also suggest bringing an extra memory card with you.
Be sure to check your venue’s website for their camera policy before you leave the house. Most events only restrict cameras with lenses longer than 6” but sometimes you aren’t allowed to bring cameras inside venues at all.
9. Sharpie or Pen
If you manage to meet an artist or one of the members of the band, it’s always good to have a sharpie or pen on hand so you can get their autograph!
10. Mints or Gum
It’s easy to get dehydrated, get a dry mouth, and feel sluggish at shows. Popping a piece of gum or a mint in your mouth can help with that.
When attending a show at a tiny venue, be considerate for those around. When we’re all crammed together and sharing the same air in a tiny GA crowd, your breath travels quickly to those around you. Pop a piece of gum in a stay minty fresh. Also, offering a piece to those around you is an easy way to make friends.
Not too proud to say that I have cried at a concert before. If you’re a crier like me or just need to blow your nose or you have something in your eye, a small pack of portable tissues will save the day!
12. Hair Ties
Ladies and gentlemen, it gets hot when you are singing and dancing around for hours. If you have long hair and its getting hot, have no fear because the hair tie is…there on your arm and ready to be used. Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring a couple of extras in case anyone around you may need one.
I think we’ve all experienced that ringing in our ears or muffled hearing after attending a show. Well, that is called tinnitus and years later, it can cause permanent ear damage. Any sound over 85 decibels can cause noise-induced hearing loss (which is the most common cause of hearing loss) and concerts are over that level. So bring earplugs especially if you’ll be near the speakers. Having the right kind of earplugs can reduce the noise while preserving the sound quality.
Whether your concert is indoors or outdoors, I recommend bringing a sweater to keep you warm. The temperature could be chilly when you’re leaving the show or the temperature inside the venue should be a bit cold. It’s good to just have a light sweater with you just in case!
15. Face Mask / Covering
Bring a lightweight and breathable mask (even if you’re fully vaccinated)! Although you might not wear it during the event, you may need it in your Uber after the show. Trust me, pack it just in case.
16. Hand Sanitizer / Wipes
Most indoor and outdoor venues have added hand-sanitizing stations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when you’re in the middle of the crowd or jam packed against a barricade, a sanitizing station or bathroom isn’t always easily accessible. Make sure to pack a personal bottle of hand sanitizer or a pack of disinfecting wipes!
17. Proof of Vaccination or a Negative Test
Some shows and festivals require all fans to either provide printed proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event OR full vaccination for entry. Pro-tip: Head to an Office Depot, Kinkos, etc to get a laminated photo copy of your vaccination card to bring with you. It shouldn’t cost more than $3!