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Music Festival Essentials: What to Bring to a Music Fest Checklist

Here’s the ultimate music festival essentials checklist with what to bring (and not to bring) to a music fest – where it’s a one day festival or all weekend long!

We’ve talked about what to bring to concerts now let’s dive into what to bring to a music festival – and before you ask, yes there is a difference!  Whether you’re attending Austin City Limits, Governor’s Ball, Coachella, Lollapalooza, or Outside Lands, here are items you should pack for the best festival experience possible!

Rain or Shine

Most outdoor music festivals and events are rain or shine. So it’s important to be prepared to brave all of the weather elements! For sun protection: pack SPF, sunglasses, and a hat! I don’t care if it’s cloudy out, put on some SPF! Pack a travel-sized, factory-packed 3 oz or less tube of sunblock to protect your skin! Do not pack your pricey designer sunglasses. Instead, bring a nice but affordable pair of sunshades that you won’t be upset if they’re lost or broken! Also, bring a hat to block the sun (or rain)! Speaking of rain, pack either a small personal-sized umbrella, poncho or a rain jacket, just in case!

Stay Hydrated

Between standing in the sun for hours and heat from being surrounded by so many people, it’s easy to get dehydrated! It’s important to consume lots of water during the day. Bringing an empty, reusable water bottle or Camelbak is essential to surviving an outdoor music festival! Most festivals have free water refill stations onsite. 

Outside food and drinks usually are not allowed inside music fests. But dry powder packs like Emergen-C Immune+ are allowed and can be added to your water. Plus, they don’t take up a lot of space! Emergen-C provides extra vitamins and electrolytes to keep you going throughout the day! I also recommend taking a packet a day or two before the festival begins as well as after the festival to give your immune system a little boost!

Cool Off

There’s little to no shade readily available at outdoor music festivals unless you’re in VIP. When your neck and shoulders are directly exposed to the sun, they generate large amounts of heat which can lead to overheating, heat stress, and heat strokes! It’s important to stay cool. A compact cooling towel can be placed around your neck or any other body part to cool you off! As soon as the towel gets wet, the water evaporates and the towel softens while simultaneously cooling down. 

There is no escaping the heat! Bring a mini, lightweight, portable fan for when you want to cool down. This specific fan is a 3-in-1: fan, portable charger, and flashlight!

Stay Charged!

Speaking of portable chargers, outlets can be near impossible to locate at music festivals, and charging stations are no better! In fact, you usually have to pay to use an onsite charging station. A portable phone charger can be a lifesaver! Nothing is worse than being stranded at the end of a festival with not enough battery to contact your friends, order an Uber, or worse…not being able to access the app to see when and where your favorite artist(s) are performing!

Sit Down and Cool Off

Like shade, places to sit down can be hard to find at festivals. Bring something to sit down on for your and your friends. Some options include a lightweight blanket, a towel, a foldable chair, a hammock, or a wind chair! All are easy to roll up in your bag.

Better Safe Than Sorry!

Pack a travel-sized first aid kit with waterproof bandaids for blisters, small cuts, or any other minor injuries. Make sure to also throw in some ibuprofen and Neosporin too! All music festivals have first-aid tents on site but this can save you a trip! 

If you’re with a group of people and the cell phone reception is spotty, having some type of marker can be useful! I’ve seen groups use unique flags, kites, or totem poles to help their friends stay together in a crowd of hundreds and thousands. But remember to not make it super huge because it can block the views of the stage for those around you! 

Protect Those Ears

Give your eardrums extra coverage. 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.

What to Wear

When you’re in a crowd, you’re going to want to keep your valuables as close to you as possible. Using a fanny pack keeps your phone, cards, cash, etc safe and secure. You can wear it under your clothes without having to worry about losing your items or having someone take them from you!

Long lines and hours spent on your feet are the norms at music festivals. Make sure you wear comfortable, sturdy shoes. Between the long walks, hours of dancing, and hours of standing in place, your feet deserve comfort! Avoid wearing sandals, heels, or shoes you haven’t broken in yet. Think comfortable but also shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty! Preferably, waterproof too! Closed-toe shoes such as combat boots, slip-ons, or tennis shoes are your best options.

What’s in Your Wallet

Your ID or driver’s license should be first! Some festivals like Buku Music + Arts Project are 17+ events. You have to show a government-issued photo ID at the entrance to the festival to enter. Next, make sure you have a debit or credit card. Most events are cashless but you’re welcome to still bring cash – especially to tip bartenders and food servers!

Some 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 photocopy of your vaccination card to bring with you. It shouldn’t cost more than $3!

Your Festival Band

Most music festivals have chipped wristbands. Each wristband has a unique ID attached. Once you receive the band in the mail, you go online and activate it by providing the ID code, your personal info, and emergency contact information! For Austin City Limits, you’re able to link a debit or credit card to your wristband to purchase food, drinks, and merchandise from vendors on site!

Lastly, do not overpack (but at the same time make sure to bring enough). If you’re going with a group, have everyone bring something different on the list! And take a look at the requirements and guidelines for the music festival you’re attending to see what’s allowed, what’s not allowed, their bag policy, and more.


What’s better than buying a concert ticket? Winning free tickets! Follow NOLA Concerts for ticket giveaways and more concert tips and tricks like how to get the best tickets and how to avoid online ticket scammers!

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