The Music Festival Checklist: What to Bring, Wear, and Do
Summer brings more than beach days and camping—it's also the heyday of the music festival. To make it through the season in one piece, consult this music festival checklist and learn what you should bring, wear, and do to make the most of the experience. Because nothing puts a damper on the day like a dead phone or killer sunburn.
What to Bring to a Music Festival
- Sunscreen. The most essential item of all. This should be required for entry. Protect yourself with L'Oreal Sublime Sun SPF 30 Sunscreen ($7.98).
- Portable phone charger. There's no way your phone's surviving all day without some extra juice. Give it a boost with the Allimity Portable Power Bank Phone Charger ($25.99).
- Money belt. Nothing will ruin your day like a stolen wallet or phone. Slip on a water-resistant Zatous Money Belt ($11.99) and dance in peace.
- Rain poncho. Stay dry with the lightweight, reusable H&B Hooded Raincoat 2-Pack ($5.99).
- Extra socks. It might not be practical to bring a full change of clothes in case you get wet or muddy. But you can at least feel refreshed from the bottom up if you've got a spare pair of Head Moisture-Wicking Athletic Socks ($14.99 for 10 pairs) to change into.
- Go Girl device. Port-a-potties are the festival-goer's worst enemy. For women who don't feel like sitting on (or hovering over) the seat, the Go Girl ($9.99) is a lifesaver.
What to Wear to a Music Festival
A lot of factors will affect how you should dress for a music festival: the weather, the location, and, of course, your personal style. Still, these suggestions should cover most situations.
- Comfortable, closed-toe shoes for women and men. Check out the Sociology Women's Striped Canvas Flat ($9.97+) or the Unionbay Men's Canvas Sneakers ($39.99+).
- Sunglasses. These are a must. Go with something super stylish from Tory Burch ($79.99+) or Ray-Ban ($89.99+), or stick with the affordable Foster Grant Women's Sunglasses ($14.99) if you're worried about losing them.
- A hat for sun protection. Try the Large Floppy Foldable Straw Beach Hat ($59.48), which comes in a dozen bright colors.
- For women: a comfortable, loose-fitting top or t-shirt, like the Cold Shoulder T-Shirt Top ($14.99+).
- For men: a lightweight t-shirt you won't mind getting sweaty or dirty in, like the inexpensive Marled Henley Tee ($9.99+).
- A light jacket or hoodie. If you're camping out, you're probably going to need to bundle up at some point even during the summer. Women can layer up with the Lyss Loo Here to Inifinity Drawstring Hoodie Top ($16.99+), while men can grab the StraightFaded Lightweight Marled Hoodie ($12.99+).
Tips for the Day
Make a plan. Sure, wandering around and discovering new bands is a great way to pass a few hours (and that's something we highly recommend—you never know when you'll see the next big thing). But if you bought that Lollapalooza ticket because you desperately want to see Arcade Fire, you don't want to miss their set.
Reapply sunscreen. You brought it, now don't forget to wear it. Remember places like the tops of your feet, ears, the nape of the neck, and any part of the body that might be exposed when you sit (like your legs) or as the day wears on (around the collar or straps of your top).
Talk to your friends about sticking together. Phone reception can get iffy when you pack thousands of people into a small space. Make sure you and a friend are keeping an eye on each other, and arrange for a place to meet up afterward in case you get separated.
Stay hydrated. Beer doesn't count. You should be chugging (H2O, not booze!) all day long. That's not to say you can't throw back a few cold ones. Lots of festivals enjoy partnerships with craft breweries—sometimes they even have a beer brewed specifically for that event (read our recommended festival beer pairings). Just remember that beer may feel thirst-quenching, but it's not. For every pint you sip, plan on drinking a corresponding amount of water, at the very least.
Now that you've finished our music festival checklist, read our guide to the characters you'll meet at every summer music festival.