Are you attending one of the many camping festivals this year and not sure what gear to bring? Don’t worry I have you covered. Camping festivals offer the ultimate festival experience because the fun last long after the shows have stopped. But creating a comfortable and fun campground can sometimes be challenging. Note these things do not include the stuff I listed in my Top Ten Festival Packing list such as sunscreen and water bottles. It also doesn’t include some obvious things like ice (if you bring a cooler bring ice) Here is my list of must have and optional camping supplies.
Top Ten Must Have Camping Items:
- Cooler/Ice chest: Bring in something you can store ice in. Whether you want to fill it with beer, water or food is your choosing.
- A Decent Tent. Your not climbing Mt. Everest so you don’t need to break the bank here when choosing a tent. Just find something with decent tent stakes so it doesn’t get blown away and something that can withstand the rain.
- Snack food. Buying every meal from vendors all weekend can get expensive. I like to split it up between eating snacks (or even a whole meal) at the campground and buy food once or maybe twice inside the grounds. And like hydration, eating is also important in lasting an entire festival weekend. I know a lot of people who say they will just live off crackers for 3 days. That usually last the first day and then they spend their whole budget on food. If you can afford to eat every meal from vendors by all means do.
- Lantern: The campsite gets pretty dark at night and you don’t want to kill the battery on your headlamp our flashlight. I decent camping lantern will keep your area lit just fine.
- Canopy: I canopy our tarp you can set up will provide you with shade and protection if it does rain.
- First Aid Kit: A few band-aids and a blister kit will make all the difference in the world if you happen to have a little mishap.
- Multi-gallon water jug:A large water storage container can be used for cleaning up, cooking or even drinking water at times.
- Towel: Towels also have multiple uses. It can be used as a pillow, a throw out blanket to sit on and of course a towel to dry up after washing your self.
- Hygiene products: Soaps, hand sanitizer, tooth brush and tooth paste, feminine hygiene and toilet paper. Also deodorant will make the people around you very happy.
- Trash Bag: Clean up after yourself.
TIP: Put Dry Ice at the bottom of your cooler and layer regular ice on top of it. It will keep things cool and make your ice last longer. Ice can get expensive at festivals.
Top Ten Optional Camping Items:
- Radio: Bring a cd player or a way to plug in your Ipod. Pre-show Campground music gets you hyped up for the day and the shows your about to watch.
- Lawn chairs: They aren’t really necessary but its nice to not sit on the ground all day.
- BBQ Grill, Camp Stove: If you plan on bringing most of your food its nice to have a hot meal. Burgers and hot dogs are awesome camping food.
- Portable Shower: This is definitely not necessary but some camp mates of ours had one once and it was awesome. If you can afford one and fit it in your car bring it. Its a nice comfort to have.
- Tapestries: Those Bob Marley tapestries you see hanging on the walls of college dorms make awesome walls for your canopy. they provide extra shade and a little privacy.
- Flag/marker: If you have an extra tapestry try and hang it up high. The campgrounds are huge and when your coming back at night your spot can be a little hard to find in the the sea of tents and cars.
- Beer: If your a drinker a lot festivals allow you to bring in alcohol to the campgrounds (ONLY IN THE CAMPGROUNDS AND NOT THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS). Check your festival website rules in advance, there is usually a limit and no glass. But drinking before hand can save you some money.
- Ear Plugs: Some people party later than others and if your trying to get some sleep just slip these in. They also work in the grounds when a show is just too loud.
- Book: Sometimes I like to read in the morning down time.
- Guitar: I play guitar and it’s fun to bring one along to play at the campgrounds if possible. Just be respectful of your neighbors and don’t take it inside the grounds.
TIP: If your at a festival that is extremely hot and have a portable shower, put the melted cooler water in it. Its amazing.
Not sure what to bring with you to the festival? Have limited bag space? Here is my top ten must have things and my top ten optional things to bring into a festival. Now this list might be different for some people and every festival packing list differs a little but these are the things I have found most useful in my experiences. Also note that these are just things I pack well in the festival grounds. This does not include camping supplies I have listed in my Top Ten Festival Camping List or obvious things like tickets and money. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comment section. Enjoy
Top Ten Must Have Items.
- Hydration pack or water bottle: Keeping hydrated is crucial to lasting an entire festival weekend. Every festival ground has a free refilling station. I like hydro packs because they double as a day bag. Just make sure your allowed a hydration pack on the grounds before you enter.
- Comfortable Shoes/Clothes: Your going to be doing a lot of walking and standing. If your wearing skin tight jeans and biker boots your not going to last 10 hours of shows outside in the sun. Sacrifice fashion for comfort. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
- Baby Wipes: Instant shower that keeps you fresh. A must if your camping.
- Flash light or headlamp: Have you ever tried going into a porta-potty in the middle of the night. There is no on light you can switch on and those things get messy.
- Toilet Paper: The stuff they stock in the morning runs out fast.
- Light sweater or jacket: The temperature Drops when the sun goes down. I have found one more useful than not in my experiences so i always have one handy. Its a life saver if it rains.
- Sunscreen: Unless you like sunburn and skin cancer i suggest you apply this stuff generously. 6 hours outside in the sun will fry you.
- Camera: I know this doesn’t seem like a necessity but I can’t picture going to a festival (or traveling period) without it.
- Sunglasses: See above under sunscreen.
- Day bag: How else you are going to carry all this stuff. Plus if you buy merch inside you don’t want to carry it around and risk losing it our ruining it.
TIP: Sometimes a change of clothes can be a life saver. Shorts During the day pants at night.
Top Ten Favorite Optional Items.
- Sunhat: For the same reason as the sunscreen and glasses but this one isn’t going to ruin your weekend if you leave it at home.
- Umbrella: Sometimes rain is the best part of the festival. Sometimes its not.
- Small blanket: Have an hour between sets? spread it out on the grass and have your lunch.
- Bandana: Dust can get bad at some festivals. It also works well for wiping the chilli of your hands or dipping it in water and wearing it around your neck to cool down.
- Smart phone: I’m usually against bringing in a phone with me. I don’t want to be the guy texting or facebooking well watching a band. But if you manage to get a good reception it does help find your friends. Also most festivals have a festival app for smart phones. Some festivals like lollapalooza even post real time give aways on facebook and twitter where they give you a booth or stage to go to and hand give away free stuff.
- Mister or fan: They just feel good in the heat.
- Costume or glowsticks: They’re just fun. And a costume can really help you thrive socially a festival. You’ll meet a lot of cool people.
- Swim trunks. They’re cool and comfortable and some festivals have a fountain or water slide you can cool down in.
- Zip lock bag: If the rain does come throw your phone or wallet in it. trust me my phone was ruined on the last day of Lollapalooza 2011 Just stuff one in your day bag and forget about it until you need it.
- Small notebook: Write down contacts of new friends you meet or something you don’t have time to check out the first day but want to the second.
TIP: Carry cash and stick your credit card deep in your day bag. If you get into a bind and need some emergency money pull out the card. Festival ATMs come with a decent fee.
So there you have it. my list of must have festival items and a few optional ones. Feel free to share your list below.
You have your outfits picked out months in advance. You have your money saved up and have been looking online daily for any hint of a line-up announcement. Yes, summer festival season is just around the corner and if you and your friends want to make the journey to any of the hottest music events of the year the planning starts now. Whether it’s making sure to buy to tickets to an event notorious for selling out in hours (even if Coachella has two weekends now) or booking a hotel and flight to make sure you get a price that doesn’t rival your college tuition, I am here to offer some advice. Although the music festival experience is one of the greatest a person can have, everything before it can sometimes get a little stressful. And the stress sometimes starts when picking which festival to go to. So here is some advice and things to take into considerations while choosing the festival that’s right for you.
The Music: Obviously if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars and travel hundreds of miles (unless you are lucky enough to have one in your home town) to a music festival, make sure you like the music. Sure we all want party till we drop, meet hot girls/guys and tell our friends back home how we ran through the fountain naked, but the real reason we spend this crazy amount of money and travel long distances is because we are devoted music fans. And music promoters cater a festival to almost every type of music fan. Whether you want to dance all night to your favorite DJ (go to Electric Daisy Carnival), you want to chill out on the lawn and check out your favorite jam band or you want a little mix of everything , there is a festival out there for you. It’s as easy as a quick Google search with your favorite style of music and the word festival next to it. Spending 2 to 4 days listening to stuff you either love or hate really does make all the difference. It takes maybe an hour of research to find the perfect fit for you. Here you can find a list of some 2013 festivals.
Comfort Concerns: Another big factor in deciding where to go on your festival adventure is your comfort level. If you absolutely have to shower in a hotel room everyday let me tell you right now that camping is not going to make your experience all too pleasant. Festivals like Bonnaroo get hot and sticky. After 4 days of dancing, porter potties and being in crowds of thousands of people, things tend to get a little dirty and funky. If you do choose a festival like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch or Wakarusa be prepared to except the fact that you’re going to get dirty, smelly and you probably won’t see a shower until you get home. Granted these festivals usually offer onsite portable shower stations, they do charge a fee and you better get there early because there is usually a line. Also (especially Coachella) there are some hotel options in the areas of these festivals. But to me the real festival experience is in the campgrounds and most of the time hotels require shuttle passes, parking passes, arrival and departure schedules to follow and sometimes they just book up to fast. If you are attending a mostly camping festival be prepared to camp. Be prepared to wake up early, have strangers camping inches from you (don’t worry they usually become good friends) and be prepared to get dirty. Now if camping is just not your cup of tea there are plenty of non-camping festivals to choose from. Just to name a few of my favorites, Lollapalozza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits are all located in the heart of the city.
I really enjoy city festivals because not only do you get the festival experience but you also have plenty of time to explore a different city. Actually a lot of the time the real party starts when the festival grounds close. Being these events are held close to where people live and work they usually run on an earlier noise curfew. So after the festival gates close the city is full of after shows and parties. The downside is a lot of after shows require separate tickets but most times you can find plenty of free or cheap events held specifically related to the festival. And although I love camping and partying on the campground it is nice to take a shower and sleep in a real bed after a long day of shows. So if comfort is a concern be sure to consider the accommodations the festival location offers. Remember a good night’s rest is crucial to keep going all weekend.
Price and size: Some festivals are massive and last four days with a hundred thousand people. Others are shorter and attract smaller crowds. Usually the larger festivals have the bigger line-up and the all star headliners but they also usually come with the larger price tag. That doesn’t mean the smaller festivals don’t put on a good show. As a matter of fact they usually have one or two of the major festival headliners and just have a smaller under bill. And just because you’re not attending a mega festival it doesn’t mean your experience is lessened. Most the time the shows are more intimate and the environment more relaxed. If you’re working with a budget consider a smaller festival closer to home.
It’s your choice: All in all it comes down to what festival you want to go to the most. If you have heard about a festival or have been following one for awhile and you have told yourself one day you will go, well then go. Don’t be worried about price or comfort levels. If it’s something you just have to do then you will find a way to make it happen and all the inconveniences will take a backseat to the amazing time you will have. The hardest part is committing and buying the ticket. Just GO FOR IT. One word of advice, commit to it before tickets go on sale and try to buy them the second they do. Usually the online traffic gets extremely backed up when tickets go on sale and some festivals sell out in less than a half hour. Have your credit cards ready and every type of pass you need to purchase handy. Some festival sites require an account before you can purchase tickets so set that up days in advance. Research the pass options and purchasing process before sale day. There is nothing worse than hyping yourself up about a festival and finding out it sold out in seconds.