7 Summer Music Festival Essentials

By Savannah Olson
Music Journalist

Do you smell that? That fragrance that reeks of sunscreen, freshly cut lawns, and chlorine? Well, congratulations because your nose is performing wonders and you just recognized that summer is lurking in the horizon. With summer’s call comes an abundance of outdoor events, especially if you love music. Summer is the peak time for concerts and festivals, from Austin’s own JMBYLA to less-localized festivals like Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. Not only do you have to deal with the usual confusion of music festivals, but with them occurring in the summertime, you also must withstand the sweltering heat and questionable bugs. I’ve compiled a list of essentials for rookie music festival goers to bring, ensuring that your concert experience doesn’t go through a drought of fun.

Water Is Love, Water Is Life
So, this might be an exaggeration but I cannot stress this point enough. Drink a lot of water! According to the Mayo Clinic, women should drink 2.2 liters of water every day, and men should drink 3 liters. A leading cause of illness at music festivals is dehydration, which can cause you to faint or in worse cases, die. I fainted at my first music festival because I was dumb and forgot water is the very essence of humans, so please learn from my mistakes.  

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If you do not want to look a like burnt tomato afterwards, take my advice and invest in some sunscreen. Photo by Savannah Olson.

Slap on Some Sunscreen 
I get it. You don’t burn, you just tan! But that doesn’t mean your skin won’t age or get damaged! Bring with you some 30+ coverage and remember to reapply either hourly, or every two hours. You’ll thank me in twenty years when your skin is still fresh and dewy.

It’s All in the Wrist(Band)
This might need to be step one, but MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR WRISTBAND/TICKET. There is always that one horror story us music festival attendees hear every year, where some poor soul thought they had their ticket, but left it back home. If you have a wristband, putting it on a few days before the festival might be good insurance, but make sure to not put it on too tight to where you can’t stand wearing it.

To Fanny, Or to Not Fanny
Choosing a bag to put all your junk in while you stand on your feet for hours and jump around to some fun music is MAJOR. If you know you’re not going to bring a lot of stuff, I would purchase/borrow a fanny pack. If you don’t want to buy one, just ask your mom for her classic Jansport fanny pack from ’84. I’m like, 99.9% positive all moms are required to still own their fanny packs from back in the day.


Portable Chargers Are Your Friend
As the title says, portable chargers are your new best bud. Music festivals may advertise that they have “three state-of-the-art charging stations, for every phone!” but really, there will only be three outlets for thousands of people. Just bring your own and charge to your heart’s desire. 

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Take pride in keeping your eyes safe and looking stylish at the same time. Photo by Savannah Olson.


Sunny Side Up 
You know when you accidentally glance up at the sun and you’re like, “Ow, my eyes hurt!” Well, that is your eyes at music festivals until the sun goes down. Find your favorite pair of sunnies to wear all day, and make sure they’re durable enough to withstand jumping and head-bobbing.



Cash Rules Everything Around Me
My final essential tip for you is to bring cash. Bringing your card to a festival filled with thousands of people and losing it is probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever heard of. I’m currently stressed just imagining it! Cash won’t lead to identity theft, plus some vendors might be cash only. But if your festival does offer connecting your credit card to your wristband, that’s very convenient too. Carrying less on you is key, so no cash or card is perfect.

I hope this helped any newbies to music festivals this summer! Attending music festivals is one of the greatest experiences of my life, despite the large crowds and long lines. Pack up your bag, put on your wristband, and you’re ready to go!
Featured image by Savannah Olson.

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