Packing list: How to survive your first music festival

Last Updated December 2019

For music-lovers, few experiences can beat a music festival. Not only do you get to see some of your favorite bands and artists all in one place, you're also in for an amazing atmosphere and a whole load of fun.

If this is your first time attending a music festival, however, you might be a little apprehensive. While there's nothing to worry about, it is important to bring the right gear to have a worry-free time. Here's how to survive your first music festival and what to pack.

1. Pick the right tent

Assuming you're going to a multi-day festival with camping, picking the right tent is vital. We'd recommend one with a distinctive design that will stand out in a sea of thousands of other tents, should you lose your bearings. If there's even a slight chance of rain, it should be adequately waterproof. It should also be fairly easy to pitch, particularly if you're camping alone or you're likely to be pitching up after dark. (To find our recommended products, scroll to the bottom and check out our shopping list.)

2. Get the best sleep possible

Sleeping on the ground in a field of noisy partiers isn't exactly conducive to a solid eight hours, but we do have some tips to get the best sleep possible. First off — bring an air mattress. It might not be as comfy as your own bed but it's far better than sleeping directly on the ground. A pillow will help increase your comfort level, too. Choose a sleeping bag that isn't too warm or two cold for the nighttime temperature where you'll be sleeping. Earplugs can help block out the noise of your fellow campers.

3. Toilet troubles

Music festival bathrooms aren't known for their cleanliness. We'd recommend bringing a roll of toilet paper or at least a pocket pack of tissues in case the toilets are poorly stocked. There may not always be handwashing facilities and, if there are, they're often out of soap, so a bottle of hand sanitizer is a must.

4. Plan your day

You probably have a list of artists you want to see, but it's important to check what time their sets are and on which stages (the majority of music festivals will have at least two or three stages). This will allow you to spot any clashes and prioritize, and to figure out what part of the festival site you should be at and when you need to be there. You'll often find a wide range of other activities happening, too, so there's always something to do.

5. Be prepared for all weathers

Music festivals tend to take place during the summer when there's more chance of warm, dry weather. Of course, this means it can be too hot, so you'll need to layer on the sunscreen and keep yourself properly hydrated. Depending on whereabouts the festival you're attending is located, there could be a chance of rain, too. If it's likely to become wet, a rain jacket or waterproof poncho can keep you dry. Umbrellas are generally ill-advised.

6. Keep in touch

Festival sites are usually large, so you should bring your cell phone to keep in touch with your friends, in case you get separated or you each want to go your own way for a while. Phone batteries can become depleted even at a single day festival, let alone a multi-day one, so we'd highly recommend bringing a powerbank and the correct chargers to keep your phone topped up.

7. Music festival packing list

Here's your music festival packing list all in one place for convenience. You can follow the links to see our product recommendations.

  • A tent that's distinctive enough to spot in a crowd, easy to pitch, and suitable for the weather conditions (whatever they may be).

  • An air mattress or a camping mat at the very least to keep you comfortable at night.

  • A sleeping bag of an appropriate weight for the weather.

  • A pillow — trust us, it can make all the difference to getting some quality shut-eye.

  • Earplugs to drown out the sounds of late night revelry or to protect your ears if you're close to the stage.

  • A towel in case you decide to brave the showers.

  • Hand sanitizer for after you use the bathroom — or touch anything particularly funky.

  • Sunscreen, shades, a hat and anything else you'll find useful for surviving hot weather.

  • A reusable water bottle, if they're allowed at the festival you're attending.

  • A lightweight waterproof poncho or packable rain jacket in case of rain.

  • A powerbank for recharging your phone so you can stay in contact with friends at the festival or loved-ones back home.
Written by:
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer