Now that Coachella and Stagecoach have kicked off festival season, it’s a good time to prepare for the rest of this year’s most exciting music festivals. Traveling for a music festival requires a lot of planning: purchasing flights, finding lodging, and coordinating a group itinerary are a few of the tedious tasks needed to pull it off. Since I’ve traveled across the country and internationally to see my favorite artists, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on packing for whatever may happen at a festival (you never know when you’ll need bandages or tissues). As I get ready to attend the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle for the first time this summer, I feel at ease putting together my festival bag thanks to my years of experience.
To help you prepare for your next big event, we put together a packing list of the must-have festival items worth a spot in your suitcase—whether you’re a first-time festival goer or a seasoned vet, along with recommendations for some of this summer's most popular festivals: Afropunk, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Bonnaroo.
- Essentials for any festival
- Bonnaroo packing list
- Lollapalooza packing list
- Outside Lands packing list
- Afropunk packing list
Essentials for festivals
I’ve recently been influenced to buy the viral Baggu nylon crossbody bag, and it will be my go-to purse for upcoming festivals. Along with adding no additional weight on my shoulders, this crossbody bag holds more than you think. (With that said, always double check to see if the festival guidelines require a clear bag or not). Comfortability should be top of mind while packing for a festival, especially if you're going for multiple days. A good pair of sneakers or a reliable, worn-in pair of Dr. Martens are my preferred shoes, since sandals are nice until your toes are stepped on in the crowd.
To document my memories, I always bring my film camera with me, but if a Polaroid camera, digital camera, or camcorder is your thing, make sure that its storage is empty, fully charged, and ready to go. Speaking of a fully-charged product, always pack a portable charger, especially if you plan to wait around all day for a good spot to see your favorite musician. And of course, it’s necessary to invest in your hearing, whether this is your first or fifth music festival; I always keep a pair of earplugs on me.
Shop more essentials for festivals:
- The Best Fanny Packs for Travelers
- The Best Sling Bags
- Actually Cute Clear Bags
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Comfortable White Sneakers
- Long-Lasting Portable Chargers
- The Camping Gear You'll Need for a Comfortable Set-Up
The Bonnaroo edit
Held on a farm in the middle of Tennessee, Bonnaroo is known for its magical lineup of artists, and offers a variety of experiences to keep attendees entertained in between sets. During the daytime, Bonnaroo hosts several free yoga sessions open to anyone, so bring comfortable yet practical workout clothes if you plan to attend—a pair of bike shorts and supportive sports bra are ideal. If yoga isn’t your thing, bring a bathing suit for the giant inflatable water slide to escape the Tennessee heat. And don’t forget that the dust can be intense at night, so bring a bandana or KN95 mask to minimize dust inhalation.