Packing Essentials for Festivals Bonnaroo Lollapalooza Afropunk  More
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What to Pack for Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Afropunk, and More Summer Music Festivals

Whether you’re a first-time festival goer or a seasoned vet. 

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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.

Below, the festival season essentials every traveler needs, from crossbody bags and reliable sneakers to portable chargers that help you stayed powered on—and capture every moment.

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.

Baggu Medium Nylon Crescent bag

Sketchers Sierra sneaker

Miady two-pack portable charger

Vibes Hi-Fidelity ear plugs

Shop more essentials for festivals:

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.

When and where: June 15-18 in Manchester, Tennessee

Set Active Luxform bike shorts

Asos Stradivarius one shoulder swimsuit

Cutewing bandanas

Wwdoll KN95 face masks

The Lollapalooza edit

Although Chicago’s Lollapalooza Festival is worth the time, you’ve got to prepare yourself for four long days of festival fun. Bringing a Camelbak hydration pack is a low-effort way to remain hydrated throughout the weekend while spending less money and time buying water. Since you’ll be doing a lot of walking across the different terrain in Grant Park, a pair of Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts will go a long way and a portable fan will benefit you from the Chicago heat. Always carry a pack of wet wipes—you might need them if you’re sweating or if the bathrooms run out of tissue (they always do).

When and where: August 3-6 in Chicago

Camelbak Arete 14 Hydration pack

Dr Scholl’s Energizing Comfort massaging gel insoles

TriPole mini handheld fan

Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipes

The Outside Lands edit

Since the weather in the Bay Area can be a bit unpredictable and is generally cool, it’s in your best interest to pack a rain jacket and an additional layer like a hoodie to prepare you for whatever conditions San Francisco throws at you. In addition to extra base layers, bring a pair of hand warmers in case it gets chilly at night and a hydrating lip balm (bonus points if it has SPF). Pro tip: You might want to consider renting a locker so you can avoid carrying all of these essentials throughout the day. 

When and where: August 11-13 in San Francisco

L.L.Bean Mountain Classic jacket

Outside Lands fleece jacket

HotHands hand warmer pack

Supergoop! Play lip balm

The Afropunk edit

Filled with music, art, and fashion, Afropunk has been held in locations around the world, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, Miami, Paris, and Johannesburg. In 2023, it's coming back to New York. You’ll definitely want to stock up on sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses. Bringing a headwrap isn’t a necessity for the festival, but it might come in handy if the weather gets a bit warmer (your hair will thank you). Since there’s always a variety of vendors at Afropunk festivals, bring an extra tote bag for any goodies that you might purchase.

When and where: August 26-27 in Brooklyn 

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

Asos Design angled rectangle sunglasses

Wrap Life pleated head wrap

Baggu Duck bag