Outdoor music festival guide

Young adults have long attended outdoor music events. 1960s flower children traveled to San Francisco. Twentysomethings from around the country took Greyhounds to Woodstock in 1969, and Deadheads travelled the country into the ’80s. In the 1990s, yuppies, grunge kids, and new hippies flocked to well-organized music festivals outside of major US cities.

Music festivals are popular now. Coachella begins this weekend, and dozens of festivals are scheduled for summer. Bonnaroo, Hangout, and Electric Daisy are just the beginning. Lollapolooza, Governor’s Ball, Outside Lands, and more are available.

You’ll never be younger, have more energy, or fewer responsibilities than you do RIGHT NOW.

These tickets aren’t cheap, but they’re worth sacrificing a few weekends, avoiding the mall, or working additional shifts. A music festival is something you’ll remember forever. Once you have a full-time job, a pet, and a family, you can’t just go on a three-day camping trip.

Embrace youth and summer. Do something great while you can!

Having attended several music festivals, I’ve researched how to stay safe, comfortable, and have fun at these events. I’ve organized it all and am excited to share it with you.

At the end of this piece, comment with suggestions for your fellow CF girls, especially if you have concert experience. We’re a community, so share your tale or advice!

7 Festival Packing Tips

Prepare for all weather.

Not having the correct attire is the easiest way to ruin a trip. Be sure to bring leggings, a hoodie, rainproof shoes, and an anorak. So you won’t be surprised.

Sunscreen is mandatory. Perfect, breezy days can lead to the worst sunburns since you don’t feel the sun. A swimsuit, flip-flops, and a wide-brimmed hat sound excellent.

Plan your outfit.

I know you spend all day (and night) outside at these festivals. I can’t go without hygiene and appearance for four days. Here are my best festival-freshness tips:

Showers require cash. Many campgrounds offer $5-$10 locker room-style showers. This seems worth the money to me. Just in case, wear flip-flops and a swimsuit when you wash. Include this in your trip budget.

Biodegradable shampoo. At nature-focused shows (like Bonnaroo), you can wash up in swimming streams if your goods aren’t poisonous. It’s not ideal, but it could be a quick fix for greasy, sweaty hair. Leave-in conditioner or salt spray will do the trick.

Baby wipes are great if you detest going to bed sticky. They’re great for cleaning your neck, underarms, forehead, and feet. Bring a complete pack to leave at your campsite and singles to carry with you.

It’s crazy, but worth a shot. If you don’t have a sink, rinse your face with an upside-down Frisbee. Genius! You could definitely clean your teeth and rinse with a water bottle.

Dry shampoo and makeup primer are must-haves. Dry shampoo can extend the life of even the dirtiest hair (see our piece on the best dry shampoos), and a makeup primer will protect your makeup from dissolving. Some girls prefer going makeup-free, but I’m not one of them.

If you can, leave makeup at home. You should include quick-to-apply items and nothing that could dissolve. Chapstick, highlighting powder, waterproof mascara, and eyeliner are my weekend essentials.

Check for hair ties, deodorant, contact solution, prescriptions, and other items.

Remember sunscreen! This is your weekend’s most significant item.

Even after a few festivals and lots of research, I’m not an expert. If you have music festival beauty advice, please comment below.

Smart packing.

Fancy stuff will make you and your campsite a target for theft. Remember:

  • Bring clothes you wouldn’t mind losing or ruining.
  • Prioritize comfort. Would you really want to spend all day tugging at your strapless bra while wearing that cute crocheted halter top?
  • Check that your shoes won’t give you blisters, shorts won’t chafe, and tops won’t need regular adjusting.
  • Bandages, feminine items, aspirin, granola bars, Gatorade, and additional water bottles should also be packed.
  • See our list of music festival basics for more must-haves and explanations.

Always carry necessities.

Carry a small backpack, cross-body bag, or fanny pack to keep your phone, camera, cash, ID, keys, and other essentials. What to pack for a music festival.

Your ordinary purse won’t work because you’ll need both hands and can’t risk losing it. Most folks at these events are just there to listen to music and have fun, I hear. But be prepared and aware of your surroundings. Also…

Safety first!

Any event that gathers thousands of people will attract unsavory characters, but you’re at a larger risk because many of these shows are overnight and many people will be drunk or intoxicated. Use the buddy system and be mindful of your surroundings. General rules:

  • Concert festivals are fantastic for meeting people, but don’t visit someone else’s campsite alone.
  • Plan definite meeting times for your group in case your cell phone dies.
  • Don’t flash too much cash at sellers.
  • Don’t accept food from strangers. If you feel strange or sick, tell a friend or security guard to take you to first help.
  • Always play it safe!

Avoid wearing inappropriate clothes.

Rompers and leotards aren’t always the finest festival attire. If you need to use the restroom during the day, both are problems. Since most events only offer outside Port-A-Potties, you won’t want to undress to pee.

If you plan to crowd surf during your event, you may want to avoid dresses so you don’t give the spectators a show. Wear biking shorts beneath a dress to crowd surf. This isn’t a hard and fast rule; one of our music festival costumes incorporates a dress.

In the morning, when it’s hot, use less perfume to avoid giving yourself or others headaches.

Enjoy yourself.

Outdoor concert festivals are unmatched. Explore all facets and enjoy the event. Socialize. Yoga or Frisbee? Enjoy a hippy drum circle or an interactive art fair. We’re young and fun and should do these things now. Don’t care about your appearance or others’ opinions. Make the most of your weekend.

Some of the Clients

Brands we've worked with.