Festival Field Guide: The Ten Essential Items to Have in Your Bag

The Main Stage at Ultra Music Festival 2013

The Main Stage at Ultra Music Festival 2013

When I was on my festival spree in 2013, I made a promise to myself: “I will only go to festivals until I turn 25.

Ha, ha ha.

Now that my quarter-century celebration has come and gone, I’ve obviously thrown that promise my 22-year-old self made to my future self rightfully out the window. I realize now that assigning a cut off point was a ridiculous idea. I love festivals. I love being in a crowd of thousands of people dancing, singing, and enjoying life. There’s a magnetic energy in that kind of atmosphere that can’t be recreated anywhere else, and I’m not ready to give it up yet.

I’m sure that somewhere in the Governor’s Ball crowd this weekend, there will be a group of youngins looking at my friends and me like we’re old farts who don’t belong – because I once gave people my age those exact same looks. But the best part about being 25 and heading to a festival? I now know exactly how to do a festival the right way!

And it begins with packing your bag with all the items you’ll need to ensure you have a safe and fabulous time all day. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a crowd of 10,000 people and realizing that you forgot something important. Plus, anything sold on the grounds of the festival will be absurdly expensive, so you definitely don’t want to resort to buying items there.

These are the ten essentials I’ll have in my purse when I head to Gov Ball this weekend:

1) Sunscreen

It’s officially summer, so even if the forecast is for overcast skies, the sun’s rays can still have a harmful effect on your body. Pick up a travel-sized bottle of your go-to brand and lather up frequently! You will NOT look sexy on day 2 if you’re red in the face.

2) Sunglasses

I usually take festivals as an opportunity to buy a completely ridiculous pair of cheap sunnies that I wouldn’t otherwise wear – and, most importantly, wouldn’t mind losing. Giant heart shape? 1970s vibe purple aviators? American flag lenses? Yes, yes, and hell yes.

3) Hand Sanitizer

The bathroom situation at these things is always questionable. Also, you never know when you may need to sanitize. What if that guy who looks like Sasquatch grabs your hand while you’re walking through the crowd?

4) Tissues

How many times have you walked into a porta-potty only to realize there is no TP? Follow the Boy Scouts on this one and “always be prepared.”

5) Advil, band aids, and Tums

A mini first aid kit could mean the difference between having an amazing experience and a totally shitty day. If you suddenly get a headache, minor cut, or stomachache you’ll waste so much time seeking out a medic on the grounds. Bring your own for minor emergencies!

6) ZipLoc Bag

Festivals in the rain can be fun – as long as you’re prepared. Umbrellas and ponchos are useless. If it rains hard, you’re going to be soaking wet no matter what, so you may as well embrace it. However, the last thing you want is for your phone to get soaking wet. A high-quality Ziploc bag will protect your phone, cash, cards, and tissues!

7) Portable phone charger

I have a first world problem fear of my phone dying on me at a festival. Between taking photos and video, texting friends to try and meet up, and posting things on Insta, my old iPhone’s battery dies absurdly fast. These handy little portable chargers from Anker are TINY and will help you stay connected throughout your experience.

8) Ear plugs

Yes, I’m old. This really needs no explanation.

9) Lip balm

This is not entirely vain – your lips need to be protected from the sun too! Given how dirty festivals are, you might want to take a lip balm that doesn’t require you to use your finger for application. EOS pods are my favorite!

10) Water bottle

Given the number of health incidents that have occurred at festivals over the past few years, a lot of events will allow you to take an empty water bottle into the venue. DO SO IF YOU CAN. Water bottles are so overpriced at festivals (anywhere from $10-20) and most of these events have designated areas where you can fill your bottle for the price of on the house.

There you have it! If you’re going with a group of people (which I sincerely hope everyone would be) divvy up these essential items between everyone. You really never know when this festival checklist could save the day!

In honor of my upcoming weekend adventure, I made a special playlist featuring my favorite remixes of artists who will be making an appearance at Governor’s Ball. Some of these remixes are very old; others were released just this week. I had a lot of fun putting this mix together and I hope you all like it as much as I do!



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