Festival Survival Guide

There will be sweat. Here’s what you need to pack.

Ashley Demma

May 1, 2014 | Festival | May 2014

When I was in college, I worked for a student organization that brought live entertainment acts to campus. While we held shows throughout the year, no doubt our biggest turnout (2,000+ spectators!) was our end-of-year music festival.


I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to share. Here’s everything you’ll need to survive:

Crossbody bag: keep your friends close and your personal belongings closer.

Tickets: whether it’s a wristband or VIP pass, you won’t get far if you forget this.

ID: until retina scanning takes off, you’ll still need to prove who you are.

Comfy shoes:  I don’t care how cute you wanna look; no one is looking at your feet. You’ll thank me later. Avoid open toes. Think: Keds, Converse, ugly athletic shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy, rain boots if it’s not 100F outside.

Swiss Army knife: for those times when you need a nail file and a cork screw.

Hair Ties: tie back those luscious locks when the temperatures start rising.

Hoodie: always be prepared for the weather to turn on a dime.

Phone & charger: for ‘gramming, staying in contact with your crew, directions, and more. There should be charging stations a’plenty at your festival of choice, because it’s 2014.

Apps: big fests like Coachella and Lollapalooza have their own apps to view lineups, set times, and maps. (links)

Cash: just in case you lose your credit/debit card (lines are shorter if you pay this way, too).

First aid kit: bandages for blisters, Tylenol for headaches, and other odds and ends. You will use it.

Sharpie: for autographs!

Deodorant: keep it fresh!

Lip balm: choose one with SPF and a hint of color like Maybelline Baby Lips (because you never really outgrew your Bonnebell days).

Water Bottle: Water can be heavy, but in the festival sun, hydration takes priority over your shoulder pain.

Sunglasses: shade your eyes with any style from Lolita to Lennon.

Baby wipes: ever been in a crowd of thousands of strangers? Exactly. This is survival hygiene.

• Baby Powder: you gonna sweat, girl. For sweaty thighs and oily scalps alike.

Sunscreen: rock out, but don’t turn rock lobster red.

Illustration by Ilenia M.

Ashley Demma hails from Chicago where she moonlights as a freelance writer, blogger, and illustrator outside of a day job in marketing. Her degree is in English Language & Literature from the University of Chicago. She loves YA fantasy novels, Vosges chocolate, and the Martha Stewart Halloween magazine. Find more of her work using #demondesign on social media.

1 Comment

  1. Fear Of Missing Out: I Hate Music Festivals - […] are a lot of great How To guides for surviving music festivals. There’s even one of them in this…

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