If you have been following our blog, you must have noticed that I am a music festival junkie. After all, I also met my life partner at a PsyTrance music festival.
I normally attend at least 2 festivals a year but there were years when I attended as many as 8 music festivals per year. So you have to trust me when I say that I’m a pro festival goer. I even took my child to a music festival three times!
Seriously, I don’t know of any other travel blogger or website owner who has attended as many festivals as I do.
The music festival season in Europe is summer and some of our favorite ones are – the Modem Festival in Croatia, the Boom Festival in Portugal, the S.U.N. Festival in Hungary, the Shankara Festival in Switzerland, the Wonderland Festival in Germany, and the Master of Puppets in Czechia.
Anyway, now that we’ve bought a few more festival tickets for next summer, I wanted to share our packing list with you that’s based on my real festival experience, which will come in handy if you’re also doing what we love doing.
Pro Tip: Always read everything on the music festival’s official website before attending one that you haven’t ever visited. This will help you keep in mind basic things like what the weather is usually like, if there are supermarkets nearby, how the terrain is for walking and camping, and if there’s a place to swim, etc.
Disclaimer: Just because we attend music festivals, doesn’t mean that we participate in intoxicants. We do it for our love of music, the psytrance community, and nothing else.
When it comes to packing, just remember – “less is more” and carry the bare minimum. I really hope my festival checklist helps you. Here’s an ultimate packing list for music festivals to help you get started:
Table of Contents
Music Festival Packing List
Here are some very basic music festival essentials that you need to carry in case you aren’t camping. I understand that at times there are people who would find a room near the festival location and stay there instead. In that case, these are the things that you absolutely must have.
1) Festival ticket, your Identity Card, and Money
The entry tickets for most of the festivals sell out months in advance. Hence you most likely will carry an e-ticket with which you will need to show your identity card to get a festival wristband to enter.
Carry cash because your debit card or credit card won’t be accepted at a music festival. At least not the ones that I visit. Don’t take out all your cash in one go to the dance floor but bit by bit every day.
2) A Small Waist Bag / Cross-Body bag / Backpack for the Dance Floor
One of the most essential items for a music festival is a waist bag will help you keep your money and essentials so that you don’t have to carry a big bag around. If you don’t like waist bags, then get a cross-body bag or a small backpack – just a simple and easy-to-carry bag that’s close to your body.
Always keep this waist pouch or bag with you. It doesn’t have to be an ugly fanny pack but you can find a good-looking one that looks good with your outfit. More than how it looks, it should be comfortable to dance in. Here is what I usually carry:
You can also get a typical rave backpack with UV colors and everything if you want to be extra. I also like some of the cuddly soft toys like backpacks but in my experience, they attract a lot of dust which eventually causes a stuffy nose for me.
3) Reusable Water Bottle
I like to carry a steel water bottle that I can hang from my belt so that I always have my water with me without having to hold it.
4) Sunscreen, moisturizer, and lip balm.
No matter how the weather is, you WILL need your sunscreen if you’re staying out. Even if it is cloudy or cold, you need to use good sun protection if you’re outside. It isn’t just limited to summer festivals.
Don’t be a “too cool to use sunscreen” kind of person and save your skin. Skin cancer is real and it can be prevented by just using a sunblock.
5) Dry Tissues, Toilet Paper and Baby Wipes in your Bag
Why carry toilet paper when you aren’t camping? Because sometimes festival toilets are dirty and you can use toilet paper to clean the seat. Moreover, there are times when the toilet rolls are finished in the public toilets so you will be happy that you carried a small one with you.
You never know when you (or one of your friends) need them so it is good to be safe.
Overexposure to high decibels can cause long-term damage to your ears. Even if the sound system is of the highest quality, you should carry a pair of ear plugs.
If you stay near the speaker on the dance floor and don’t use earplugs, then you can risk giving yourself tinnitus, which has literally no cure and it will drive you bonkers
8) Powerful Snacks for Emergency
Buy nuts, protein bars, granola bars, bananas, chia seeds, yogurt, breakfast cereal, and similar things that you can pack in your backpack that you bring with you to the dancefloor so that you can refuel from time to time.
9) Extra Jacket for Cold Weather
I will talk more about the clothes in its separate section below but I’d like to mention an extra jacket as an essential for a cold weather festival so that you remain comfortable and have a good time.
10) A rain poncho or a rain jacket
A rain jacket will come in handy unless you are going to a very dry area. Depending on the weather forecast, carry one. I have one that folds up in a super small ball and I always carry it.
Festival Camping Checklist
I am assuming that you are going to a camping music festival so that’s why I have mentioned everything you need for not just the dance floor but also for camping.
Honestly, you wouldn’t be looking for a music festival packing list online if you were going for a music festival without camping – because in that case you just need to carry just the essentials for a party instead!
1) A tent (Unless You Are Sleeping in Your Van)
Assuming you’re camping at the festival, you’d need a tent for sure. Even if there are rooms nearby, I’d recommend you camp at the festival to get the most out of it.
We carry Quechua Quickhiker Ultralight, which is surely more expensive than others but is super light to carry. Of course, we invested in a good tent because we use it often.
If you are driving to the festival with your camper van, then your life will be very easy. We did that too and it was really the best and the most comfortable experience.
You might consider renting a van or a big car if you don’t have your own. Or if you are flying to another country for a festival.
2) Sleeping Bag
I bought an all-season Quechua sleeping bag and I have used it in almost every single festival whether it was warm or cold. When it was cold, I layered it with blankets and when it was hot, I just slept outdoors.
In Boom festival, I rolled it and carried it in my backpack to the dancefloor and I slept near the dancefloor because my campsite was too far away. But I understand that’s an extreme kind of behavior, haha.
3) Mattress or an Air Mattress with a Pump
When we take our camper van to the music festivals then we don’t need to carry extra mattresses. But for the time we don’t take our van but we pitch a tent, a mattress is a must-have for a festival.
If you have a normal van without beds in it, you can push the seats back and just use an inflatable car mattress to sleep on.
I have tried many kinds of mattresses for camping and I feel that the most comfortable mattresses are air mattresses. If you do carry an air mattress then don’t forget to carry a pump to inflate your mattress.
A little bit of preparation will keep you super comfortable when you sleep so that you can recharge.
4) Pillow, Blankets & Eye Mask
Don’t forget to carry a small camping pillow and some of the best ones are those that you can roll up. Also, look for an inflatable pillow.
Going for a festival in cold weather. You will need blankets. We have blankets that can roll up to a super small size and we carry them for almost all the festivals. It gets cold at night even in summer and it helps to layer up the sleeping bag with the blanket.
Not everyone would need an eye mask but I do when I sleep in a place that’s not completely dark. If you have this habit too then don’t forget to carry your eyemask, this way you can also sleep in the day.
5) Lamps or Lights
You will need to find your camping spot at night and it helps if you put up lamps all around so that you can spot it. The worst is that when you come back to the camping area there are a gazillion new tents around yours and you can’t spot yours.
6) A flashlight or a Headlamp
A flashlight is a must-have for camping at music festivals. Carry a few spare batteries because you never know when you run out. You can carry a headlamp too!
7) Basic toiletries
You’re going to need your toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, and a deodorant. Try to carry a natural soap and shampoo so that it doesn’t interfere with the venue’s ecological balance.
I did say less is more but based on my experience, I’d say carry an extra toothbrush. Toothpaste can be borrowed by other people but if you lose your toothbrush, you’d be ok if you carried an extra one.
7) Small Toiletry Bag / Shower Bag
I know everyone carries a small toiletry bag but I carry a super tiny backpack that is my “toilet bag” and also a “shower bag” because it has some essential toiletries but also toilet paper, disinfectant, wet wipes, and an extra pair of socks and underwear just in case! (I have never had to use the extra pair of underwear – thank god)
I still remember how everyone laughed at my toilet bag but ended up borrowing my things from my one and only “toilet bag” at the Atman festival in Sri Lanka.
8) A towel
I can’t believe how many people forget this. Don’t forget you will take a shower in the music festival area and carry a towel. I used to carry a quick-drying microfiber towel which packed up in a little ball. I lost my microfiber towel after back-to-back music festivals and ended up using just my sarong.
9) Water refill container
I did mention refillable water bottles but now I want to talk about a container that’s 3-5 liters and you can put it near your tent. Most of the festivals have a water refilling station and you should make the most of them by carrying a reusable water container. It is important for you to keep yourself hydrated and avoid the use of plastic glasses or plastic water bottles.
10) A few trash bags or Plastic Bags
Trash bags will always come in handy to keep your campsite clean. You can also use them to put on your dirty clothes so that they don’t mix with your clean clothes.
Remember to recycle everything and use your plastic bags for many occasions before you properly dispose of them in a trash bin that’s just for plastic.
11) Wet wipes or Baby Wipes
I did mention wet wipes in the essentials section but I’d like to reiterate and add more for camping. Wet wipes or Baby Wipes are the first things I pack when I put my stuff together for a festival. I love being clean and I believe wet wipes are always useful.
You can use special “facial wipes” in the morning to wipe your face when the queue outside the washbasin is too long or you can also simple wet wipes to wipe your ass after using the toilet.
I usually carry facial wipes to remove makeup or face paint, wet wipes to be used in toilets, and disinfectant wipes for cleaning the toilet seat. Keep them separate and don’t by mistake use the disinfectant wipes on your face!
12) Extra Toilet paper
I did mention toilet paper earlier but it is also added to the camping list because you need to carry more if you are camping. I don’t want to be stuck in a situation where I can’t find any! Do you?
Based on how long the festival is, carry enough toilet paper. I normally carry one roll for one festival that’s 5 days long. Of course, I carry more when I take my kid to the music festival with me.
Sometimes music festival toilets are dirty, so it helps to have some extra toilet paper and disinfectant spray so that you can clean the toilet seat.
13) Menstrual Cup
This one is for the ladies. If you haven’t started using a menstrual cup already, you have got to get yourself one because seriously, this will change your life. Get one as soon as possible so that you’re fully prepared before you travel because it takes a while to understand how to use it.
Once you get a hang of it, there is nothing else that feels as clean and is as stress-free to use as a menstrual cup. I recommend you compare menstrual cups online before you decide which one to get.
14) First Aid Kit
Honestly, all the festivals that I have been to have an emergency or first air area but it is always good to carry a few plasters, band-aids, cotton, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, thermometer, disposable gloves, dressing for wounds, adhesive tape, and gauze.
15) Camping Chairs / Table / Mat
This may not be an essential item for everyone but you will at some point need to sit outside your tent. It is good to have a small chair or a table. A mat would help too. Ideally, we keep one mat near our tent and another small one in our backpack for the dance floor.
16) Cooking Gear for Camping
Festival food is fun and the most memorable meals are the ones that you cook with your friends. You won’t buy every single one of your meals at the festival but you will eventually have to cook something in your camping area. Get a small camping stove and don’t forget the gas.
Many big festivals like Boom in Portugal or O.Z.O.R.A. in Hungary have community kitchens. In that case, you don’t have to carry a camping stove and gas.
17) Cooking Utensils
This is where you have to strategize and carry just a few basic things that have many purposes. We usually carry 1-2 cooking utensils like 2 small pots, knives, cutlery, plates, cups, and a moka pot for coffee.
18) Basic Food Supplies for Camping Meals
80 Percent of the festivals have areas from where you can buy cooking essentials but remember to keep some things like salt, sugar, pepper, tiny cooking oil bottles, canned beans or eggs for protein, pasta or rice for carbohydrates, and 1 or 2 vegetables of your choice for your daily fiber intake.
Plan out meals like curried beans with rice, pasta with veggies, and eggs, when you are shopping for your food supplies so that you don’t waste food and carry just enough.
Remember to balance out your meals so that you don’t get constipated during the festival, trust me it isn’t a good feeling at all. So keep up the fiber intake.
19) Dish Cleaning Soap, Sponge, Basket and Towels
If you are going to cook, you have to eventually clean the dishes too. Carry a tiny dish-cleaning soap bottle, a sponge, and kitchen towels to dry the utensils. It is always a good idea to carry a plastic basket in which you can carry the used utensils to a washing area and then bring them back.
20) A Lock for Your Tent
I will be honest, I have never locked my tent but you shouldn’t make the same mistake. In every single festival, I have heard of thefts and I always make a mental note to carry a lock for the next festival and I forget.
21) A Cooling Box or a Portable Refrigerator
If you have a car or a van then you can easily carry a portable refrigerator and let it stay on. However, if you just have a tent then an insulated cooling box will be an amazing thing to have for your fruit, vegetables, milk, juices, drinks, and other perishable items.
What clothes to carry for a music festival?
1) Comfortable Clothes that Show Your Personality
This is where you can totally go crazy. Let your personality shine with your clothes and wear something outrageous that you wouldn’t normally wear because you are at a music festival after all. But remember, it should be something that’s comfortable and it shouldn’t bother you while you dance.
I usually cut up my old clothes and make new ones. I never carry new clothes for a festival because I know I will dance in the mud for hours and mess up everything. But once in a while, I do buy some UV clothes or things that glow in the dark to set the dancefloor on fire
If you’re heading to a festival that’s in a cold place, then don’t forget to carry a thick windproof jacket. We love this packing guide for Ireland, which isn’t really for music festivals but will come in handy right before a winter music festival.
2) A basic tank top or a tee shirt
If you’re going for your first festival and aren’t sure what to wear, then you won’t go wrong with a basic tank top. It will look amazing with just about anything – skirts, shorts, and even outrageously colorful festival pants.
3) Fleece or jumper, long pants, and socks
Depending on the weather. Even in warm places, it does get cold at night so it helps to be prepared.
4) Swimwear (if your festival location has a swim area)
Most of the festivals have a swimming area and you don’t want to miss out on it just because you don’t have your swimsuit. Although skinny dipping is usually acceptable if you’re in a psychedelic festival or an experimental festival, it is good to be prepared.
5) Fun Costumes
Now that we have covered comfort and basics, let’s talk about something that will make your personality shine.
You gotta wear some funny or entertaining clothes when you’re at a music festival. Get a costume or just an accessory to reveal your true identity! Are you a pirate? Or an elf? Perhaps Borat? Look at my LED Fairy outfit at the Experience Festival in Koh Tao.
6) Flip-flops and Sandals
Carry something which is easy to wiggle out of when you want to dance barefoot. When I went to a festival in Thailand, dancing barefoot during the day was a decent idea, but not at night because that’s when people can really step on their toes.
7) Boots or Sneakers
Carry some heavy-duty boots that are comfortable to protect your feet from cold and other people stomping on you on the dance floor. I like carrying Ninja boots because they are super comfortable for dancing.
Remember, it is about comfort so don’t just go for something that looks good, but wear something that feels good too.
Sunglasses won’t just protect your eyes from the sunlight, but also from the sand from the ground that flies around when people stomp.
If you like dancing in the sun, you’re gonna need a hat. Also, don’t forget that you have to be outdoors for the duration of the festival unless you are in your tent or campervan. So remember to protect yourself from the sun, even in the winter.
10) A sarong or a scarf
I can never go to a festival without a sarong. Sarongs are so useful because you can use them in so many ways. You can wrap around your swimsuit and dance. Or if it gets hot, you can wet it and wrap it around your head/body to cool down.
I usually carry more than one sarong because these can be used as mats, bedsheets, pillows, cute asymmetrical skirts, and more. The possibilities are endless!
Back in 2016, after attending back-to-back festivals, I ended up losing my towel and used my sarong as a towel and it worked. During sunny days, I wrapped my sarong around my waist as a skirt on top of my swimsuit and danced in it.
11) A few sets of underwear and socks
I don’t need to give you a reason but it is common sense to carry extra pairs of undies when you’re in a festival. Be prepared to wash your undies in the shower and hang them to dry near your campsite.
Optional things to carry for a music festival
Even though San and I always carry our hammocks, I’m putting it in the optional category for you. For me, hammocks are sometimes more comfortable than tents for a good sleep. If you don’t find a good spot to hang your hammock, you can always put it on the ground and use it as a mat.
2) A mat / Yoga Mat
You can use it to put on the ground to sit not just in your campsite but also somewhere near the dancefloor. Yes, it is in the options section of the music festival packing list but I always carry it.
I do Yoga every single day so I carry a compact Yoga mat which can be used for sitting as well.
3) Hula Hoop, Poi – things that you can play with or dance with
There are so many fun things you can carry with you to a festival so that you can play with them. Carry a fun bag with a bubble gun, funny toys, a Hula hoop, poi, etc. I usually carry a hula hoop and San carries juggling balls.
Unless you don’t mind spending a lot at the festival bar. I normally don’t enjoy alcohol but San does. If the festival is in Germany, he carries his beloved Jagermeister and beers.
5) Insect repellent
I swear by my mosquito repellent patches but San never uses any of them. Get a bug spray or an insect repellent because you will be outdoors and at some point you will get bitten if you don’t protect yourself.
6) Tent covers or parasols
Tent covers are useful when the weather is extremely hot, extremely cold, or rainy. These will protect your camp from heat. It is a good idea to cover a sitting area outside your tent with a cover.
7) Portable Speakers
Yes, you are going to a music festival which already would have nonstop music, but in my experience, portable speakers really set up a good vibe and energy in the camping area. As a result, you will also attract friends from your neighboring camping sites who might just end up being your friends for life.
I did mention the first aid box but you can carry a few band-aids in your small bag that you carry to the dancefloor. You may hurt yourself while dancing. For bigger injuries, head to the first aid area. Every festival has one.
9) A power bank / Solar Panel to charge your gadgets
Although I’d recommend you stay disconnected from the outside world during the festival, in case you’re expecting your friends to call you because of some reason, then a power bank will save your life.
My portable phone charger is a power bank with 20000 mAh with 22.5 W for fast charging. I was shocked that I was able to charge my iPhone to full three times and still there was more than half of the battery left on the power bank.
You can also look for a solar panel for charging external USB chargers, these can really come in handy when all else fails.
10) A hand-fan
Yes, it is in the option section but after attending so many festivals I have realized that a hand-fan is the BEST festival accessory. It will keep your face cool when the weather is warm and it will increase air circulation. I don’t know about you but at times when there are too many people on the dance floor, I feel I need some extra breathing space. A hand fan helps when there is less space.
11) Disposable Cameras / Polaroid Camera
I have honestly never carried a disposable camera or a Polaroid camera to a festival but one of my friends carries one and it is always fun (and old school). Yes most likely you will use your phone for a photo if you click one which you may not print, but the ones from a Polaroid camera will stay on as a memory on your work desk or your refrigerator for years.
This is going to save your life because you can carry your camping gear, and your food along with your luggage on a cart and pull it behind you. If you are doing the festival with your small child then this will help a lot.
Things I’d Never Carry to a Music Festival
1) Glass bottles
Firstly, many festivals like Boom have banned these glass bottles because they are fire hazards. Secondly. it’s risky to carry them because they can break and cut your skin. If you’re buying your own alcohol then you can transfer the contents in a flask instead of carrying a glass bottle.
2) A selfie stick
My apologies to those who can’t live without their selfie sticks. Your stick can poke and hurt people who dance around you. Almost all of the music festivals have amazing official photographers. Ask one of them to click your photo.
3) Bad attitude
Leave this at home. Spread good vibes and don’t forget to smile at everyone.
So, what do you think my packing list for music festivals? Is there anything that you carry and I missed it out? Let me know in the comments section. Oh and do share this list with your friends to help them pack for the music festivals.
Consider carrying a Dry Bag if the festival is close to the water. Check out this list of some of the best dry bags.
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