Your Ultimate Festival Prep Checklist

Your Ultimate Festival Prep Checklist

It’s finally here. Festival season is in full swing and those summertime vibes are high. As you prepare for festivals and summer tours, you want to make sure you have everything you need to have the best experience possible. That means packing all of the fun party gear, as well as the practical stuff that makes a festival that much more enjoyable (and safe). 

We’ve got the ultimate festival prep checklist to help you pack to perfection. So, print this out and grab a pen so you can check off items as you pack. This is going to be the best summer ever!

Why Festival Prep?

Planning for a festival is not quite like a normal vacation. Music festivals are 24/7 parties lasting anywhere from two to four days (or longer!) and you essentially need to bring everything you’d want to have fun, stay safe, and look amazing while doing it. We’re talking about everything from reusable water bottles to bandaids, sleeping bags, tutus, costumes, and eye drops. It’s a big list and it can be easy to forget a thing or two. 

It’s a delicate dance of packing everything you want and need but making sure you can reasonably haul it all with you. Dragging a fifty-pound suitcase across festival grounds is not that much fun, but skipping out on bringing rain gear is also a drag. One thing is for sure about festival prep—packing the right mix will drastically improve your experience. 

Festival Prep Checklist

Planning ahead means avoiding some potentially uncomfortable situations. Even festival pros tend to forget something essential (hopefully it wasn’t your tickets). So, buckle up and get ready to dive in. Get creative, crank up some music, and start packing. 

Know Your Festival

The first thing you need to do is assess the situation. What kind of festival is this? 

  • Are there any COVID restrictions
  • Will you be camping on site, glamping in a more upscale area, or do you need to book a hotel?
  • If there is RV parking, are there any hookups?
  • Are there any rules about re-entry that you should be aware of?
  • What is allowed and what is prohibited?
    • This is usually geared towards outside food, beverages, bicycles, etc.
  • What’s the climate like? Be sure to check the weather. 
  • Is this event pet friendly? (don’t show up with your pup if it’s not)
  • Are there accommodations like pop-up showers?
  • Do you need to bring in your own drinking water, or are there plenty of stations for refilling?

Check the festival website for a map of the grounds. It’s always good to know the lay of the land before you arrive. Things can feel a bit overwhelming when you first roll up, but having an idea of physical locations is immensely helpful. 

This is a good time to make sure you have your ticket close by. If it’s a digital-only situation, keep the link saved on your phone so it’s ready to go. To be extra cautious, have the receipt handy and take a screenshot of anything that might help you out in case you misplace the information. 

The Essentials

These items might seem like no-brainers, but they are often the things that get left behind or misplaced! 

  • Cash AND debit/credit cards
  • Driver’s license or ID
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Medications (don’t forget your EpiPen!)
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Map, directions to festival, and map of festival grounds
  • Musical lineup and set times
  • Toilet paper – you want it, you need it, bring extra

Oh, and don’t forget your tickets. Yes, we’re going to be saying a lot. 

Get Your Gear

Camping is a big deal at festivals. Not only do you need stuff to make a mini home, but you want to be comfortable and possibly have a fun place to entertain yourself and new friends when you’re not at a show or exploring the grounds.

It might also need to be set up for cooking unless you plan to dine at food carts all weekend. But, we suggest at least planning for some late-night snacking because the munchies are for real after dancing all night. 

Camping Equipment

If you are tent camping, be comfortable! After long days and nights of playing and dancing, you will want a private place to retreat to for a little shut-eye before the next day’s event. 

  • Tent – double check that you have the footprint, stakes, hammer, rain fly, and repair kit.
  • Air mattress, pump, and repair kit.
  • Sleeping bag suitable for the weather, blankets, and pillows.
  • Tarp or ground blanket – both are great in case of rain, but a ground blanket is nice for sitting around the festival grounds as well.
  • Battery-operated fans to keep you cool. 
  • Lighting – headlamps, torches, lanterns.
  • Flags or some kind of signage so you can identify your camp from a distance
  • Tent locks
  • Jumper cables

Comfort & Decor 

Make it fun! Everyone always remembers the camps that feel welcoming, bright, and cozy. 

  • Camp chairs
  • Speakers
  • Decorative party lights
  • Tapestries or other decorative cloth to enclose your camp
  • Pop-up tent or other items for shade cover
  • Inflatable furniture
  • Rugs
  • Tiki torches
  • Folding table
  • Cards, games, frisbees
  • Hula hoops
  • Bubbles
  • Glow sticks
  • Disposable cameras

Kitchen Supplies

The goal of packing festival food is to bring stuff that is easy to grab and snack on, and simple meals that require little prep. If you aren’t able to restock on ice at the festival, only bring as many cooler items as you can reasonably cool throughout the weekend. Think chips, dip, granola bars, burrito ingredients, eggs, bacon, potatoes, and sandwich stuff. Don’t forget mixers, beer, sparkling water, or liquor as desired. 

Other essentials for your kitchen include:

  • Coolers and ice
  • Pop-up table
  • Bin for washing dishes
  • Dish soap, sponge
  • Reusable plates, bowls, cups, utensils, a good knife
  • Reusable containers, baggies
  • Tinfoil
  • Drying towels
  • Pots, pans
  • Bottle opener, corkscrew
  • Camp stove and propane, or grill and charcoal
  • French press for tea or coffee
  • Trash bags
  • Hammock

Personal Stuff

Think of all the things that you need on the daily for hygiene.

  • Toilet paper
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Baby wipes
  • Lotion
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Hair ties if you need them
  • Condoms
  • Menstrual supplies
  • First aid kit
  • Towels
  • Small hand mirror
  • Retractable clothes line
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Ear plugs
  • Eye drops
  • Deodorant
  • Advil or ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines

How are you feeling? Do you have everything ready so far? It seems like a good time to remind you to pack your tickets!

Set-Up

If you are camping on-site, make sure you know where you can park and whether or not you have to hike your gear in. If you do, plan to arrive as early as possible to get a great spot. Walking back and forth to the car a dozen times can be exhausting! 

Some festivals offer RV camping where you have power hookups and the ability to run generators. This is usually not near tent camping because the sound of generators can be quite loud for folks sleeping in tents. If you plan to take an RV, make sure you purchase any necessary parking passes and know where you’re going when you arrive.

For festivals without overnight camping, you’ll want a hotel within a reasonable distance. Generally, that doesn’t mean walking, so it’s best to plan for an Uber or Lyft to get you to and from the festival grounds. If you can, schedule these ahead of time to beat the rush of festival traffic. 

The Look

We saved the best for last. What are you going to wear? There are definitely some items you need to stay warm, cool, dry, and comfortable depending on the occasion. And then there’s the flair, the fabulous costumes, the outrageous wigs. 

Must-Have Clothing

  • Shoes – sandals, sneakers, flip flops
  • Rain gear – waterproof jacket, shoes that can get wet
  • Socks, underwear, bras
  • Tank tops, t-shirts, and hoodies
  • Warmer jacket for the evening
  • Shorts, pants, skirts, dresses
  • Swimming suit
  • Bandanas, hats, sunglasses
  • Backpack or daypack for taking to shows
  • Sleeping clothes (be prepared for chilly nights)

Festival Funwear

Go nuts!

  • Wigs
  • Glow-in-the-dark body paint
  • Body glitter
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Tutus
  • Jewelry
  • Outrageous sunglasses
  • Brightly colored lipstick and makeup
  • Anything covered in glitter and sequins
  • Costumes of all kinds

Extracurriculars

Plenty of events these days are cannabis-friendly and encourage you to safely consume. If that’s the case, bring your stash! To keep it safe, use a dry bag or a crush-proof container. Pre-rolls and edibles are easy grab-and-go festival choices and travel well. Be sure to keep them dry and store any temperature-sensitive items in a cooler. 

If you choose to partake in other extracurricular activities, play it safe. Stick with your friends, and check the festival map for first aid tents or resources like DanceSafe where you can test substances to ensure they are safe for use. 

Feel Real

The most important thing you can do to have an amazing festival is to stay hydrated, take care of your body with nutrition and sun protection, and oh yeah—don’t forget your tickets! From all of us at RNBW, we wish you the best festival season full of unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.