I am by no means a festival pro, but I have learned a few lessons from going to shows and festivals this summer, combined with the many shows since I was 15. Note that large festivals are not my gig. I'm a shorty and don't really like being around tens of thousands of people who are bantering, tripping on who knows what, and being generally stupid.
I also like to have a few less rules governing where and when I can enjoy my day and the music. With less people, there is less policing, making me a happier camper. Literally. You can keep your Coache-Lolla-Bonna for now. BUT these tips will apply to any festival, anywhere.
One important first step is to carefully read the RULES for the festival you are attending. This can make a huge difference in saving you money and avoiding wasting or losing any of your things. Most festivals have restrictions on: water, alcohol, food, chairs, blankets, cameras, tents, clothing, etc.
Personally, I like fewer rules! A fantastic thing here in Texas is that we've been able to attend a few festivals that are BYOB. CAN YOU SAY AWESOME?! This is pretty much amazing considering it saves you mucho-buckos, and you get to drink whatever you want. It often happens that a festival is sponsored by a certain beer and you end up drinking Miller Lite all weekend, YUCK.
Also, remember to take parking in to account when you're planning your weekend. Most places are going to charge extra for parking. And it may be a long way from where you will be camping. Therefore, think about what you will be packing and carrying to your campsite. If you are staying offsite, look in to whether there are shuttles or day-pass parking to accomodate you.
Now, For Your Packing List:
- Water - MAKE SURE to read the rules on this. Most often, you will have to bring sealed bottles of water and empty Camelbaks. Water is a necessity to keep you healthy, hydrated, and able to keep on partying
- Hand Sanitizer - You will likely be using porta-potties which may not have any. Also, it's nice to have for before you make or eat food.
- Toilet Paper - Porta-potties can RUN OUT! Remember to bring your own :)
- Chairs - Bring foldable chairs for your site and if you're lucky, you can take them with you in to the concert bowl area
- Comfy Shoes - We usually start out with sandals because of the heat, and once we're nice and dirty, we'll switch over to shoes to keep feet protected as the night gets dark and crazy
- Pillow - You will definitely want a comfy place to rest your head after a loud night of music and drinking
- Cooler - A necessity to keep your food fresh and your drinks cold. Depending on the rules, you can even bring a shoulder cooler to take a few drinks with you to the bowl
- Snacks - It's always nice to have a little bite of sugar or salt as your day goes on
- Trash Bag - Be kind and put your trash together. This works for empties, wrappers, food, etc.
- Cash - Remember to bring cash for food, tips, and possibly perusing vendor tents if they have them
- Car Phone Charger - Although you should try to enjoy the atmosphere, be sure to keep your phone alive in case of emergencies and also being able to find your friends the next morning
- Camera - Some people will use this more than others, but be sure to have some way to capture the craziness that goes down!
- Your Signature - My what?! Festivals are fantastic places for creativity. Therefore you need your one fun thing to set you apart. Crazy hat, neon pants, body paint, masks...whatever you can come up with! Anything goes at a festival. Enjoy it!
My all around advice is to follow the rules, pack smart, drink water, take pictures, and let yourself go! The best thing about festivals is that you can literally act however you want and you won't be judged. Keep yourself in check, but also let yourself enjoy the whole atmosphere and everyone around you.
HAPPY FESTIVAL SEASON!!