This post is sponsored by KEEN.
2014 is going to be an exciting year for music festivals and it’s time to start planning what days you’re going to be at SXSW, renewing your passport for Primavera Sound, and buying your passes for Coachella. So while you’re taking care of all that, we’ve pulled together this list of essentials that any festivalgoer will want to have, everywhere from Bumbershoot to the Gathering Of The Juggalos.
For multi-day festival attendees from Bonaroo to Burning Man, you are well nigh nuts if you don’t elect to bring your own accommodations. This means a tent — a substantial one that can weather the elements ranging from freezing nights to mosquito attacks, to the sudden unexpected arrival of Wayne Coyne in a floating bubble. Festivalgoers: don’t scrimp on this imperative necessity, and for the love of god, keep your eyes on the Flaming Lips.
An elevated, lightweight alternative to sleeping on the ground! Perfect for those fairgrounds that might be muddy or cold. And who doesn’t love a hammock? This particular rugged setup keeps bugs and rain away and comes in over a dozen colors.
Why do you need to be guarding your possessions at a festival? We’re not in Cell Block B! But the truth is that petty theft and outright thievery are a regrettable part of festival life, and keeping a strict understanding of your cash on hand is part and parcel of making the best of your festival experience. The fanny pack/money belt keeps things close and convenient. And only the most brazen of pickpockets would ever chance to go there.
No matter what festival you’re at, you’re going to see some things. It might be your favorite band tearing it up in front of thousands of ecstatic revelers. Perhaps it’s a beautiful sunset over the mountains or the sea. Maybe it’s a celebrity puking near the chill-out tent. You’re going to want to document these things. You could bring a camera, or you could rely on your phone’s camera, sure. Or you could pick up one of these attachments that turn your smartphone into a digital SLR camera, allowing you to operate at peak efficiency and quality.
Festivals are majestic, but at a certain point we have to get down to brass tacks. If you are seriously going to commit to the festival experience, you are going to want, nay, NEED toilet paper, sun block, dry shampoo, baby wipes, basic first-aid implements, and especially hand sanitizer. Anything that might help keep a person feeling fresh and relatively free of disease you’re going to want in abundance.
You didn’t think of it, but boy you’d be screwed without it! Sure three days of disconnected bliss sounds great in theory, but what happens the first time Vampire Weekend plays a brand new tune and you’ve got NOTHING to record the moment with? Pre-empt the tears and get one of these now.
No rational participant in the festival circuit would ever find themselves without a viable option for bedding down amidst the night to dawn bacchanal. Don’t make the same mistake that others have before you! Make sure you have a sleeping bag of your very own. Better to invite others to share your digs then to find yourself on the other side of the equation.
Most festival security will glance askance at anything bigger than a medium-sized backpack, so keep this vital carry-all as modest as you can manage. But by all means, don’t sleep on the value of the backpack! Containing everything from sunscreen, vitamins, and a fresh change of clothes, the backpack is the best non-human friend a festivalgoer can come by (Daft Punk excepted).
2. Marshall Water-proof Shoes, $130.00 / Marshall MID Boots, $120.00 / Clearwater CNX Sandals, $100.00
Wearing flip-flops or shoddy canvas sneakers to a festival is amateur hour. You know this. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether that’s a puddle of water or something else you’re standing in in the porta-toilet. And if it rains, good luck. No, you need good, sturdy footwear that allows you to comfortably stand for hours on end, pogo freely when the music calls for it, and navigate the sometimes rocky, rain-soaked, or otherwise difficult terrain of any festival ground. Pick up a lightweight pair of boots or rugged sandals like these, and avoid the risk of having your little piggies suffer while you’re gyrating to MGMT.
1. A Ride Home
After all of the festivities have ceased, the unfortunate fact remains that you are still going to have to get home somehow! Trick a trusted friend into this particular diligence or arrange for an understanding cab driver and make your accommodations. Otherwise, you might well end up in one of those less desirable sleeping bags.