The Essential Music Festival Packing List

So you bought a ticket to your very first camping festival. CONGRATS! You’re about to embark on an adventure you’ll never remember forget. Except now what? You know you have to prepare for some good ole camping, but you also have to plan for the music festival.

We’ve worked together to bring you a comprehensive in-depth music festival packing list to everything you’ll need to make your preparation go as smoothly as possible. Should hiccups strike, don’t worry you’ll be prepared, a Girl Scout won’t have nothin’ on you. Scouts honor (where them fellow Brownies at???).

If you’re not camping next your car, don’t forget a wagon! | Summer Camp ’16

To help you even more, we’ve provided a delightful printable checklist at the bottom – perfect for checking off before heading out to every festival.

Pro Tip: Keep your packing lists inside plastic sheet protectors and use dry erase markers to check off everything you’ve already packed. Erase and use again for your next trip!


Click here to download your own printable music festival packing list here!


Most festivals typically have a central area barricaded off from the camping grounds to house the main stages. Typically before entering this area, you will be required to pass different checkpoints where you’ll be subjected to a pat down and your bag rummaged by a festival employee or volunteer. Every festival is different in how strict their checkpoints are, so keep that in mind.

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Sign on the fences barricading the main stages at | Bonnaroo ’13

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who snag a great campsite close to the main stage area, here is a list of festival gear essentials that I never leave my campsite without to avoid the sometimes longgg trek back to camp.

  • Backpack, Fanny pack, or CamelBakLike we talked about in The Ultimate Music Festival Survival Guide this choice is really up to your discretion and individual preference.
  • BandanaProbably the most versatile piece of festival gear you will bring. It can be worn as a headband, tied around your neck to keep of the sun off, tied around your nose and mouth for those extra dusty festival grounds, or doused in cold water to cool off.
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle – Make sure to refill constantly throughout the day, especially for those summer festivals.
  • Wallet – Bring something that zips so your contents stay secure.
  • Lighter
  • Chapstick
  • Tear off some toilet paper and put into a plastic baggie, you’ll thank yourself later when you’re running to the porta-potties after downing that bean burrito and to your dismay the TP is all gone
  • Wet wipes
  • Schedule – Bring a paper schedule outlining all the performances you want to see even if you have the festival app on your phone, the likelihood of your phone dying mid-fest is very high.
  • Totem Pole – If you’re in a large group at venue with terrible cell reception, totem poles come in handy for your group to stay together in a crowd of thousands.
  • Eye drops – Festivals can get super dusty so having eye drops handy can do wonders.
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  • Light button down or sweater – Some festivals can get chilly at night, so having a light button down or sweater that you tie around your waist during the day can be a blessing when temperatures drop with the sun.
  • Flask – Be careful with this one as many main stage areas do not allow these inside, however if you can get one can be extremely rewarding, especially when your rum and coke costs $12 from a vendor.
  • Small portable charger – For when your phone or GoPro dies away from the campsite
  • Your ticket or festival band! – Festivals are continually shifting to chipped wristbands that help to keep tabs on you as you enter and exit the main stage area.


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Sarah pitching her very first tent at | Bonnaroo ’13

I’ve been camping numerous times before, but it wasn’t till after attending several music festivals did I really now how to prepare for a campsite. The camping conditions vary greatly from venue to venue so do some research before you head out. Making sure you have the below items in tow will prepare you for almost any camping conditions.

  • Tent – The majority of festivals are during summer. Even if your tent says it can hold 6 people, you probably don’t want to be in an enclosed space for that long in the heat of summer.
  • Hammer or mallet to secure the tent stakes into the ground
  • Canopy tent/shade awning – There is nothing worse than coming back to your campsite mid-day to having the only shade be inside your hot and muggy tent. While they’re not the cheapest purchase you will thank yourself profusely later, trust us.
  • Tapestries, twine + clothespins – These are perfect for hanging from your canopy tent to block out the sun. Some festivals in woody areas will have trees surrounding your campsite. If that’s the case consider yourself lucky to have shade, then tie twine from tree to tree and drape your tapestries and secure with clothespins to create your own little space.
  • Big cooler, if possible bring two – one for food and another for drinks and ice
  • Foldable table – Not completely necessary but comes in handy when you’re making sandwich’s or want to play flip cup.
  • The beautiful treelined camping grounds of Suwannee Hulaween
    The beautiful treelined camping grounds of | Suwannee Hulaween ’15

    Sleeping bag

  • Air mattress if you’re fancy huh
  • Pillow
  • Sheet + blanket
  • Foldable chairs
  • Lanterns and/or flashlights – Ones that have hooks are the best to light up the camping area while allowing your hands to be free. Solar powered lights are a gem.
  • Ice – Fill the cooler to the brim with ice before heading into the festival grounds. It’s going to melt quickly so be prepared to buy a bag or two at the festival.
  • One gallon of water per person – Not only is staying hydrated essential throughout the festival, many times the showers will cost money to use them. One way around this is using a gallon jug of water and pouring it over your body to clean up, dubbed a ‘hippie shower.’ Sometimes the cold water at the filling stations makes this process one of the most refreshing things you’ll ever experience.
  • Lock for your tent – While it’s not completely necessary, and to be honest I’ve never used one, it can give you the added benefit that your stuff is safe and sound. Lock important or expensive things in your car while you’re away from camp.
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    Camp Lamp (+ Go Noles) | Bonnaroo ’14

    Earplugs for sleeping at night. If you have extra sensitive ears you may want to consider bringing them into the main stages.

  • Flag and pole to mark your campsite – While this is a great way to aerially signal your campsite, chances are someone around you will have their own flag or helium balloon marking their campsite that you can use to locate yours.
  • Duct tape – You never know what may happen that duct tape could save the day
  • Paper towels
  • Battery powered speakers to jam out at the campsite
  • A car charger with two or more USB openings so you can charge more than one device at a time and get the most out of your car being on
  • Trash bags – Clean up after yourselves!
  • Jumper cables and knowledge on how to jump a car – Better safe than sorry


Every festival deals with food and beverage differently; same goes for every festival goer. Below lists just the basic food and beverages everyone should bring.

  • Solo cups – Perfect to mix drinks or use for some beer pong action
  • Water bottles – Refill them at the water stations instead of popping open a a new one every time you’re thirsty,
  • Beer and/or wine boxes – Choose your poison
  • Assortment of snacks – Chips, crackers, breakfast bars, dry cereal, and Chex Mix all make great snacking options.
  • Liquor and mixers if that’s your thing


Stay tuned for a post all about festival fashion and attire! But for now, here are just a few basics.

  • Bathing suit
  • Underwear

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    And you thought style like this wasn’t possible without showers and mirrors | Coachella ’14
  • Socks
  • Tennis shoes
  • Rubber flip flops – Perfect for bathing and for those late night porta-potty trips.
  • Sweater
  • Light button down
  • Shorts or skirts – Disclaimer: If you choose to wear skirts or dresses, WEAR SPANDEX OR A BATHING SUIT UNDER THEM.
  • Tank tops or crop tops
  • Shorts and tee shirt to sleep in


  •  Towel
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap
  • Razor
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes or baby wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Travel Size Shampoo
  • Travel Size Conditioner
  • Ponytails
  • Brush
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Q-tips


  • Emergen-C
  • Advil
  • Band-Aids
  • Claritin
  • Tums
  • Melatonin


  • Deck of cards – Never know when you’ll have some down time and want to invite the camp next door for some drinking games.
  • Koozie
  • Plastic grocery bags –Perfect to hold your dirty clothes and shoes before heading home
  • Ping pong balls – Beer pong provides a great forum to get to know your neighbor campers
Click here to download your own printable music festival packing list here!

Get ready, because you’re about to embark on a trip of a lifetime!


Sunset at | Counterpoint ’14

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Essential Music Festival Packing List

Did we miss anything? What are your must-have’s on your music festival packing list?

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