At my first-ever music festival (Ultra Music Festival Miami in 2012), I had arrived unprepared. I had rushed to Forever 21 the day before my flight and in a frenzy, bought up every cropped-top and kandi-like accessory I could find. Nevertheless, the first thing I had to do when I arrived in Miami was to hit the mall as I had forgotten the one festival essential that mattered in Miami: sunglasses.
So, I made this music festival packing list so that you can arrive at a festival focused on doing what’s important: TO PARTY!
After 50+ festivals across 4 continents, I’d say I have the science/art of packing for a music festival down to a T. Bringing the right things not only can make your life easier and save you money, it can also make you friends at the party!
Party animals, here’s my ultimate music festival packing list, broken down by 3 sections depending on what you’re looking for:
This is a list for a one-day festival. Going to a multi-day and/or camping festival? A camping festival packing list is coming soon, but in the meantime you can check out my Tomorrowland Packing List, which includes a camping packing list.
Basic Music Festival Packing List
You can forget everything else, but you CANNOT FORGET THESE!
- Festival ticket
- Debit and credit cards
For in-depth inspiration, check out my festival outfit suggestions for Tomorrowland: What To Wear to Tomorrowland: Outfits for the Classy, Trashy, and Outrageous
- Festival outfits
- Tennis shoes / sneakers / other close-toed shoes. Whatever you do, don’t wear open-toed shoes, sandals, or heels.. I prefer to wear platformed sneakers – not only can I dance all night long, I can also walk right through wet floor, or whatever sh*t people throw on the on the dancefloor.
I have the black version of these Puma platform sneakers.
They’ve held up so far, let’s hope they last me through this festival season.
(I’ve gone through 2 pairs of shoes in the past year already)
- Backpack or Fanny Pack. Those that know me know that I swear by my fanny pack. It’s the best for raves! It is also harder to steal from (unfortunately there are people like that out there), and works for both men and women.
This galactic design is great for raves:
And they’re also available with different designs (i.e. American flag!)
Depending on where the festival is:
- Sweater. It can get cold at night
- Swimwear. If it gets really warm or if there’s a lake/pool, you’ll want to wear a swimsuit!
Optional but recommended items:
- Sunglasses. Ideally only costing $5 as there’s a good chance you’ll lose them. Sunglasses are always good to have, even if there is no sun. Those laser beams can hit your eyes pretty hard.
- Hat. A hat not only protects you from the sun, it also shields you from the rain! Plus it looks cool.
- Tissue paper. The porta-potty most likely won’t have it.
- Hand sanitizer. The porta-potty likely doesn’t have a sink with running water.
- Sun screen. If it’s a daytime festival on a sunny day. I personally love the Banana Boat sunscreen, you don’t feel it on your skin at all.
- Portable charger. There’s nothing more tragic than running out of juice in the middle of the festival and losing your friends. Anker PowerCore 10000 recommended. It’s lightweight and holds 3.5 charges.
- Charging usb cable
- Ear plugs. Tinnitus is serious and irreversible (yikes!). Protect your hearing by filtering out the bad frequencies while maintaining the sound quality. Etymotics is a good brand.
Bringing the right kind of party accessories can literally make you the most popular person at the rave. To be popular you have to fulfill one of two roles:
- Have something flashy to spark a conversation, or
- Be a provider of highly coveted items in the rave economy (no I’m not talking about drugs)
I’ve experienced this first-hand. One of my festival buddies, Fernando, always gets chatted up to at festivals we go to in the Netherlands, while people rarely talk to me. The difference? He always wears his Chilean flag, and people approach him to talk to him about it.
Before you say, “maybe people don’t want to talk to you because you look like a MEAN person”… I got my hands on some LED earrings recently and suddenly everyone, guys and girls, are telling me how great it looks, asking where I got it from, where I’m from, blah blah. So yeah, having a cool accessory definitely draws people to you!
- Anything that glows.
- Totem poles. Not only are they fun, you’ll also never lose sight of your friends again. Check the festival policy on this as sometimes long poles are not allowed. A workaround is getting an inflatable pole like this ducky basher.
- Bottle caps. In Europe, they often don’t give out bottle caps at festivals.
- Flag. represent your country with a flag! (American flags & more)
- Fake Tattoo’s to give out. This guy at EDC helped us put on bunny fake tattoo’s… and we loved him for it. Honestly a great way to hit on girls 😉
- Cigarette & lighter. Even if you don’t smoke, if you offer people cigarettes at a music festival, they will love you forever.
- Gum. Ravers love to chew gum.
- Water. Be the Savior of ravers by providing water – a Camel back is the best way.
- Hand fan. Especially on a hot day or a venue with no ventilation, ravers will be begging to borrow your fan. Heck, they’ll probably even offer to fan you for 5 minutes just so they can use it for 1. Want to go extra fancy? Get a battery-operated Small Portable Fan.
Let’s face it – festivals are expensive. You’ve already shelled out on festival tickets, transportation, and maybe even accommodation. It makes sense to save money where you can, and what’s worse than buying $15 mixed drinks at the event?
Remedy: Secret flasks!!
Am I missing any of your favorite items on my music festival packing list? Let me know in the comments below!
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