9 Things to Pack for Music Festivals


I am writing this blog post from my bed where I have been for the last 14 hours, dozing in and out of consciousness. Dramatic? Maybe a little. But my body is recovering from one of the most taxing experiences of my life: South By Southwest.

It was my first big-time music festival, and I had no idea what to expect as I drove from the little town of Athens, Georgia to Austin, which was about to become the center of the world for a week.

Being the control freak I am, I did as much as I could to exert authority over my physical situation at all times, and my backpack soon became the primary supply source for the people I was with. Here are a few of the things I packed into my bag, along with some things I wish I’d had.

  1. Backup battery – You’re going to be on your phone all day every day – Instagramming, checking in, RSVPing to events, and finding your way around the city. Outlets won’t be available, so you’ll be thankful to have a backup charger come 3:00 in the afternoon when your phone is at 4%.
  2. Sunscreen – No one likes sunburn.
  3. Water – For the amount of free stuff you get at festivals like SXSW, water can often be ridiculously expensive. Save yourself money (and the trouble of dehydration) and pack a Nalgene.
  4. Tissues – The blogs said the port-o-potties would run out of toilet paper and they were right.
  5. Hand sanitizer – See above.
  6. Extra jacket – It has two purposes: it keeps you warm when it gets chilly at night and it can also serve as a blanket when you’re sitting (or sleeping) on the ground.
  7. First aid kit – Blisters, cuts, and scratches will probably happen, so it wouldn’t hurt to stash some bandages and antibiotic ointment in one of your pockets.
  8. Earplugs – Your ears will thank you.
  9. Midol – Even if you’re not on your period — hear me out. It’s a caffeinated painkiller. Can you imagine a better drug for powering through when you’re exhausted and sore from walking?

Festival season is coming up quickly, so whatever your plans for your next one, don’t forget to pack these things. You’ll make tons of friends.


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