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Packing for the Bonnaroo Music Festival in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee last month was one of my biggest packing struggles. I would be camping for 4 days, using porta potties and not showering unless I wanted to fork over $7. Did I mention I’m not outdoorsy?
Camping at a music festival is not like camping in the outdoors, but it can at least give you some sort of basis for comparison. While your trip is mostly about the music, you won’t be able to fully enjoy yourself if you forget essentials like a tent (duh!), sunscreen or water. Whether you’re going to Glastonbury, Coachella or any of the other major concert festivals, I’ve added a few more items to this four-day music festival packing list to make your trip more comfortable.
Other Music Festival Packing Lists:
Packing List for Iceland Airwaves Music Festival
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2 dresses – I liked having something light and flowy since I was in the sun all day. A basic jersey sundress will do, but don’t pack it if you would be heartbroken to have it ruined.
2 pairs of shorts – It’s entirely too hot to wear anything else.
3 tank tops – Be sure to put sunscreen on those shoulders!
2 bras – I recommend 1 sport and 1 regular, but I also wore my swimsuit top as a bra alternative.
4 pairs of underwear – I packed all of my travel underwear, including ExOfficio, Pop N Go and Clever Travel Companion, just to have my bases covered.
1 hat – Find something to cover your ears.
1 rain jacket or poncho – Ultimately, if you don’t pack it then it will rain. Be prepared!
1 hoodie – I got cold at night while walking back to the campsite, so I packed my ExOfficio Chica Cool Hoody to wear.
1 swimsuit – I used my swimsuit as an extra bra and underwear, but the festival also had a waterslide and fountains throughout to keep us cool.
1 bandana – It keeps dust out of your eyes, can be used as a headband or drenched in cold water to tie around your neck.
Tevas or Chacos – You want something with a back, but not athletic shoes that will make your feet sweat.
Flip flops – I only wore flip flops when I needed to quickly run around the campsite to grab something or go to the bathroom.
Rain boots – If it rains, you’re looking at a giant mud pit.
Diva Cup – I can speak from experience that there isn’t really any place to put feminine products.
Sunscreen – If you bring nothing else, pack sunscreen! And pack extra, as I ran out.
Bug spray – I didn’t have too many problems with mosquito bites, but this really depends on where the festival is held.
Toilet paper – Just in case.
Medications – Bring whatever you take at home, plus some form of ibuprofen and allergy medicine.
Dry shampoo – It’s okay not to shower for four days, particularly if you have to pay for it, so dry shampoo is a good substitute.
Wet wipes – Again, a good shower substitute.
Hand sanitizer – Some portable toilets have hand sanitizer, but most don’t.
Towel – I didn’t shower, but used my towel to dry off my tent after the rain.
Deodorant – You and your camping buddies will be glad you packed this.
First aid – Pack a few bandages and burn cream in case of blisters or sunburn.
Gold Bond or baby powder – It may not sound cute, but it’s a good idea to pack something to put between your legs so they don’t chafe. It can double as dry shampoo.
Tent – This one is a no brainer for both convenience and price, unless you’re bringing an RV.
Tarp – Fashion yourself a day tent to keep out of the sun while not burning up.
Flag or swag – There are thousands of tents at your campsite which may all look the same at night after a few beers. Bring a flag or something memorable to locate your tent.
Cooler – Load it with water bottles and ice or reusable ice packs before you go and purchase more if you need to once you get there.
Water and ice – So important it’s mentioned twice.
Flashlight or headlamp – I brought my headlamp to navigate my way back to camp at night.
>>Check out these solar-powered lights so you don’t have to worry about batteries.
Knife – I packed a knife to make peanut butter sandwiches.
Gas for your car – Fill up before entering festival grounds. DON’T drain your car’s battery by charging your phone! Turn it all the way on instead.
Sleeping bag with pad – You’ll want something underneath your sleeping bag to keep you from feeling the hard ground in your back.
Chairs – Pack beach or tailgating chairs to sit around camp until the festivities begin.
Ticket – This one is important!
Frisbee – Any sort of entertainment will do. A deck of cards is also a good idea.
Ear plugs – If and when you do sleep, you’ll still hear plenty of noise from all night concerts.
Eye mask – The sun creeps in starting at 6 am, so an eye mask may give you an extra hour or two of sleep.
Snacks – I bought most of my meals in the festival grounds, but ate cereal for breakfast every morning. Pack a few healthy and non-perishable items to bring with you. If you want to save even more money, bring a portable grill and cook hot dogs for meals.
Extra phone battery – Since I was unable to charge my phone (which I used as a camera) often, I bought an extra juice battery pack on Amazon that works for one charge.
Duct tape – You never know.
Alcohol – Glass bottles are prohibited, but everything else is fair game.
Cash – It’s better to have too much than not enough, especially since ATMs inside the festival charge a fee.
Febreze – A small bottle is useful for when your clothes start smelling.
Batteries – Bring extra batteries for anything you’re bringing, namely flashlights and cameras.
Final Music Festival Tips
1. Practice setting up your tent. If you get to camp in the dark and have never set your tent up before, it’s going to get tricky.
2. Less is not always more. It’s better to be over-prepared than without something you need. But on the other hand, fellow festival-goers are almost always willing to help.
3. Have fun! Remember why you’re there. Don’t spend the whole time at the campsite, but venture out to see the shows and to meet people.
What else goes on your packing list for music festivals?
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Lexi m says
Don’t forget some type of small back pack! Personally, I’d use my fanny pack, so you don’t have to go back and forth to camp and if you don’t like wearing jean shorts with pockets. (:
Good tip, thanks Lexi.
Hi–I was thinking about contributing a packing list for Music festivals since I attend 3 or 4 a year here in the U.S. Did a search and saw there was already one here—it is right on point! Wish I had seen it before. The only thing I would add is a “go girl” –very helpful for use in pota johns. thanks for the list!
Traci Burton says
Sunglasses! A lighter – I don’t smoke, but a lighter has come in handy for a million reasons in the past. A thin, light bed sheet. Again, a million uses. Pillow. Hubby–also for a million reasons 😉
This was really helpful, thanks!!
Those little fold up plastic ponchos are very useful. Even though the weather may look good it could still rain and these take up very little room and will keep you realativly dry.
And they only cost about a buck! Good idea for a list addition 🙂
I’m going to the Coachella to work as a guard for 4 days what do u prefer I bring
Just came across your packing list and it’s pretty much spot on. I would like to add one thing that is crucial at every festival I have attended – BIN BAGS/REFUSE SACKS, They can be used as a bag for dirty clothes, food, rubbish etc and also handy to have when you come back to tent with muddy boots – just step into the bag and take your boots off and voila – no mud in the tent! You can put them over your chairs/backpacks to keep them dry, or use them as shade when it gets hot. You couldn probably even fashion them into makeshift dresses if you really needed to!
Clorox wipes. Put them in a gallon Ziploc with your toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You have a “go” bag for the port a potty. Also backpack chairs are awesome, I got a great one from Tommy Bahama. And don’t forget your easy-up or other shade shelter,they not only keep your tent cooler longer in the morning,but they are nice to sit under rain or shine.
Oh I have TONS of things, but I am usually getting down with my kids, so bear that in mind. I prefer a small spray bottle with lavender (or peppermint) essential oil and some water. Keep it in your cooler for a refreshing spritz. Peppermint will keep bugs away and lavender can soothe your skin if you get a sunburn. Also, those thermal emergency blankets are great to put on the sunny side of your tent to deflect heat.
I also always take allergy pills and some kind of nose spray.
When it gets dry and all the dust comes, so very helpful.
I know a lot of women don’t bother when at a festival, but, makeup and glitter!!!
Kizzy Robinson says
I am 11 years old, personally i think this list is great idea and it helped me out alot. BUT YOU MISSED OUT THE PJ’S! D-: pls add them to your list. THANKYOU!
I freeze water bottles to use as ice and when they melt I can use them to drink, brush my teeth, wash my hair, lots of uses and the best part is no ice melt to clean.