Your Essential Festival Packing List


Photo by Rémi Bridot — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

How do you make sure your festival experience is absolutely perfect? Here’s advice from the thousands of festival goers who come through KadmusArts every day.

Be prepared. Be the perfect packer.

You can’t control what’s on stage, what’s available to buy, or what the weather will be. However, you can make sure that you are ready for any condition, whether you are going to a one-day festival or sleeping over.

As in all great travels, the key is to travel light. Sure, there will be the dorky boy scout who will seem to have everything from a gourmet kitchen to a McMansion tent. Let him take the prize for carrying the most, worrying the most, and showing off the most. You are there to have fun.

Here is a short and simple list of twenty-one essential Festival items that cover all contingencies. All the items can easily fit into a small pack, or shoulder bag.

  1. Dress in Layers. As the weather changes, so can you. An outer layer of clothes can also be used as a pillow, as a blanket to lie on, or as a towel.
  2. A hat. Americans love their baseball caps. You want one that works for sun, rain, wind, tossed drinks.
  3. Rain boots. Rain and outdoor festivals are old friends. Having dry feet makes you more comfortable, and allows for a fashion statement, from colorful wellies to preppy Bean boots.
  4. If it does rain, prepare for the mud by wearing less clothing. A bit counterintuitive, but it is easier to wash the mud off of your body than it is to get the mud out of your clothes.
  5. Sunglasses. When it’s not raining, it will be sunny. Squinting all day is not fun. Moreover, when you meet someone new they appreciate that moment of intimacy when you remove your glasses and they can see your eyes.
  6. A cape. Really. The idea was posted on KadmusArts’ culture news, and it makes a lot of sense. Check out the original story here.
  7. Sunscreen. You don’t want to grow up looking like a lizard that drives around Florida and uses all the health care funds to take care of their skin cancer. Plus, there is nothing more miserable than trying to lie down when your back is burnt. And, you do hope to lie down, right?
  8. Socks. No matter how much you enjoyed wearing your funky but practical sandals during the day, at night your feet will be pleased that you thought to keep them warm.
  9. Bug spray. You never know. But why worry?
  10. First aid packet of insect bite cream, a couple of band aids in case of blisters or a silly cut, ibuprofen for sore muscles and helping to soothe the consumption of alcohol, and most importantly, Imodium. Can you think of anything that would ruin your time more than the river-of-pain that is completely stopped by the wonder drug of Imodium?
  11. Phone/camera. Try to imagine what Woodstock would have been like if everyone had mobile phones. The same — only better.
  12. Battery charger for your phone/camera. Your friends and parents will feel so much better knowing that you won’t run out of juice.
  13. Pen and Paper. You’re in the middle of a festival of creativity. Why not be creative, too? Make notes, write a poem, compose a love letter, let your future progeny know what it was like to be there!
  14. A book. Honestly. There is always down time, especially if you are staying over night. Need to avoid an awkward social situation, such as being abandoned by your best friend? Open your book. Travel to another place in mind and spirit. You might even get noticed and start a new friendship when approached — “Wow. You like Thomas Mann, too?”
  15. Flashlight or head lamp. It’s not silly. It’s totally practical. Not only used for reading, a flashlight can make a trip to the toilet safe, a search for your keys easy, and a beacon for all those who weren’t as smart as you to think ahead.
  16. Throat lozenges. Soothe your throat from all that cheering and singing.
  17. Breath mints. When your mouth feels clean, you feel clean. Plus, when you meet someone new, haven’t you tasted enough beer?
  18. Hand sanitzer/baby wipes. Very American. But USA’s contribution to global travel is more than baseball caps, shorts, and McDonald’s. Hand sanitizer helps you, it just does. Baby wipes have a thousand and one uses — from cleaning up spills to refreshing the back of your neck.
  19. Toilet paper. Enough said.
  20. Water. Water. Water. Ol’ Mick Jagger trick: drink two glasses of water for every one glass of alcohol. You’ll be able to strut all night.
  21. Smiles. Did you know that there are people who go through a whole day without smiling? Why in the world would you want to be one of them? Festivals are made to ensure that we all remember to smile.

- Bill Reichblum

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10 Responses to “Your Essential Festival Packing List”

  1. Tweets that mention KadmusArts – where culture speaks » Blog Archive » Your Essential Festival Packing List --
    May 3rd, 2010 05:01

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  6. Sleeping Bags
    September 22nd, 2010 12:12

    I would agree that hand sanitizer and baby wipes are essential for camping trips because you just don’t know whether there will be access to wahing facilities and whether they will be usable anyway!

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