How To Survive Your First Music Festival



You’re off! You’re going to embrace that fun in the sun, parties, great times, new friends and, well, obviously some amazing music shows. You are officially a festival babe.

You’ve probably seen enough festival fashion to make you a professional dresser (step aside Kardashians), and you’ve got every cute new item going. Crop top? Check. Flower crown? Check. Fringe? Macrame? Afghan dress? Check, check check!

However, like your mom, I’m going to highlight some of the finer points that, if remembered, will prevent you from being “that girl people talk about” on Day One. I’ll also give some general all-around good advice to keep you looking and feeling your freshest even on Day Four.

So, step one! Before you leave, remind yourself of what you have packed! You’re hopefully all set with your tent, sleeping bag, canopy, comfy shoes etc. You’re on the right track. There is always a Target, Walgreens, Kroegers, etc, before you get into the festival. Buuuut, not so much once you’re in. Inside, there may be a convenience store of sorts, but it’s like the movie theatre rule: Who wants to pay $10 for raisinets? No one. Just no one. So make sure you have the following:


Seriously. Sunscreen will save your life – and your look. The best bet is to go for a spray-on waterproof/sport version that contains minerals. I say this because as the day goes on, you’ll get dustier and dustier – not to mention sweatier and sweatier – and rubbing in a cream is not a pretty picture.

Your skin will thank you, as all of the hat-wearing in the world cannot save you from the relentless beatdown of sun all day, every day. There aren’t a lot of mirrors lying around, but I guarantee at some point you will look in a mirror and say, “Holy !@#$! What in the name of ten saints is happening to my skin?” Don’t panic. Part of it is dirt, and part of it is exposure. Keep spraying the sunscreen on, and keep hydrating.


You need these, trust me. Any moist towelette really, not just those meant for babies, but a big pack of the baby ones are more cost effective. You can really just never be sure what kinds of ahem… toilet conditions (if they can be called toilets) you will be facing. People can barely keep public restrooms in bars together, so just imagine a giant field with thousands of people. I personally liked to have one big pack, and then I also bought the travel sized ones and I threw those in my daily bag. You will probably make friends with someone over the wipes. Not kidding. Some poor soul will have forgotten these and you will be their knight in shining baby wipe armor.


You need it. Now is not the time to be skimping on the water situation. The best idea ever is to freeze your water bottles and then put them in your cooler. Make that water multitask! Not only do you get a drinkable ice source, but you also can use the frozen bottles on your skin when it is getting a little too hot out there. Pour some cold water on a bandana or headband and put it around your neck or head. Heaven.

Bring one of those water bottle / fan contraptions. Your face feels fresh, you feel fresh…#winning. Usually, there is a water fountain situation going on, but if you are picky about your water, you do not want to run out. You should also invest in those flavor tablets/drops. They add instant flavor to that H2O if you’re not the water-guzzling kind. Some of them even have added electrolytes and vitamins making them more sport drink like, and thus, multi-tasking again!


Sadly, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t play along. Being caught in the rain can be a serious drag if you’re not prepared. People say to bring rain boots. I personally don’t like when rain/mud get in my boots, so I bring water-shoes. Are they cute? Welllllll….. More like “Nerd Alert” status. But I opt for black shoes, so they suit me just fine. They sell $10-$20 ones at Target, Walmart, etc, so I know that I won’t be freaking out if they get ruined.

Also, get one of those ponchos that are in the $5-range, or bring a rain-proof jacket if you have one. Umbrellas, of course, might do the job, but I personally don’t like carrying them around… because I’m lazy.


People always ask about the taste and cost of festival food. I don’t think it’s too pricey, but I’m from New England, so prices always pale in comparison to where I live.

You’ll probably shell out about $10-20 a meal if you don’t bring any food of your own. I choose to bring bars of all kinds and snack on those throughout the day, and I get a festival meal per day.

Bringing a whole cooking apparatus is not necessary. Its cool if you have it, or if you live near the venue, but a lot of people fly in and this isn’t an option. So dry goods are awesome. Also: instant iced coffee (thank you, Starbucks gods) is crucial, and pre-made sandwiches (PP&J, ham and cheese) are great. It’s basic, but it saves $$ that you can then use on festival swag.

We’ve now arrived at my favorite topic, because everyone always wants to know about…


All kinds. They exist at every festival; alcohol included.

Listen, I’m not saying don’t be a little crazy. Crazy can be fun. What I am saying is: be smart. Don’t try something at the beginning of the day that you’ve never heard of with some friend you just met. Mostly, you don’t want to be down for the count in the early game. You want to be the marathon-finisher who is proud to have pulled that all-nighter, raving the wee hours away. You came to a festival to have a bangin’ time. You need to actually remember it.

Also, there are now some companies that sponsor drug-testing at festivals to make sure that what you are taking is actually safe. While this isn’t happening at all festivals, it’s becoming more and more popular to help prevent overdoses and other medical emergencies.

There you have it. Success is at hand. Everything else will follow….The music! 30+ newly discovered bands are in your future. Unforgettable headliners will play. The friends! There will be people camped out on all sides of you. You’ll probably start making friends in the queue to get in. You’ll go to shows together and party together. The fashion! Your outfit is rad. You’ll still see a million styles you want to steal. It’s like fashion eye-candy everywhere.

Have an amazing time…send me all of your selfies.

{Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash}