How to Survive Music Festivals

South by Southwest, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza are all just around the corner, and even Austin City Limits will be here before we know it. With festival season soon kicking into high gear, now is the time to start planning ahead to help you maximize on the fun, and minimize the hassle. Music festivals are an exciting time to listen to your favorite bands and discover new music, but even the most seasoned festival-goer can find themselves exhausted and unprepared if they don’t plan ahead.

Constant performances, socializing, and partying can take a toll on you. Don’t let a lack of preparation leave you unable to enjoy all that your favorite festival offers. To help make the most out of your festival experience, we’ve compiled some of our best tips to help you stay ahead and enjoy the bands. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, you’re sure to benefit from a little extra planning and thinking ahead!

music festivals


Before You Go

Book Ahead

If you are attending any of this year’s hottest festivals, chances are, you already have your tickets. Tickets to the most popular music festivals usually sell out quick, making early purchases necessary. Assuming your tickets have already been bought, now it’s important to think about things like plane tickets and lodging accommodations.

While you can sometimes find good last minute deals on hotel rooms and with budget airlines, it’s usually best to book ahead. Plane tickets are almost always cheapest when purchased sooner rather than later, and hotels will often increase the price on rooms near festival dates, making early booking a good idea.

If you have no luck finding availability or a room within your budget, don’t fret. With house and room booking websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, FlipKey, CouchSurfing, and VBRO, budget accommodations can be easy to find. In fact, using these services can sometimes be even better than staying in a hotel room as they can help you to better live like a local, and can often help you connect with the local community.

Alternatively, if available, camping can be a fun way to immerse yourself in the festival spirit. If you don’t mind sleeping on the ground or sharing a bathroom with your neighbor, camping can be one of the best ways to truly experience festival culture.


Plan Your Schedule Wisely

To help you maximize the fun, plan your schedule wisely. Once you know the festival lineup, sit down and formulate a plan. Figure out which bands you want to watch the most, and decide which ones you would be okay with missing.

Equally as important, don’t forget to plan time in your schedule to rest and wander. Festivals can be hot and exhausting affairs, and a quick nap in the shade can go a long way. Once you’ve given yourself some time to rest, take time to wander and discover new bands. While music festivals are great for catching your favorite act, they’re also the perfect time to discover something new.

When it comes to bigger festivals where more than just music is involved (we are looking at your SXSW), a well-planned schedule is a must. With events taking place all around town, it’s important to know when and where you have somewhere to be. For interactive panels, know ahead of time which ones you want to attend, and show up early. For concerts and after parties, RSVP far in advance, and avoid venue hopping as much as possible. By figuring these things out ahead of time, you’ll save yourself valuable time and energy at the festival.

Most festivals will have an official phone app which can come in super handy and can help you make the most of your time, but remember to have a backup plan. Cell service and phone batteries at festivals aren’t always reliable.


Pack for Every Occasion

While it’s important to pack light for a festival, it’s equally as important to be prepared. Music festivals can be uncomfortable and unpredictable events, but with a little proper planning and smart packing, you can easily make the most out of your festival experience.


Think Comfort

Tip number one, and maybe the most important piece of advice you can follow – wear comfortable shoes! Little sleep, poor nutrition, and standing for long hours at a time will take a toll on your body. A good pair of comfortable shoes can make the world of a difference in how you feel.  If you just can’t stand the thought of your shoes clashing with your perfectly picked festival outfit, invest in shoe inserts. A little extra padding can go a long way.

Another important thing to think about is the weather. While everyone hopes for mild temperatures and sunny blue skies, it’s important to remember that the weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers, and be sure to wear sunscreen, and on those sunny days, you’ll also probably be glad for a good pair of sunglasses and a hat. In case of rain, don’t forget to pack a poncho, or if you don’t mind holding on to it all day, an umbrella also makes a smart choice.


Think Health

While it’s important to keep yourself comfortable, it’s also important to keep yourself healthy. One of the biggest ways people fail to do this at music festivals is by making poor decisions with what they eat and drink. Festival food can get really expensive, and isn’t always very nutritious. Granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits are all great things to have on hand when hunger hits. Not only will they give you the energy you need to have fun, but they’ll keep more money in your wallet, which is sure to keep you happier in the long run.

Equally as important, bring a reusable water bottle! Staying hydrated is incredibly important for your health, and filling stations at festivals are usually readily available, making a reusable water bottle a smart and economical choice.

Another easy thing to stick in your bag is a bottle of hand sanitizer. It doesn’t take up much room, and you’ll sure be glad to have it after leaving a porta potty in the middle of the night. Bandages are also another festival must have. They’re small and lightweight, and we all know that blisters and cuts happen. While first aid kits can usually be found at festivals, it’s not something you want to count on.


Think Convenience

Though maybe more of a necessity than a convenience, fanny packs and backpacks are both great things to have on hand at music festivals. They keep your hands free and your belongings close, so you can enjoy the festival instead of worrying about keeping up with all of your stuff.

Another major convenience item to think about is a portable power bank. Whether texting or making calls, taking photos, recording videos, or using an app to help you stay plugged in, you’re bound to be on your phone a lot. Be sure you’re prepared for a dead battery by having a charger and power bank on hand. You’ll be glad for that bit of extra juice when your favorite band hits the stage!

And on that note, wear a watch and have a backup plan! Even with a fully charged battery, phones at festivals sometimes won’t work. Setting a meeting time and place with those in your group is never a bad idea.


Enjoy the Freebies

Music festivals are a great time for businesses to advertise, and a good time for you to walk away with free stuff! Whether it is food and drink offers or printed promotional products, keep an eye out for useful free things. Metallic foil tattoos help you get into the festival spirit, and hand fans are fun to play with and keep you cool.  Koozies are great for keeping your drinks cold, and lip balm is always a good thing to have on hand. While swag bags can sometimes be a hassle to keep up with, they’re also a great way to get your hands on some things you maybe forgot to pack. After spending so much money on tickets, you’ll be glad for some fun free stuff!



While planning ahead and coming prepared can help you enjoy your festival experience to the fullest, the most important bit of advice to follow is to have fun! Remember, despite careful planning and packing, things might not always go as planned, but with a positive attitude and happy-go-lucky spirit, your festival experience is sure to be a happy one to remember!


Are you a business looking to market you brand at festivals? Be sure to check out our Advertise Your Brand with Popular Festival Promotions post to see our most popular festival promotional items! 

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