Summer is officially here and that means…SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVALS! Whether you are a fan of country, jazz, folk, bluegrass or americana there is a festival for you! Although, Tennessee’s most famous festivals Bonnaroo and CMA Fest have already come and gone, there are still many other festivals coming up like Milwaukee Summer Fest, Warped Tour, and Pitchfork Music Festival.

No matter which festival you choose, there’s always one decision that is the hardest: packing! Of course there are the typical things to pack toiletries, clothes, camera, your phone, and your friends, but there are always those thing you wish you would’ve had. As a festival go-er there are a few things I have learned along the way (and the hard way) that I wish I would’ve had that I want to pass along to you.

Protect Yourself

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! As obvious as this one may seem, it’s easy to forget. Protecting yourself from the sun is important! Not only does it protect you and your skin, it helps you enjoy the remaining days of the festival not hurting from a sun burn. I recommend picking up a face sunscreen as well as a normal sunscreen for your body. Just don’t forget to keep applying during the day. It won’t hurt you to pack aloe vera as well just in case you still forget and get burned.

In addition to sunscreen, there are other methods of keeping your skin protected from harmful UV rays. Hats, sunglasses and lightweight scarves are also must-have’s for your summer festival adventures.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Since most festivals are held outdoors and often in fields, it’s important to pack a facial scarf (or bandana). Or if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, you will be exposed to a lot of it during some festivals. Scarves like this one, from Amazon, are affordable and you will thank yourself later for investing in one of these.

Dancin’ Shoes

Ladies…you make me hurt when I see you walking around in wedges or other fancy shoes. Packing comfortable shoes is a must! As cute as converse may be they aren’t exactly the best choice either. Pack shoes that have great support and won’t have you limping in pain the next day.

Be sure you have broke in your new shoes as well, but just in case pack a travel pack of bandaids. You’ll be glad you did.

Keeping things comfortable should not only apply to your footwear choices, but clothing choices as well. Pay attention to the weather. Don’t be afraid to pack and wear a poncho. Don’t pack clothes that you will be tugging on all day, pulling down, or sweating in. There are many ways to still look cute but not sacrifice the most important thing, you and your comfort.

Keep It Clean

Of course you’ve packed your toiletries, but whether you have a hotel or are camping there are a few items that may get forgotten that will help keep you feeling fresh throughout the day. Dry Shampoo and baby wipes will be your friends – ESPECIALLY if you are camping. If you are sitting here thinking, “Oh I’ll be fine, I’ll be showering at the festival bathrooms”….Keep in mind most of these bathrooms at festivals will have long lines and you could be waiting HOURS for a chance to shower.

Making Memories

Yes, I know your phone more than likely has a camera on it and if you are ok with that then great. However, I am one of those people that likes to record my memories in a more high-quality type fashion. When packing a camera, remember that most places won’t allow camera’s with a detachable lens. Media is generally the only ones that are allowed in with these types of cameras. Pack something that is small and can fit in your bag/backpack that is a basic, point-and-shoot style camera.

It’s all about the Benjamin’s

It’s easier to carry around a debit card, but some festivals will have tents and vendors that don’t take cards. Mostly because reception in a field can be a little difficult. Don’t miss out on purchasing merchandise or collectibles from your favorite festival just because you didn’t have some cash.

Not planning on purchasing merchandise? Keep in mind there will be food and beverage vendors on site as well. Keeping yourself hydrated and nourished is key to lasting through those long hot days. Don’t let your self get dehydrated, in general, or just because you didn’t have a couple Andrew Jackson’s with you.

Powering through your day

Packing chargers and charging cables I feel is something that is commonly forgotten. Don’t let your camera or phone die and miss out on recording your memories because you forgot to power up your devices. Two things I strongly recommend having in your bag is a phone charging case, like a Mophie, as well as a power bank. This may seem like an overkill but depending on how much you use your phone or if one of your batteries dies you will have a back up. You may also be able to help a fellow festival go-er in need that forgot to pack extra power.

If you are planning on attending your first or fiftieth festival these tips should put you on the path to being a festival pro. Overall, the most important thing is to bring good friends with you, make memories that will last a life time and enjoy yourself! Dance. Laugh. Make new friends. Summer festivals have lead to some of the best things in my life and I always smile when I look back on all the fun times that were had and I have made some of the best friends I could’ve asked for because of music. This is my wish for you at your next festival.