Packing Checklist for Your First Music Festival

Communication, Music Festivals / Monday, April 1st, 2019

So, you’ve assembled a killer crew and locked down your tickets, now you just need a packing checklist for your first musical festival. Whether you are making your way to a smaller, low-key festival or heading to the desert for big gigs like Burning Man or Coachella, knowing exactly what to bring can be a bit overwhelming for first-timers.

And if we’ve learned anything from Ja Rule lately, musical festival planning is clearly important. But have no fear— we’ve created a music festival packing list to help take all the stress out of packing. Taking these few steps to plan your experience will keep away the mishaps and mistakes and instead let you focus on exactly what you came for—the good music and the good vibes.

Looking for an itemized list? Skip straight to the bottom.

Festival camping

Base Camp Packing List

First things first, you’ll want to get your base camp sorted. If the festival calls for tent camping or car camping, you want to sort out who is responsible for bringing the different types of gear. This includes everything from tents to sleeping bags, sleeping pads, blankets, tarps, and flashlights/solar lights.

Planning sleeping arrangements takes little effort but goes a long way. You don’t want to find yourself sleeping out under the stars alongside whatever night critters might be crawling around. Unless, of course, that’s your thing, in which case we admire your bravado.

Most of us need tents though, so it’s best to get the sleeping situation figured out early. Guestboard offers a great centralized messaging board where the entire crew can hash out all of the details regarding who is bringing what without the headaches of long texts and email chains.

And even if your music festival isn’t the three-day bender type, bringing along essentials like shade tents and blankets are no-brainers when it comes to having a basecamp that instills envy from fellow festival-goers. No matter how good the lineup shakes out to be, sometimes you just need a place to park it for a while and relax.

what to pack for a festival

Clothing to Pack

Depending on the location of your music festival, temperatures can vary significantly from daytime to nighttime, so it’s best to pack layers so you can easily swap on and off as the weather changes. Sunscreen and hats are also necessary combos, but don’t forget to account for less-than-ideal weather. Throw in a waterproof jacket or a poncho, too, because no storm is going to rain on your musical festival parade, is it?

And while it might be fun to break out the gladiator sandals or easy slip-on shoes, the number of times your toes are going to get stepped on when the music gets wild will have you quickly questioning your decisions. Plus, music festivals = long lines. Bathrooms, food, drinks, you name it, and it’s probably got a long line. Opt for good, sturdy shoes.

Last but not certainly not least—one of the best parts about music festivals is the excuse to go all out with costumes and accessories. Use Guestboard to share links for inspiration and ideas with your crew regarding group costume ideas. Because let’s be honest, the best costumes are always the well-coordinated group ones

Food and Drink

Check ahead of time to find out what your particular music festival allows you to bring inside. Some want you to buy their alcohol, but others will let you bring in a limited amount (score). Chat with your festival crew to get this sorted ahead of time, so that each attendee will have their drink of choice in hand all weekend long.

And who doesn’t love those music festival angels? You know, the friends who plan ahead and bring all sorts of amazing snacks, sandwiches, and treats to help soak up the booze and keep the party going all night. Like drink planning, food planning goes a long way, too.

Don’t forget to scope out the water situation before the festival weekend, as well. Some larger festivals will provide water stations, so make sure you pack along a reusable water bottle that you can reach for all weekend. If this isn’t an amenity at your music festival, this is important to know so you can plan on bringing your own water for the weekend and avoid paying $8 each time for a bottle of water. And while fruity cocktails and craft beers most certainly go hand-in-hand with music festivals, you’ll need some water eventually to keep up your energy for the entire weekend’s festivities.

This goes without saying, but food and drink prices rack up quickly, and you’ve likely already spent a good deal of money to attend the festival. Planning ahead helps to keep a little extra money in your pocket.

festival campsite

Pack the Apple Juice—but, not the drinking kind

You’ll want to figure out ahead of time how to charge your iPhone or any other sort of electronic device that you’ll be bringing along. Portable chargers are great for shorter festivals, but they don’t have enough juice to last for multiple days. Consider solar chargers if you have a multi-day festival and you can’t bear to be off the grid if your phone dies.

Pro-tip: don’t drain your car’s battery by using it to charge devices for three days—learn from the mistakes of festival goers who have Instagrammed too hard before you.

Money, Money, Money

More and more festivals are becoming more digitized when it comes to handling money and payment—but consider carrying along a few bills. Cash can sometimes come in handy in situations like shuttle transport or skipping the long drink lines if you’re using cash over card.

At the risk of sounding like dad advice, it never hurts to carry a bit of cash.

Complete, Itemized Packing List for Camping at a Music Festival

The above are the main items to stay alive and dancing, but to really pack like a pro, here’s a full list of every little thing you might not want to forget:


  • Festival Wristband/ticket** (you’d be surprised..)
  • Camping Pass
  • ID or Passport
  • Cash
  • Medication
  • Phone Charger Cord
  • Power Bank


  • Long sleeve shirt
  • comfortable dancing shoes that will get dirty
  • Sandals for camp
  • Shorts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Swimsuit
  • Cheap Sunglasses


  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Sleeping bag
  • Air pad/mattress


  • Towel
  • Toilet Paper
  • Wet Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Deodorant
  • Aspirin

Camping Gear

  • Tent
  • Rope/paracord
  • Small pocketknife/scissors
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Folding Chair (go cheap)
  • Extra Batteries
  • Water Bottle
  • Coffee

Inside Festival

  • Bandana for dusty days
  • Camelback or Fanny Pack
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun Glasses
  • Granola Bars
  • Hat
  • Gum

For the Campsite

  • Cutting board
  • Paper Towels
  • Trash bags
  • Cups
  • Plates
  • Sharpie
  • First Aid Kit (think: blisters, scrapes, splinters, etc)
  • Cooler
  • Tarp
  • Zip Ties
  • Carabiners
  • Lanterns
  • Stove
  • Speaker


  • Squirt bottle fan
  • Yoga Mat
  • Solar charger
  • Bug repellant
  • Electrolyte packets

One Last Thing:

At the end of the day, whether you’re a first-time festival goer or a seasoned veteran, everyone just wants to have a good time. And having a good time is so much easier when the planning is taken care of beforehand, so the festival weekend becomes nothing but smooth sailing.

Get your festival crew together on Guestboard a couple weeks before to hash out all the responsibilities in one place. The centralized platform takes the stress out of all the festival planning by allowing you to create multiple threads to easily sort your packing checklist into categories. You’ll get the details sorted quickly and you’ll be jamming out in no time.

Ready to plan your own girl’s trip? Grab your best girls and create an event.

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