The summer music festival scene has grown tenfold in recent years, and for a good reason: there’s a hungry market for it.

People spend a lot of time and effort planning which festivals they will attend and booking the time off work. While the increased competition for fans’ attention (and money) has saturated the market, we are seeing more bands play in more cities, and that rocks. Whether you are going out of town to see a weekend of tune-age or just catching your local music festival do not go unprepared, here are some items crucial for a successful day of head-banging with your friends.

Backpack/string bag

Just something to carry your stuff and any band merchandise you end up buying. If you are going in a group not everyone needs to bring his or her own, you can take turns holding the gear. Backpacks are great if you plan on carrying around a lot but string bags are much lighter. It is also a smart move to either bring an extra shirt or plan on picking one up while you are there.

Artist schedule (and festival map if needed)

Upon entering the festival be sure to pick up the band timetable. Nothing is worse that missing your favorite band because you did not know what time they went on. If it’s a larger outdoor festival it will definitely be worth your while to pick up a map of the area, laying out the venues and/or stages in play.

Wallet

Now, you may think “obviously I would bring my wallet” but you might want to leave some of stuff behind. Just bring the essentials, an ID, your ticket and some cash. Avoid bringing any form of credit cards and be sure to keep everything in a dry place. You never know when a water fight will break out at a rock festival in the middle of July.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

Sunglasses and sunscreen are essential for any outdoor summer festival, especially since you’ll be spending a long time walking around in an open area fully exposed to the midsummer sun. Take care of yourself and you can spend the car ride home reminiscing and not sitting uncomfortably in your seat burned or sunstroke.

Hat

For the same reasons as above I would recommend either bringing a hat/visor or baseball cap.

Refillable water bottle

Before heading out to any festival you should check out their policies on outside food and drink. Depending on the venue some festivals cater to self-catering. Bring a refillable water bottle and some granola bars along if you can and your experience will be a whole lot better.

Camera

Again, check out the rules before you leave the house, some festivals only allow certain types of cameras through the front gates, DSLRs often being discriminated against. Regardless, bringing along some kind of camera other than your phone is a good idea, that way you can preserve your phone battery and some really incredible pictures have come from festival audiences.

Toilet Paper and wet wipes

Disgusting? Man up. The truth is that more often than not Port-a-Johns run out of toilet paper so you want to be prepared. Wet wipes will help you clean/refresh your face as finding bathrooms is a nightmare at music festivals.

Portable phone charger

You won’t find any power outlets at most music festivals so if you want to be able to find your friends bring a portable charger, or much better, a solar charger.

Earplugs

Your friends will be eager to get as close as possible to the main stage so you might end up only a few feet away from huge festival speakers. To avoid going deaf for an entire week, get some earplugs just in case.

Summer is one of the best seasons to listen to music and everyone should try to experience at least one music festival while the weather is welcoming. Think ahead and plan a little for your rock outing– preparation is key to a successful, pleasant and comfortable festival experience.

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