And now, without further ado, welcome to...
As a festival veteran, I’ve toured the continent, surviving all the elements for some of the biggest musical gatherings Dance Music has ever seen. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks, which are key if you want to make sure you make it to Monday morning in one piece. Here are the Top 10 essentials you can’t leave home without.
10. BABY WIPES
If you are a girl you know the struggle of a “port-o-potty” towards the end of the festival. Baby Wipes are clutch. They’re also a quick fix when you need to wipe your hands down after eating festival food. But the greatest reason to bring them is if you’re transitioning after the festival to Mansion or Marquee. A few baby wipes can replace a shower in a jam so you can get to the after party before the late rush.
I recommend: They're all pretty much the same, but be sure to get 'singles' since it may be difficult to get past security with a huge bag of packaged wipes.
Personally, I don’t know why you WOULDN’T bring Chapstick, but here’s a quick equation for all you college kids: Arid summer temps – adequate hydration = dry lips. It’s uncomfortable and once you gnaw on your lip you’ll be doomed for the rest of the day. Oh, and, hello? THERE ARE HOT, HALF NAKED PEOPLE RUNNING AROUND EVERYWHERE. Say you fall in love under the Electric Sky…do you really want your lips getting scratched up by someone who couldn’t bother bringing a $1 tube of Chapstick (asking for a friend of course)? Keep those lips primed for your rave wife/husband and thank me later when you’re getting married at EDC LV 2015.
I recommend: Classic Cherry Chapstick ($3.99 for a pack of 3). Bitches love Cherry Chapstick, just ask Katy Perry. DO NOT open your chapstick before you arrive - security will most likely confiscate it if it's not sealed.
If you’re going to a campground, you will regret not bringing one! A bandana serves multiple purposes: Protecting your nose and lungs from inhaling dust at Mysteryland, catching all the sweat from your forehead at HARD LA, or simply just wiping yourself off when a cool breeze whips through the crowd at Paradiso. Plus,it’s an excellent fashion accessory.
Where to buy: Bandanas can be purchased for $1 at any craft store.
Not every festival is overnight like EDC Las Vegas. While some of you are looking forward to getting your bronzed god on at Ultra, by Veld you’ll look closer to George Hamilton (Google him, cringe, then go get some damn sunblock). Make sure you check with the festival before bringing a can of sunblock though; some festivals have strict guidelines about the size of the tubes and/or aerosol cans. There’s nothing worse than dropping $10 on sunblock and then having to throw it out before you even get inside. Well…except maybe having sunburn on your face and shoulders because you didn’t listen when I told you to pack sunscreen the first time.
I recommend: Whatever the cheapest waterproof SPF 40 sunblock is at the drugstore; travel sizes are available for only $1! If you have sensitive skin like me, try Neutrogena’s Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen ($10 for a 3oz. bottle); it’s SPF 60!
6. PLASTIC BAGGIES
The cheapest item on the list is often the most forgotten, but it could most definitely be a #gamechanger. I always bring a plastic baggie to keep my phone protected during a festival. In the rare chance something happens and my Camelbak springs a leak, my phone won’t suffer. The same goes for the very rare but real chance your phone falls into a port-o-potty (I’ve heard stories and I’ve seen some poor phones take a swim - that shit’s gross...literally). Not to mention plastic baggies are place to store smaller items that can get lost in your larger bag like cash, earplugs, chapstick, etc. Pack a few extra in your bag and take massive amounts of credit when your friends notice you’re a true festival veteran.
Where to buy: Buy? STEAL a box from your mom next time you’re home. She probably won’t even notice they’re gone.
5. COMFORTABLE SNEAKERS
It BAFFLES me to see people walking around in converses, Toms, HEELS (yes, I said heels), or even those weird toe shoe thingies. How are any of you standing after Day 3? I will admit, I was one of the guilty parties who wanted to wear her cute Keds with her tutu. Then I learned how to shuffle. After the 3rd day my feet were aching with blisters from all my victorious dance battles. And as someone who can’t stand still at a festival, comfy shoes were a necessity. I’ll gladly drop $80 on a pair of neon Nikes that are not only good for the sole (see what I did there?), but also allow my feet to breathe so I can’t be tried for murder once I take my socks and shoes at the end of the day. And FYI, a pair of shoes and bright tutu SLAY in the outfit department.
I recommend: Buy a pair from Old Navy if you’re trying to save $. But be warned: A $20 pair of shoes cannot endure the onslaught of an entire festival season.
Yes, we live in a digital age. Yes, carrying around cash is annoying, but so is waiting on a long line for water or food and realizing you can’t order anything once you get to the front because the machine is down. Or having to trek to one of 3 ATMs in the entire festival ground, only to find out that it’s broken due to overuse. Yeah, sucks doesn’t it? Also, PRO TIP: Tipping people at the food and water stands opens the door to dope freebies. An extra 1 or 2 bucks can mean the difference between a free cup of ice for your water, or even a glorious CAP to your bottle.
How much to bring: $40 just to play it safe, but I typically don’t spend more than $25 a day. To my guys, bring a little extra on top of that, as you may want to be a gentleman and pick up the tab for that cute Rave Bunny you meet during your epic adventure.
Water is more scarce at a festival than it is in the friggin’ Sahara Desert. And when you do find your oasis, you’ll be paying an arm and a leg just to stay hydrated, not to mention run a huge risk of spilling your cap less water trying to get back to your spot in the crowd. For all the front row warriors and kids who just can’t bear to tear themselves away for 15 minutes every few hours, invest in a Camelbak. Though it may be one of the pricier items on this list, it’s worth every penny when you’re the last one standing at the end of the night. The best part about a camelback is that it doubles as a backpack and is the perfect place to store your wallet/phone/etc for anyone without pockets!
Where to buy: Amazon.com; buying-in store at Target or Modell’s will cost you $20-40 more than online prices!
2. EXTRA BATTERY PACK
Oh, you think your phone will last 12 hours without a charge? You must be new here. If there’s one thing festivals are notorious for, it’s their lack of reception! Roaming for a signal alone will cost you precious percentage. And if you’re the a part of the growing trend of festival historians, you’ll be compelled to record video and photo of every minute of your entire experience so you can brag about it to your friends back home. If you use your phone (but seriously, just leave it in your bag and enjoy yourself), you must bring some form of extra battery. Mophie cases are easy to charge and even easier to transport, especially if you don’t enjoy carrying a bag around. Products range from stick chargers for a quick jolt (typically 15%), or you can carry around one of these bad boys which can charge a phone up to 2.5 times. Chargers can cost anywhere between $12-$120.
BONUS: One of my favorite DJs was scrambling backstage for an outlet to charge his phone before his set because it was about to die. I handed over my Mophie case and got to hang around and chat with him after this set in return!
This mophie case is lightweight but can add 80% to your phone when fully charged
This universal pack can charge any USB device more than once!
1. EAR PLUGS
The number one thing to bring to a festival is a set of earplugs! You might not be that close to the stage, but you’ll want to attend festivals for the next decade or so. Every time you rage without earplugs you’re slowly damaging your hearing, which will result in a hefty price down the line. Protect all forms of your body now, and save yourself the trouble when you’re a crotchety old fart yelling to your grandkids about how you saw Hardwell at TomorrowWorld when you were in your twenties.
Where to buy: Find your local ENT doctor and get fitted for a custom pair, purchase a pair online, or pop into Target and pick up a cheap pack of 6 pairs for $2.49.
BONUS ITEM! SNACKS!
Festival food is not only expensive but it’s also unhealthy. Last time I checked, I did not diet and exercise for the last 3 months so I could binge on a burger and fries at the festival (SPOILER ALERT: More on that coming to you in a future post!). If you’re smart (read: sneaky) like me, a few strategically-placed Clif Bars are a tiny, but welcome snack. A 6-pack divides perfectly over the weekend, and will keep your energy up when others around you drop like flies. Also look into water mix-ins like Mio or Crystal Light, or even Goo Packs for essential vitamins and sustained energy.
Not sure which other essentials to get? Wondering what other awesome festival tips I have? Shoot me a tweet @KSpencePhotos
As Always, Stay Bad!