It’s summer 2021 baby, and music festivals are BACK! Now if you’re anything like me, this information has you scrambling to buy tickets to something, ANYTHING, to get out of the house. I looked up ‘music festivals 2021’ and found tickets to a folk concert in a park by my house, and let me tell you, the speed with which I bought myself a ticket has not yet been measured by science. I was like a rabid animal. And I don’t even like folk music.
My point is, everyone is excited to get out there and have some fun for the first time in a year and a half, and who can blame them? BUT, before you sprint out of your house and into the nearest venue, you have to prepare yourself. How, you ask? Well, I consider myself somewhat of a festival aficionado. A connoisseur of the concert circuit. A sage of the stage. So I’ve compiled a helpful list of essentials, questions, and answers to take with you - whether you’re going to one of the biggest music festivals available, or just a local folk event in the park by your house, this guide on 2021 music festival essentials will surely help you enjoy the experience to the max.
This sounds like a pretty straightforward question, but it’s actually quite abstract. For you see, I am asking you both physically and mentally, how do you prepare for a festival? I ask because if this is your first rodeo, you are gonna see some pretty wack stuff (and if it isn’t, you’re still probably going to see some wild stuff. Maybe even Burning Man level wild). And listen, I’m all about it, but you might not be, and that’s why you have to prepare. People go completely hog wild at some of the big music festivals, so make sure that you’re prepared to see some fully eccentric, fully torqued people! And most importantly, open your mind to something new. Some of my closest friends are the ones I’ve met while watching them hula hoop with glow sticks at 3am by a food truck.
Overall you need to have a checklist to pack, a cell phone, a backpack, a tent, some cash, and an open mind!
In terms of more detailed physical and material preparation, I’ve got a helpful list right here:
I personally feel like this depends on the venue you’re going to. Size of the venue is important, as some of the biggest music festivals often include food, water, and supplies for purchase. Smaller music festivals with lower budgets might require that you bring your own materials. However, almost every multi-day music festival has a festival campsite that requires you to bring your own tent, so be sure you don’t forget that! This especially applies to 2021 music festivals - as we’re coming out of a pandemic, they will most likely want you to be extra careful and will ask that you bring all of your own supplies to avoid too much physical contact.
Before I get into essentials, I feel it’s important (and often overlooked) to bring up things you SHOULDN’T bring. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a festival and had to watch someone get booted out because they had one of these things, or they’ve lost their pricey possessions along the way.
Don’t get caught at the entrance with these things if you want be let in! Most festivals don’t allow any of this stuff:
This is a short list of things that are most often banned from festivals. I highly recommend looking at the rules of the festival you’re attending to make sure you don’t bring anything that they won’t let you in with.
Now that that’s over, let’s dive right into the essentials!
If you’ve been to a music festival before, I’m sure you’ve seen what people wear (or choose not to wear if you’re going to a summer music festival. No judgement, just an observation!). However, the most important thing to think about is comfort. You’re not going to enjoy yourself if you have 30 blisters on your feet from wearing those rad-as-hell shoes you bought online that you didn’t break in. Lucky for you, I’ve got a great list of essentials (and things to avoid) right here!
This depends on the festival you’re attending! Most 2021 music festivals have food trucks to keep you fed and hydrated (be warned, though: these food trucks might be a little overpriced). The food at these trucks are always really diverse and (almost always) really delicious. Festivals are where most food trucks make the most money, so you’re bound to find at least 5 trucks with something you like or will want to try. Burgers? Check. Korean-fusion gyros? Check. Ice cream with something crazy like crickets in it? Probably!
Some of the big festivals might even have restaurants or tents with food for purchase as well! No matter what your food preferences are, you’ll find something.
For those who might not have the cash to spend on purchasing food every day, I understand. You’ve already spent like a bajillion dollars on the tickets, and you want to buy at least ONE souvenir shirt. You can’t do it all without spending boatloads more than you have!
However, the good news is this: a lot of festivals will allow you to bring a cooler with your own food. Just be sure that the food you bring doesn’t spoil easily, like sandwiches and premade pastas. It’s also essential that you make sure to check the rules and regulations of the festival you’re going to in order to make sure outside food is permitted. I recommend bringing food, but you should try at least one of the food trucks - more often than not, one of them will have the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s worth a try.
Music festivals are amazing, wonderful places where you can meet new people, try new foods, see new music, and wear (almost) whatever you want. But before you launch into your next music festival in 2021, I hope reading this article has helped you feel a little more prepared. I honestly wish I had this article for my last concert - then maybe I wouldn’t have wound up sleeping under a tarp at the edge of camp with only 1 shoe. Who knows.
Heed my advice, pack efficiently, and most importantly: HAVE FUN!
Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor