1) Bring cash
Nowadays, a lot of music festivals are switching over to cash-less methods of payment like credit cards, debit cards, or pre-loaded festival bands. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not bring ANY cash at all… even if you are at one of these cash-less events.
The main reason you will want to have cash on you is because many of the fashion, art, and food vendors that roam festival grounds will only accept cash. If you don’t bring cash and you do decide that you want to purchase something from one of these vendors, you will be stuck with a higher-than-normal surcharge at the on-site ATM machines. You’re better off stopping at your bank on the way, and withdrawing enough cash for the weekend.
2) Secure your valuables
To follow up on the above, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep all of your valuables somewhere secure. This includes any loose cash, important electronics, credit cards, ID’s etc. Anything that you will not need or be using at the time needs to be tucked away somewhere safe.
Festival thievery is very common especially at large camping music festivals. At Okeechobee in 2017, a man was pulled over on his way out of the festival with nearly 600 stolen cellphones on him. Think about that for a second… SIX HUNDRED.
You do not want to be the person that gets your weekend ruined because someone robbed you of your most important valuables. The best way to avoid this is to keep these items locked away in whatever vehicle you came in. If you do not have access to a vehicle, then keep everything that is important with you at all times (in your bag, or fanny pack) or tucked away inside of your tent.
By far the worst thing that you can do is leave your valuable items laying out in the open, or in a place where a pickpocket could easily snag them.
3) Don’t forget about the Merch tent
Music festival merchandise tends to run on the expensive end of the spectrum, especially with shirts sometimes going for over $30. But in my opinion, you should always buy some sort of merchandise or keepsake item at a music festival. If you’re on a budget, go for the cheaper items like key-chains, stickers, or pins.
I’ve found that having some sort of merchandise to remind yourself of the music festival serves as a great way to keep that positive memory with you for many years to come.
4) Check out food vendors
Don’t skip out on those food vendors! Most of the time, those food trucks that travel from different parts of the country to music festivals have THE BEST food. They do tend to be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, simply limit yourself to one or two treats for the entire weekend.
Most music festivals will announce the list of their food vendors, so check their website if you want to do your research on which ones are the best ahead of time.
My personal favorite is the Amish Baking Company. They have the most incredible doughnuts and pretzels you will ever have. They typically only go to a few music festivals per year, so if you ever see them DO NOT miss out!
5) Invest in a good pair of shoes
Wearing the wrong pair of shoes to a music festival can lead to stress injuries (like shin splits), knee injuries, ankle injuries and annoying blisters. With all the walking, jumping and dancing that you will be doing, it would be wise of you to invest in a comfortable pair of shoes ahead of time. When you do, make sure that you break them in before the music festival so that they are 100% ready to go when that time comes.
I recommend a comfortable pair of shoes such as Adidas Ultraboost, Nike Flyruns. Some of the best and most popular shoes for music festivals include Chacos, Tevas, Sanuks, Vans, Converse and various other running shoes. Just be sure to avoid the cheap-o brands because they will provide you with minimal comfort and they will not last very long.
Extra Pro Tip – Invest in a pair of gel insoles and/or a good pair of socks as well. These will help to relieve the amount of stress on your feet. I prefer the cushioned, woven runner’s socks as they provide extra padding for those sensitive pressure points.