Possibly the hardest and most painstaking element of attending a show or festival is the preparation beforehand. A quick run to your local CVS or Walgreens may be sufficient, but you never know what you or a fellow raver may need at any given moment. Below, I have created a top-notch list of indispensable materials that are sure to enhance your overall experience.
Staying hydrated is something I can’t stress enough. It is so important to make sure you drink enough water at any event, indoor and outdoor, because it may just save your life. Much planning and excitement has been invested in your experience and letting something as simple as water spoil the show or festival for you and your group isn’t fun for anyone. The most effortless way of ensuring maximum hydration would hands down be the legendary Camelback. I admit it took me a solid three or four festivals to finally purchase one of these bad boys. While they are more expensive, your health is something to be taken seriously. Our body is roughly 60% water, and if we are raving the day and/or night away, we sweat a lot of that water out. We require about two liters of water daily just to survive, and imagine how much your body needs after a rave. You can purchase a 1.5L Camelbak for as low as $49. If a Camelbak is something you don’t wish to invest in, then try purchasing a reusable water bottle at the event or bring in your own (if it is empty). Utilizing reusable water bottles is both an economically intelligent choice and non-toxic to the environment.
2. Hand Sanitizer
Okay people, this one is pretty high on the scale of important things to bring into any show or festival. Hand sanitizer is your friend when attending massive events, as it can deliver a temporary sense of cleanliness. There are an infinite amount of ways to come in contact with germs and when everyone is all crammed together in a limited sized venue, it can be nice to simply whip out a travel sized Purell container. You can eve carry it in a really cute and rave friendly neon jelly holder that clips onto your fanny pack or Camelbak. Also, if the festival has portable sinks, they likely won’t last the entire event. So when you step out of that unbelievably unsanitary port-a-potty, and the portable sinks fail you and all others, it is actually very stabilizing to know you hold the power to break free from unsanitary confinement.
3. Baby Wipes/Tissues
The topic of sanitization brings me to my next rave essential: baby wipes and tissues. Let’s face it, the port-a-potty situation is not going to improve any time soon. Speaking for the ladies, it is a form of torture that we are forced to endure when attending an event. The port-a-potties also lack in toilet paper supply, so you really can’t lose if you bring your own. It has gotten easier for us as event companies have begun separating the port-a-potties into gender, an act I personally find highly necessary. Tissues are also a fantastic accompaniment when getting all that dirt kicked up from the ground out of your nose, or fixing ones makeup, and even removing some of the sweat off of your face (although you are going to need much more than a tissue my friend).
Something commonly overlooked by the average raver and something always kept on hand by the cultured veteran. Having ears is cool, and I have to say I really like being able to hear out of them. Not utilizing earplugs is irresponsible and your ears deserve better than that. The average concert speakers radiate about 115 decibels, which is comparable to a sandblaster. On top of that, pain in your ears start to occur at 125dB and short-term exposure to 140dB can leave permanent damage. Some DJs really just like to play unidentified mind-blowing sounds with a considerable amount of bass ripping through our bodies, which is awesome yet damaging to our hearing. Honorable mention to Flying Lotus, who refused to play at The Hudson Project until 30 minutes later when the monitors were turned up because he couldn’t hear his own music. It is fairly typical nowadays for DJs to wear earplugs as well when mixing in the DJ booth. Wearing earplugs won’t distort the quality of the sound, nor will it dull your experience whatsoever. Be smart and at least bring them along. You never know when you might need them.
5. Comfortable Insoles
Attending a rave can really make your feet sore, especially festivals. Going to a festival requires long hours of walking and dancing; raving is literally a workout. It can be extremely helpful to choose wisely when deciding what pair of shoes you want to wear. It’s usually best to go with the classic sneaker, meant for not only high physical activity, but also keeps comfort in mind. Dr. Scholl’s is the perfect shoe insert solution when encountering foot discomfort. You can also purchase a cheaper version of the insoles at any drug store for around $15. It would be wise to pack a few Band-Aids as well; blisters can really rain on your parade and you can even purchase a friction stick block to further prevent blisters from occurring.
6. Something To Sit On
This may seem a little unorthodox, but trust me you will thank me later. Once again speaking to the ladies, we face another hardship whilst trying to get loose when the beat drops. As an EDM chick, it is common to find us dancing for the majority of the event; however, brief intermissions are quite relaxing, and it is something you should assign designated time slots for. The only thing is that unless there’s a clean bench nearest you available, chances are you’re probably going to have to sit on the ground. If you just so happened to have spent an extensive amount of time towards assembling your outfit, then this option seems absolutely absurd. You don’t want to be sitting on a dirty sidewalk or the forest ground; bringing something to sit on, such as a scarf, can be the ultimate solution when trying to catch a quick pit stop.
7. External Phone Battery
I promise you the last thing you want to happen at a rave, and may I add the most common, is the unfortunate event your phone runs out of battery. If you enter the event with anything below 70% battery, it’s not looking too good for you. Namely, festivals can be a real battery killer when there’s a hundred different things happening around you. Some finely dressed dancers may be strolling past you, and you may just want a picture. We are also all a little guilty when it comes to taking several hundred pictures of the stage; but can you help it when there’s more laser beams than Star Wars? When I went to Ultra, I brought an industrial sized external phone charger capable of charging up to four phones at a time, and I was offering a phone charge to anyone who seemed lost throughout the event. While I’m not encouraging the use of cell phones during an event, it’s nice to know that you have a full battery life awaiting you when you need it most.
I wanted to take a moment and talk about the whole wallet situation. First of all, things get stolen quite frequently. A show or festival is not the place for your newly purchased designer wallet. Perhaps take the more simplistic route and make use of a lesser-valued wallet. I also advise against bringing in your credit card; visiting the ATM before the venue is always a good idea. So many of my friends have first hand experienced the feeling of checking their bag to find their wallet missing. Not only was your ticket probably in there (an issue for multi-day events), but you now have to deal with the possibility of identify theft as your credit card and form of identification are now in someone else’s hands. If you can, bring a fanny pack and position it to your front side, optimizing convenience and keeping the bag in peripheral vision. Also, make it a habit to routinely inspect your bag of missing items. If you end up losing something, always be sure to check the lost and found before deeming it a lost cause. Someone may decide to be nice and hand in your cell phone or wallet (these things do sometimes happen). If anything, it is reassuring knowing you aren’t losing an expensive wallet.
9. Waterproof Phone Case
This goes without saying, but damaging your phone during an event is miserable. Most festivals these days are rain or shine, so just because it's pouring rain outside, it doesn’t mean the party is stopping. Don’t let your phone be the judge of that. I’ll never forget the time at Life in Color when my already shattered IPhone showed signs of contact with the paint and started severely glitching. I did what any concerned technology owner would do and handed it off to someone with pockets to prevent further exposure to the paint. Naturally, the individual with my phone and I were separated almost instantaneously. While I ended up getting my phone back, I could’ve avoided an hour-long drive the next day had I just been using a waterproof phone case. Not to mention that lasers look really cool when it rains; not being held back by the limits of technology when wanting to capture the essence of the moment is always something to be happy about.
10. Sun Protection
While you may be wondering why you wouldn’t accessorize with your brand new Ray Bans, there are a generous amount of festival attendees who fail to bring along sunglasses. The sun can be incredibly damaging, and it is imperative we take the proper precautions when stepping outside for an extended period of time. At the very least, you need to bring sunscreen. When buying sunscreen, ensure you are selecting the appropriate SPF for your skin type. There are various types of sunscreen available to those with sensitive skin, and you can even purchase the waterproof kind. This will ensure that no matter how much you sweat throughout the duration of the event that the sunscreen will continue to protect your delicate skin. If you do fall subject to uncomfortable sunburn during a multi-day event, be sure to take some Ibuprofen and use aloe gel to help relieve the burn. Wearing a hat can help, but accessorizing with your favorite pair of sunglasses can help you endure the sun even more. You can also purchase diffraction glasses as some double as both light show enhancers and protection for the eyes.
It can be overwhelming at times when preparing for an upcoming show or festival. What you choose to bring with you inside the venue can easily make or break the event for you and your group. While the items above do stray from the ordinary festival attendee’s checklist, I can personally testify that each of these items have truly come in handy at some point during my raving career. When attending shows and festivals, the small things can come together to ultimately create a beautiful and exciting experience. Don’t be a novice in the world of EDM; know which items should be accompanying you at your next music festival.
Written by Emily Hall
Cover photo credit: Rukes