I had never really considered going to a music festival. I love music, but I’m not a die-hard fan of any bands in particular. I am a fan of fun, new experiences with my friends. So when my best friend told me she was going, I was a little hesitant to tag along. But I’m always down for a new adventure, so I decided to go for it. That’s how I decided to attend Firefly in Dover, Delaware, and I’m so happy I did.

I didn’t really know what to expect. I read blogs, I asked around, but in the end I relied heavily on my friends’ insider knowledge. Now, though, having experienced it myself and realising how valuable thorough planning is, I’d like to impart some of my wisdom onto others considering heading to a music festival this summer.

Tips for preparing for a summer music festival

Bring a backpack with lots of pockets

This was our lifesaver. I have a backpack with a weird secret compartment in the back. The zipper is on the bottom of the bag so it’s hard to see. We were able to stuff food and alcohol into the back and there’s no way you can see anything when looking through it.

It saved us so much money. Some people choose fanny packs, but having somewhere to keep a towel, snacks, water bottle, sun screen, money and other miscellaneous supplies was really helpful. But be warned, don’t bring in too much stuff because you’ll be stuck carrying it all day.

Decide what your 'must-see's are

You have a limited amount of time, so you can’t do it all. A lot of bands overlap or end right as another begins and could be at the other side of the festival. This is why you’ve got to have a priority.

Some of your friends will want to see one band, while you want to see another. Is it more important for you to see the band or be with your friend? Both are totally fine, however, if you make the choice in advance you won't be put in the difficult situation of deciding on the day. 

Decide on a meeting spot

On the first day stake out a good spot you can all meet if you decide to go different ways. But if you aren’t comfortable being completely on your own you probably shouldn’t separate at all because there’s no guarantee you’ll find them later. And cell signal usually isn’t the best. 

Also, be aware of what's around you to get your bearings about the place. As it gets dark, knowing these will come in very handy!

Secure your valuables

If you're prone to losing your phone bring an arm strap so it can't get lost or store it within your bra. Losing your phone or any other valuables puts a damper on the entire weekend. You’ll have loads more things on your mind so you could easily walk off and forget about them, especially if you've had a few drinks as well.  😉 

Be wary of gifts

Be cautious when you take something from a stranger. Even if it looks harmless, be prepared that the brownie, chocolate, gum or alcohol you were given may be more that just that. Use your own judgement and decide what you want to accept, but please just be mindful of that.

But most of all…

Just relax. You’re going to be tired, sweaty, and dirty. It's possible you’ll get separated from friends, miss your favorite band, lose your phone and your car battery might die. Bad things may happen, in fact, they probably will. But try not to let them ruin your weekend. Embrace the carefree lifestyle and go with the flow. 

How To Best Prepare for a Summer Music Festival by @whatifadventure

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What to bring


It's important to bring food that'll still be good once your ice melts. Think things like:

  • granola bars
  • fruit
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • burritos (no sour cream)
  • protein bars
  • pasta salad (not mayonnaise based)
  • veggies like celery and carrots
  • tuna packets
  • crackers
  • overnight oats

The festival is usually a good walk from the campsite, so it’s not really feasible to keep going back and forth. Once you’re inside you’ll probably stay there. Bring enough food to to snack on while you’re hanging out at the campsite, but don't bring so much that it goes to waste.

  • tent
  • tarps (the more the better, we brought five and could have used more!)
  • E-Z pop up tent (it'll be a life-saver in the heat!)
  • scissors
  • flashlights/headlights/lantern (multiple sources of light)
  • cooler
  • comfy camping chairs
  • blankets
  • pillows
  • air mattress and battery powered pump
  • batteries
  • camping table (not necessary, but much appreciated)
  • towels
  • ​bug spray
  • sunscreen
  • battery powered fan
  • water bottle or camelbak backpack
  • portable cell phone charger (if you don’t want to wait at the charging stations bring one for every night)
  • jumper cables for your car (it probably will die)
  • toilet paper (porta potties will run out)
  • trash bags
  • paper towels
  • shower tent (too expensive for casual campers or festival goers but if you can get one bring i
  • tapestries (for decor)
  • cups, plates, cutlery
  • watch (besides your phone which may die)
  • baby wipes
  • water (jugs or bottles)
  • dry shampoo
  • anything you need to get ready in the morning
  • rain boots
  • poncho
  • variety of clothes

And be sure to bring clothes you feel comfortable in. It’s going to be a long day so it'll be hard to relax and enjoy yourself if you're pulling at your clothes all day. Light, airy, and easy to walk in are key. It can get cold at night though, so throw in some sweatpants and sweatshirt!

Have you been to Firefly Music Festival? Or is it a trip you're planning to make one year?

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Images: stockpic.com & author's own

This post originally appeared on What If Adventures and has been republished with permission.