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6 Do’s & Don’ts for Planning Your Late Summer Festival Weekend


Summers are for beach days, barbecues, and, of course, concerts. But when your typical shows don’t satisfy your music cravings, you might be ready to kick it up a notch. So how about trying a music festival weekend rather than a one-night concert?

Whether you’re a country fan or addicted to the top pop hits, this summer is full of festivals across the country that satisfy any and all music tastes (even if you’re into really obscure indie bands). If you’re attending Panorama in New York City the vibe is going to be very different from Burning Man in Nevada, so make sure you choose the event that’s going to be the best for you. While you’re planning your festival weekend, there’s a few things you should remember to do, a few things you definitely shouldn’t, and a few mistakes you should definitely stop yourself from making.

1.   Do: Wear the right clothes

Don’t: Wear anything too nice (definitely not white)

Music festivals are the perfect time to take cute pictures with your friends, so obviously you want to dress up. But you have to make sure that your outfits are practical, too. “While festivals are - of course - a time to flash your coolest outfits keep in mind that anything can happen on festival grounds, and things like white pants or designer shoes may not be the best bet,” says Megan Barbera, a sophomore at Arizona State University.

Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Sure your heeled gladiator sandals look amazing with your outfit, but when you’re on your feet all day in a grassy field (maybe even trudging through some mud), you’ll wish you were wearing something different. Tygre Patchell-Evans at Loyola Marymount University suggests wearing comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty (because dust, grass, and mud are the silent killers of clean, white shoes).

2.   Do: Pack light

Don’t: Forget the important things

You’re going to be running around all day, so bringing a small backpack or bag with you is probably your best bet. Remember not to pack too much, but definitely don’t forget the essentials.


Most festivals will have food vendors, but often the food is really expensive. You can usually bring in some granola bars or small snacks to keep you sustained throughout the day, and to keep your wallet happy.


Let’s face it, festivals are exhausting. It’s hot and you’re on your feet all day, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Megan recommends bringing an empty water bottle. “festivals usually won’t let you Bring in filled water bottles but they typically have water filling stations on the festival grounds,” she says. She suggests getting a Camelbak hiking backpack (like this one) “because they have a water pack built into the bag. They’re expensive but worth it for festival goers!”

Sunglasses and sunscreen

The beauty of summer musical festivals is that they’re outside, but being outside all day also calls for some planning ahead. Make sure to bring sunglasses to keep the sun out of your eyes (you don’t want to be squinting in every picture and too blinded by the sun to see your favorite performers), and of course bring sunscreen. Nobody wants to be a lobster at the end of the day.

Light jacket/sweater

Again, you’ll be outside all day and you never know what the weather may bring. Megan suggests packing a light rain jacket or poncho in your bag in case it rains. Tygre suggests packing an extra flannel in case it gets cold, even if you’re somewhere super hot. Summer nights are known for dropping temperatures.

3.   Do: Plan out the shows you want to see in advance

Don’t: Try to figure it all out when you get there

With tons of artist playing on different stages at all different times, it can be stressful trying to figure out which ones to go see. Megan suggests planning out which artists you want to see in advance, and “mapping out what times and stages they’re going to be at.”

“Typically festivals have multiple stages so before you go in you should have a general idea of who is playing at what time and place so you don’t waste time and are able to get a good view of your artists” Megan explains. She also suggests not spending too much time waiting for one artist at a particular stage. “There’s so much to do and see at festivals, so make sure you get your money’s worth!”

4.   Do: Prepare mentally and physically

Don’t: Push yourself too far

Because there’s so much to do at festivals, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Before you go, know that it’s going to be one of the most fun experiences you’ll have all summer, but also that it’s going to be mentally and physically taxing. Make sure you remember to eat and drink lots of water, take breaks when you need to, and don’t party too hard.

Although festivals are supposed to be carefree and fun, make sure you know your limits, too. Kayla Dungee at Georgia State University notes: “As hard as you may want to party because of the environment that you’re in, you could easily end up sick or fainting. And being escorted out of a crowd of thousands of people is not only embarrassing but difficult to navigate. Personal experience, believe me!”

5.   Do: Make a plan with your friends

Don’t: Get separated from your group

There’s  a lot going on at festivals, so many stages, food vendors, places to go and things to do, you may end up getting separated from your friends. One of the most important things you can do before heading off to your festival weekend is to have a plan if one of you gets lost, hurt or sick. Whether it’s planning a spot to all meet back up at the end of the night or knowing what to do if one of you parties too hard, you’ll be thankful that you came up with a plan beforehand.

6.   Do: Go with the flow and have fun

Don’t: Stress too much

Whatever festival you end up going to, it’s going to be one of the best experiences of your life. “Remember that music festivals aren’t something that happen everyday,” says Megan, “Meet new people, dance and let loose!”

Festivals are a time to be free and have a great time with your friends. Be safe, but don’t forget to have the time of your life (and definitely don’t wear white shoes).

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