Music Monday: What to Bring to a Festival

all your bohemian friends and a hippie bus!

Those of us Mexicali folk who are going to the Nateva Festival this weekend can think of hardly anything else! To benefit those who might be heading up that way, or to another fest in the future (and also so we can commit all of these necessities to memory by writing them down), here is a list of 10 essential festival supplies, to make your experience the best musical hootenanny you’ve ever attended!


Don’t wind up like this guy!
illustration by Mike Feeney

1. Sunscreen A painful sunburn can make an awesome time unbelievably less fun. You can probably buy it where you are going but you know it will probably cost three times as much as in a store, and surely you have better things to spend your money on! We like the spray stuff because it is ridiculously easy to apply; be sure to put reapply often, and don’t forget the tops of your ears!

2. Toilet Paper It’s true that they have plenty in the porta-potties at the start of the show, but as any festival-goer knows, the supply inevitably runs out. Bring your own and you also have tissues for blowing your nose or cleaning up spills. Good job!

3. Headlamp Flashlights are cool, but the hands-free capability of headlamps have proven invaluable for night-time journeys and searching for stuff in your tent (also bedtime reading, if that helps you wind down!).

4. Bottled Water Would you like to pay $6 for a $1 bottle of water? No? Bring your own! Stay hydrated while you’re dancing, and especially if you’re also drinking as that also dehydrates you. Nateva will have free water available to those who bring their own bottles, so do so!

5. Blanket or Chairs You will probably want to sit down at some point for listening to mellower music, so something to sit on that is portable is ideal. Those low-to-the-ground camp chairs are comfortable and easy to carry, and we love sprawling on blankets like this traditional Mexican Falsa blanket.

6. First-Aid Kit Although there is usually some sort of first aid booth set up, rather than waiting for an hour to get a band-aid or some aspirin, bring your own! Single-use alcohol swabs are also useful for disinfecting cuts and scrapes.

7. Toys & Entertainment Hoola hoops, frisbees, kites, sidewalk chalk, bubbles. . . . all of these things are fun to play with, and you probably don’t do it too often these days. Festivals are great places for reconnecting with that youthful sense of playfulness, and if you have something collaborative to share the fun, you just might make some new friends!

8. Rain Gear/ Rain Boots Perhaps this doesn’t apply in some places, but if you are going to a festival in New England, you want to be prepared for this. Just trust me on this one, and remember, a trash bag makes a fine (albeit funny-looking) poncho if you have nothing else.

9. Camera If all you have is a fancy, expensive camera that you would die if you lost, pick up a couple of cheap disposable ones before you get there!

10. Food Bring something to eat, keeping within the rules of the festival you’re attending. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own grub, and sometimes you are allowed to bring grills or stoves for cooking as well. Portable snack food like granola bars, trail mix, and nuts are awesome to have for an energy boost.

Leave expensive items at home, dress comfortably, and be kind to your neighbors in the campground! We hope to see some of you at Nateva! And we would also love to know what you consider the most essential supplies for a positive festival experience?

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