My first time at burning man, I got sunburned so badly I couldn't blink my eyes without pain. I spent several days inside my tent, sweating profusely, guzzling water, and completely missing the fun of La Playa.
My first big EDM show, I forgot cash, and the venue didn't take cards. I spent half the night sober, and then 35 minutes waiting in an ATM line. Basically I'm not very good at preparation.
Related: Festival Essentials
This year things are going to be different though. This year I am making a list, checking it twice! that has all the stuff on it I need. Because I'm going to be traveling to some epic shows – EDC Las Vegas, Ultra Miami, and I don't want to show up there and realize I forgot a bathing suit or a cellphone charger. Based on previous bad experiences, I've pulled a list of helpful tips and tricks to help you get to your first festival with all the essentials.
FYI! I did not receive any commissions or payment for any recommendations and I'm not promoting these for any kind of gain. Just putting that out there.
1) A Camelbak
Pretty much all the people who have died at festivals, dehydration has been a factor. Pretty much everyone who gets totally wasted and passes out, thus missing the show, this came down to not pacing themselves and not drinking water. Even at a winter festival, while you dance you are draining yourself and need to replenish. Not with beer or vodka, but with quality H2O. We like the Camelbak Dart Hydration Pak ($75). Bonus – if you're feeling brave, they have this in pink for less than $50.
The top DJs wear Earplugs, and you, crushed in the front row against the subs, probably should be too. There's a ton of debate over which are the best, none of which is truly important as the fact that wearing something is better than wearing nothing. I personally wear Etymotic ER20s, which are less than $15 and work great. I have also worn some purchased from CVS for $3, and those must have also worked because I'm not deaf yet.
Learn from my mistakes. Your golden skin will become an inferno of pain after 7.5 hours in the sun. Trust me. In case you don't want to look like a white zombie, you should consider clear sunscreen. If you're against sunscreen, consider a fun umbrella.
This does double duty to help you find your friends since it's more visible over the crowd.
4) Drinks for the Plane
Did you know that you're allowed (I might say “encouraged!”) to bring your own beverages to your flight? Apparently, as long as you bring them in small, clear containers (like the miniatures you can buy at the liquor store) and then put those into a ziplock bag, you can bring as much booze as you want onto that early morning flight to Vegas. Why pay $11 on the plane for a watered down bloody Mary when you can have straight whiskey for less than $2?! You can't be drunk in security or while getting on the plane, so please do not drink until you're buckled into your seat. Also, don't be this guy.
5) Your ID
Not only are you usually carded at the door, vendors inside the festival can choose to card you if they dont believe your wristband. You'll also be glad of having ID on you in case you pass out from dehydration, alcohol poisoning, or having too much fun.
6) The Lineup
This should be obvious, but you should probably have the lineup so that you don't miss your favorite artists, or make the mistake of saying “I love Martin Garrix!” when Laidback Luke is on deck. Unless you don't care whatsoever, in which case, ignore this item. These are often available via a phone app so that you dont have to carry the paper around.
7) Comfortable Shoes
That you don't mind getting dirty. I've seen more than one girl wearing skyscraper heels eat $hit while walking across the fields, and plenty of guys wearing blindingly white, clearly new sneakers. Why would you do this to yourself? Just wear flip flops or keds or something you don't mind getting stepped on, puked on, or mud filled, and you'll be fine.
8) Portable Charger for your Cellphone
These run down almost instantly at festivals due to the high concentration of people texting in a small area. Also because you probably record a million snippets of video. A spare battery or a recharger is definitely a must have if you plan to bring something to carry it. I use the RAVPower Luster 3000mAh Mini Portable Charger ($10), but there are many many options on the market so make sure you find one that works for your phone. Also, don't forget your phone.