What to Pack This Festival Season
At last—the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and music lovers are counting down the days (or weeks, or months) until they’re finally at the music festival they’ve been dreaming about (and saving up for) all winter. That’s right, folks, festival season is upon us! When it comes to outdoor music festivals, most people know that there are a few must-pack items, like sunscreen, bug spray, earplugs, a sleeping bag, and your phone (so you can document the whole experience on Instagram/Snapchat, of course). But depending on the festival you're heading to, there are a few not-as-expected essentials you should make sure to have on hand.
Each festival has its own community vibe—artsy, hip, hard rock, the list goes on. There's quite literally something for every music preference out there. Music festivals, are, after all, all about being free and true to yourself, so we’re not here to tell you what to need to pack. We are here, however, to give you some serious inspiration—and hey, who knows; you might find an item or two that you wind up falling in love with along the way. So, whether you’re off to Glastonbury or Tomorrowland, Sziget or Fuji Rock, Summerfest or Iceland Airwaves—we’ve rounded up the “must-pack items” for every type of musical festival, ahead. And don't forget that sunscreen.
Adeline Duff is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @adelineduff.
If You Plan on Camping Out in a Muddy Field
Think: Glastonbury, T in the Park
A Barbour jacket ($399; Bloomingdales.com) and a pair of Wellies ($195; Hunterboots.com) are pretty necessary in the English countryside. There is a reason why almost every single Brit, from Kate Moss to Alexa Chung, is seen wearing these two items at countryside music festivals. With that being said, pair the look with some angle baring skinny jeans—we love J Brand’s ($200; Net-a-porter.com) and a smart, white shirt ($70; Topshop.com), both excellent for their versatility. A scarf is a must-pack for any type of travel—we love this lightweight, wool blend from & Other Stories ($49; Stories.com). To complete the look, bring along a shoulder bag from one of England’s most iconic designers—like the Mulberry ‘Lily’ ($575; Net-a-porter.com). As for what to stow inside? Well, you’re going to be in the U.K.—so if you’re looking to get a nice glow, bring along a couple of tanning towelettes, in case the sunshine’s lacking ($21; Sephora.com).
The Brits also tend to be low-key when it comes to their festival beauty approach, so Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Stick, which can be used on both cheeks and lips (and eyes!), is going to be your hero product for the weekend ($45; Net-a-porter.com). After a few days camping out and drinking beer, your skin is going to need a bit of R&R, so bring along a tube of Mizon’s Good Night White Sleeping Mask ($10; Peachandlily.com), which you can apply once you’ve hit the sack—or, err—sleeping bag.
If You're Headed to a Festival Where Fashion and Music Collide
Think: Coachella, Burning Man
Pack a solid pair of denim shorts ($165; Net-a-porter.com), and pair with a lace up bodysuit ($26; Boohoo.com), or, stay cool —and get a killter tan in the process—with a crocheted bikini (or bralette) by Mihira ($125; Modaoperandi.com). Booties, like Isabel Marant’s suede slip-ons ($555; Barneys.com) are the a festival staple. And while “flower crowns” may provoke eye rolls from around the world, Colette Malouf’s high-fashion take on the trend is undeniably exquisite (225; Colettemalouf.com). Pair the look with a 14-karat, rose gold arm band from For Love and Lemons ($745; Forloveandlemons.com), and don’t forget your cross body bag—we love this one from by Stella McCartney ($960; Net-a-porter.com). Bring along a couple of Make Up For Ever x Charli XCX’s Aqua XL waterproof eyeliners, which launch April 29th on Makeupforever.com (and in Sephora on May 6th). Think of these bad boys as the high-end version of face paint.
To wash away the day-old daisies from ‘round your eyes (and to keep your skin looking as fresh as Vanessa Hudgens), pack a tube of Mizon’s Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser ($10; Peachandlily.com). Don’t forget to bring along a bottle of dry shampoo—you know you’ll need it. This year, everyone will be carrying Ouai’s formula ($26; Theouai.com), which was created by celebrity hair-pro Jen Atkin. Last up? Pacifica’s genius Underarm Deodorant Wipes ($9; Ulta.com). After a day or two of dancing under the sun, you’re going to be extremely thankful to have these in your bag. (Pictured above)
If You're an EDM Enthusiast
Think: Ultra, Tomorrowland
If you’re the type of person that likes to zone out under strobe lights amongst fellow EDM worshippers, neon is (unfortunately or fortunately, based on your tastes), the way to go. Monreal London makes stylish, color-blocked athletic gear, ideal for dancing in ($220; Net-a-porter.com). Pair with black, denim cutoffs ($89; Jordache.com) and Ancient Greek Sandals’ crazy new Ikaria Rubber Wing sandals—not only do they look super funky—but also, they’ll be easy to clean ($125; Net-a-porter.com). Moschino, whose Creative Director is the kooky but fabulous Jeremy Scott, makes the perfect, EDM-festival-appropriate shoulder bag ($1,195; Net-a-porter.com).
Since the crowds at these types of festivals tend to go all out, we recommend bringing along Estee Edit’s new eye shadow palette that glows (!!!) under a black light ($48; Sephora.com). Touch in Sol’s Super Proof Gel Liners, which come in a variety of bright colors, are another great choice for creating vibrant looks ($16; Sephora.com). Still not having enough fun? Try these crazy, Korean, nail stickers ($8; Sokoglam.com)—and pop Tony Moly’s mini, peach shaped balm ($10; Peachandlily.com) in your bag to keep those lips from getting chapped—and burnt (it has SPF 15 in it). Top your look off with the ultimate electronic music festival staple: Rayban’s Original Wayfair Bicolor, which come in a variety of vibrant tones ($175; Ray-ban.com).
If You’re Going to a Dreamy Art and Music Extravaganza
Think: Meadows in the Mountains, Levitation
You’re definitely going to want to bring along a flowy dress ($266; Forloveandlemons.com) if you’re headed to one of these festivals that combine, art, love, and music. These flared jeans from Stella McCartney ($695; Barneys.com) seem made for the occasion; both looks can be paired with subtle, strappy sandals, like Mansur Gavriel’s nude version ($425; Mansurgavriel.com). Hair accessories are fun, so why not play around with a few? Rosantica’s colorful gold tassles, which clip into your hair like a bobby pin, make for a fun daytime look ($155; Net-a-porter.com).
At night, cover that—let’s face it, at this point, your hair’s probably ebbing towards “nest” status—with a turban, like Misson’s signature zigzag version ($260; Net-a-porter.com). Some must-haves inside your saddle bag ($730; Shopbop.com): This amazing, hydrating, completely organic oil from Kindri ($20; Lovegoodly.com) and some chamomile tea ($4.99; yogiproducts.com), because, why not? You know you’ll want some come nighttime. Pro tip: Bring a travel candle with you to make dark nights extra magical, like this exquisite Tahitian grapefruit-vanilla scent made exclusively for eco e-retailer Love Goodly ($10; Lovegoodly.com).
If You're Headed to Scandinavia
Think: Iceland Airwaves, Roskilde
There are a lot of amazing things happening in music in Scandinavia right now—and their music festivals are no exception. Which is why we bet this year’s festivals will bring in hoards of tourists, in addition to the massive amounts of locals who already attend. First up? You’re going to want to bring a bikini, because many festivals in Scandinavia—like Iceland Airwaves—are known to get a bit wet and muddy. The top from this two-piece from Zimmerman ($245; Zimmermannwear.com) could easily double as a bralette underneath a mesh shirt, or be worn on its own with gray cargo pants ($49.99; LLBean.com). We also love this distressed, lace up tee from IRO ($215; Stylebop.com), which pairs perfectly underneath a green khaki jacket ($59.99; Hm.com) and a pair of Dr. Martens ($125; Drmartens.com). (If you want to go the high, high fashion route, try Balenciaga’s beloved take on the combat boot—$1,275; Barneys.com).
As far as beauty products go? You’re in Scandinavia, after all—embrace the game-changing products that are coming out of the region. Face Stockholm makes the perfect festival staple: a "wheel" that includes two blush balms, one rose salve, and one illuminating highlighter ($24; Facestockholm.com). Due to the Scandinavian’s natural approach to beauty, this, plus some under-eye relief from Skyn Iceland ($20; Skyniceland.com), is all you’re going to need. Last but not least? Estelle & Thild’s BioCleanse 3-in1 Cleansing Foam, which should really be brought on any trip, thanks to its triple action properties. ($31; Net-a-porter.com)
If You're Headed to America's South
Think: Nola Jazz Fest, Beale Street, Austin City Limits
Some of the very best music can be found in America’s South, in cities such as Nashville, New Orleans, and Austin—which is obviously why some of the country’s best music festivals take place there. We’re not at Coachella, anymore, so ditch the bralettes and flower crowns for a breezy mini dress ($180; Realisationpar.com), Levi’s denim shorts ($68; Urbanoutfitters.com) and a plaid shirt—we love this sleeveless version by Iro ($278; Intermixonline.com). Ash’s signature platform sneaker ($195; Shopbop.com) will look fabulous with any of the pieces above, as will Saint Laurent's “Festival” backpack, which somehow makes fringe look extremely cool ($1,990; Net-a-porter.com)
And don’t forget about a hat ($375; Net-a-porter.com)—your head needs protection, too. The South is known to get a little bit—hot—to say the least, during summer, so Ban’s Cooling Body Cloths (Prices vary; Feelbanfresh.com) will be your save-all. As for what you’ll want to be wearing on top of your SPF? Lancome’s Le Duo Contour Highlighting Stick ($36; Sephora.com)—one of our favorite multitasking products—as well as a touch of color on your lips, like this two-tone lip bar from Laneige ($29; ViaSeoul.com).
If You're Festival-Hopping Through Europe
Think: Benicàssim Primavera Sound, Beaches Brew
Festival hopping through Europe’s Mediterranean region, like Italy and Spain, sounds like a pretty ideal way to spend your summer, doesn’t it? Good music, dancing on the beach, and late night swims. Add in a few train rides here and there, and you’re going to want to be comfortable. Try a pair of denim shortalls ($75; Topshop.com), of which you can wear with a bikini underneath. Hobes’ tie-up boat shoes ($149; Hobes.co) are a must-have for days and nights at the beach, or strolling around town. Colette Malouf once again makes the perfect hair accessory ($148; Colettemalouf.com), and Dolce & Gabbana’s gold, cat eye sunglasses are gaurenteed to amp up any ensemble ($300; Net-a-porter.com).
Add a sophisticated, but sturdy, backup to carry all of your essentials in—we love Alexander Wang’s version ($695; Shopbop.com). Bring a tube of Embryolisse’s cult-favorite Lait Crème Concentraté ($28; Sephora.com) and some thermal water spray to keep you feeling hydrated and refreshed ($12.99; Ulta.com). Again, since Europeans tend to avoid overdosing on makeup, keep it simple and pack a color-correcting palette for mornings after long nights at the beach—we love Stila’s compact ($45; Sephora.com). Wander Beauty’s dual lipsticks ($30; Sephora.com), which are moisturizing and come in two shades per tube, are all you'll need to top the au-natural look off.
If You're a Hard Rocker
Think: Fuji Rock, Rock in Rio
For all the rock fans out there, there are festivals and concerts aplenty this year. (Guns N’ Roses reunion, anyone?!) You’ll obviously need a killer leather jacket—($1,200; Net-a-Porter.com) —which you can wear over just about anything, though we’re loving this cutout “nighty” from For Love and Lemons ($131; Forloveandlemons.com), paired with a pair of creepers, like Superga’s comfortable, sneaker interpretation ($80; superga-usa.com). Don’t forget to pack your best jeans, and a top you can dance—or crowd surf—in ($20; topshop.com). Alexander Wang’s chain belt ($225; Alexanderwang.com) seems perfectly fit for the occasion, as does Jennifer Fisher’s knotted choker ($405; Net-a-porter.com).
Legendary frontwoman of No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, recently did a collaboration with Urban Decay, so it’s a no brainer to bring along her lip pencil in red ($14; Sephora.com), along with Kat Von D’s tattoo eyeliner ($19; Sephora.com). Since your hair is likely get a bit—dirty—at these types of festivals (think: mud, dirt, tents, sweaty shoulder-rubbers), don’t forget Living Proof’s hero product: their cleansing dry shampoo ($22; Sephora.com)
If You're Going to Road Trip Around North America
Think: Summerfest, Festival d’été de Québec
Summertime in the U.S.A—and Canada, of course. Nothing beats it, except when combined with great music. This year, embrace the hype and bring along a festival-friendly playsuit to whirl around in, like Zimmermann's floral romper ($480; Zimmermannwear.com). Phillip Lim’s striped canvas shirts ($345; Net-a-porter.com) can be worn with any sort of simple, white top—though we love this broderie lace tank from Topshop ($40; Topshop.com). Sam Edelman’s suede platform Espadrilles are this summer’s must-have walking-shoe-that-still-gives-you-height ($90; Samedelman.com), and bandanas, like this chic upgrade from Marc Jacobs ($195; Shopbop.com), multi-task as a headband, arm accessory, neck tie, and more. The purse you’ll want to be seen carrying this summer? Charlotte Olympia’s superbly fun leather camera bag ($2,245; Net-a-porter.com).
Bring along a natural, red lip stain—like this oil formula from Milk beauty ($18; Sephora.com), and some refreshing, toning mist—The Organic Pharmacy’s nutrient rich, herbal spray is perfect for hot, dirty summer nights ($65; Theorganicpharmacy.com). That’s why you’re going to need a little something to replenish your hair, too. Try Label M’s Protein Spray, which now comes in a travel-sized version. The sulphate-free formula adds moisture, detangles, and strengthens hair. ($10.60; Labelm-usa.com).