Music Festival Checklist: Overnight Edition

It’s here. Music festival season has arrived. A few early birds have already wrapped-up, but, for the most part, the American Summer is about to open up into a sea of waving hands, flower headbands and chants of “One-more-song!”. They are gatherings of thousands of (mostly) like minded people. Packed to the brim with awe inspiring artwork of all forms. Where music’s upper echelon perform their most intricate sets, or try to. As Nick stated yesterday, the pinnacle of all parties.

Festivals can be long or short. Far away or nearby. The biggest differentiator, in our collective opinion, is the sleeping situation. Glass Duffle contributor, Nick Battaglia, offered some ways to optimize your experience at festivals that offer only day-passes. As a follow-up, I’ve outlined a pseudo music festival checklist for overnight endeavors. Please enjoy them.


Home is where the <3 is

Your campsite and its vibe are key to your enjoyment of the weekend. You want to feel comfortable and safe, with maybe a smidge of privacy. Apply a campsite feng shui to your festival chill spot. I like to roll out an old area rug underneath a canopy, to create a homey feel. Meeting your neighbors will help put you at ease, too. No one is saying you need to spend the weekend with them or get matching tattoos. A casual introduction over a beer does just fine to convince you that your things, and weekend, are safe.

Even if it’s a short getaway, I encourage the hanging of things. Flags, kites and streamers can easily be tied to tents, cars and canopies. Not only will this give your site some color and movement but they make for great visual cues on dark walks home through what will seem like an endless maze of tents that look exactly the same.

tips for overnight music festival forecastle tokimonsta

When these tips are followed closely, your weekend will appear in rainbow.

tips for overnight music festival forecastle toro y moi

Not really.

tips for overnight music festival bonnaroo sunset

But, really.


Sun of a bitch

The sun is everyone’s favorite part of summer. And that’s OK. But, if you’ve ever experienced a festival that included mind-numbing heat, you’ll always have a lil tiny bit of hate in your heart for that great flame in the sky. Some festivals are known for their seering temperatures, some are not. While planning, please take this into account. Sunblock is liquid gold at these fiery fests, ice is sold at a premium and everything feels sticky, forever. Most festivals will offer mist tents, free water and indoor (A/C) entertainment, but it’s hard to avoid the largest thing in the galaxy, yanno? Make sure to drink lots of water and eat at least one meal a day. You’ll be able to tell who hasn’t. That goes for overnight festivals of any temperature.

The poor sleep is what really got to me. I like to sleep-in. I was deeply disturbed when the sun’s rays awoke me, somehow doubling in heat and intensity when shining through the tent fabric, melting my already sunburnt body into an already sweaty sleeping bag. Mmmmmm. This was around 7am, on five straight mornings at Bonnaroo 2008. The main tip, here? If you can’t take the heat… get out of the kitchen/choose a festival with cooler temps.

tips for overnight music festival bonnaroo

Prepare to wake up like this.

tips for overnight music festival bonnaroo

Hopefully not like this.


Preparation prevents a wack weekend

This is a tricky one because you don’t want to over-think it or over-pack it. In most cases, you only need one change of clothes. Yes, you will be dirty. A mobile shower amenity bag is easy to construct with travel sized everything, just add a bottle of water and you’re about as clean as you’re gonna get. Mentally prepare to not use your phone. GASP. Bring booze but don’t bring glass. Bring food but don’t bring anything that can’t be left out in the open. Boxed snacks work well, as do sports drinks for replenishing your electrolytes and what not.

Get as much sleep as possible before the trip. Even if you don’t have sweltering heat to combat, you will be sleeping on the ground and music thumps loudly deep into the night. Camping festivals are a physical task, you’re better off getting your body ready for the experience so your mind can better enjoy it.


Reading articles like this is good preparation.

tips for overnight music festival bonnaroo

Good luck! Things are about to get weird.

tips for overnight music festival forecastle owl

Very weird.


Did I forget anything? 

Author: Wes R. Kasik

A life-long resident of Ohio, Wes relocated to sunny San Diego at the end of 2015 to find himself, challenge himself, freelance, and every other cliche a creative person could use as motivation to drive more than fifty hours across the country with their possesions perilously in tow. He has never been happier.

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  1. Nice! I co-sign on all of these sound pointers. Although the matching tattoo idea would make for an engrossing story til the end of your days..

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    • Word! This blew my mind, I’d always approached festivals as phoneless ventures. This makes me want to look further into ways I can keep a charge on my phone through the weekend. One obvious benefit- much less wandering! Thanks, Kenzie.

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  2. Two things I cannot recommend enough are 1) a good daypack and 2) a camelback or similar water reservoir. Water is your best friend (and will quickly make you new friends) so why not carry it around with you? The daypack is a no-brainer, enabling the carry of said water, snacks, raincoat, and various other fun stuff.

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    • Another great one that I missed. Having something in your hands at all times, like a water bottle, would get annoying at a festival … wearing hydration on your back is pure genius, AND a conversation starter. Bravo, Brandon. And thanks.

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  3. Stay awake for any late night dance party offered. If you don’t think you have it in you, seek the nearest dancing machine and become one with that human.

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  4. Don’t forget your rage stick!!! You want to find your friends and you want your friends to find you in the crowd at the stages.

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