Prep right for a big music fest (like Laneway Festival)
From hardcore headbanging at Download Festival Australia to swaying and dabbing at Laneway Festival Singapore, here’s our ultimate music festival packing list every music fan should read (spoiler: leave the feather headdresses at home).
Music festivals can be supremely fun and even awe-inspiring experiences for hardcore and lukewarm fans alike - just talk to musicheads about their favourite ones and watch them go. Likewise, if you ask 20 different festival veterans about the best way to prepare for one, you’ll probably get 20 different answers.
The following festival packing list therefore, is by no means exhaustive. But since you’ve just dropped a couple hundred dollars on an indie music ticket like Laneway Festival (or more if you’re flying out to an overseas festival), you deserve to know how you can fully enjoy the experience, rain or shine. Ready?
#1: Health comes first.
For the skin
We all know Singapore is one sunny nation, so applying a good sunscreen regularly during the day is necessary not only to prevent you from turning lobster red, but also to avert other UVR (ultraviolet radiation) damage that can occur. It’s worth the extra dollar spending on one with good SPF and PA ratings to block both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays respectively.
To avoid a flaky, sunburnt scalp, put on a light-material snapback or wide-brimmed hat. And yes, please apply that useful army-strength insect repellent when at outdoor festivals (unless being peppered with sandfly bites is somehow appealing to you.)
It might not be a hit with the ladies, you won’t have to hide your insect-gouged face at work the day after. (image courtesy: Amazon)
A word on attire: we know there are many opinions on this, but we rather err on the side of caution than on #fashun. If you aren’t wearing clothes that you care too much about, that’s one worry off your mind when moshing in the mud. But don’t scrimp on good footwear - you’ll usually be standing or walking most of the time. Laneway Festival Singapore, for instance, has a few stages for indie music lovers to bounce between, so choose a comfortable pair (in fact, our indie-music-loving editor personally recommends a pair of fuss-free and super weather-hardy Wellingtons).
We did warn you to leave that obscure-cult-brand white top at home. (Boryeong Mud Festival; image courtesy: Rough Guides)
For the ears
That insane high-pitched ringing in your head after you’ve willingly put yourself in front of huge concert speakers because you wanted to ‘feel the music better’? Well, you certainly got that, along with some irreparable ear damage.
Wherever you’ll be at a music festival, you’ll need a pair of good ear plugs that can filter out harmful noise above 80 decibels - we recommend a pair of foam or silicone ones that you can just stuff in your ear and forget about for the entire duration. In general, the less pain your ears are feeling, the longer and harder you can party. Capisce?
For the eyes
UVR doesn’t just affect the skin, it causes damage to the eyes as well. So unless your idea of adulthood means an alarmingly high probability of cataracts and retina damage, you should get a pair of good prescription sunglasses at your next indie music festival. If buying off the rack, make sure it says ‘99-100% UVA and UVB light protection’ or ‘up to 400NMs protection’ on the tag (clip-on ones should be available for the bespectacled on a budget).
If you’re just packing for yourself and want to travel light, you might find a waterproof tarpaulin groundsheet useful, especially on wet and muddy ground (cheap plastic ones are also an option, but they’re flimsy and easy to tear.) But if you’re carrying a larger backpack and festival rules allow, do consider a nice foldable camping chair.
Before heading out, remember to check your weather app religiously before heading out and throw in your go-to rain gear if necessary: a towel and ziploc bags for non-waterproof valuables will go a long way to making you feel less miserable when you’re caught in a shower outside. (We don’t really recommend brollies because not all festivals allow it to be brought into the venue.)
For those long multi-day festivals with plenty of time in between acts, bring along your current paperback to accompany your beer. And lest we forget - toilet paper should be in every festival packing list (thanks Dave Grohl for that tip.)
For the pouch
The big music festivals like Laneway Festival, Zoukout!, Thailand’s Wonderfruit and the Ultra Music Festival series can run up to a few days at a time, so bring along quick-fix medical necessities to minimise your inconvenience. Throw in the fast-acting antihistamines, painkillers, band-aid, diarrhea pills, and if festival rules allow, a personal water bottle for hydration (for instance, Laneway Festival Singapore this year does permit bringing unsealed empty plastic water bottles into the venue.)
#3: Your phone’s packing list, app-wise.
It’s not just about the external mobile batteries, but how well your mobile is prepped for the sweltering excitement of a big event like Laneway Festival. A good weather app is definitely needed: we recommend Dark Sky (on iOS and Android); it gives excellent hour-by-hour temperature, precipitation and wind speed readings - key indicators that affect your choice of festival attire. Convenience is king at a festival, so various cashless payment apps like Android Pay and even Paypal (on iOS and Android) can help you skip out taking out your wallet all the time.
Doing some music research beforehand will help enrich your overall experience. Especially with indie music, festivals are a good barometers to introduce future big music stars - so take time to explore official festival playlists on your streaming apps like Spotify (on iOS and Android) or Apple Music (on iOS and Android)! Also important are official festival apps; Laneway Festival, for one, releases one every year. You’ll be relying on it to check set timings, receive important announcements from the organiser and be one of the first few to grab festival premiums like temporary tattoos, portable fans and even rain ponchos!
Capture the best memories
For those who want to go the extra mile to capture the best memories, you can do no wrong with a gimbal for a perfectly-steady iPhone 8 4K HD video, or a cool 360-degree mobile camera accessory for those awesome shots of your favourite indie music artist playing to the sea of people. But if you’re really asking, we think you could give these (non-creepy looking) HD camera glasses by iVUE Camera a look-in for your packing list - now that’s what we call filming in first-person.
Probably not the 360° camera you had in mind. (image courtesy: Yatzu!)
#4: And trusty data to keep you going.
Whether travelling to Melbourne for Laneway Festival Australia or hopping from Shanghai to Tokyo during Ultra Music Festival season, StarHub DataTravel gives festival-chasers like you the widest overseas data coverage. You can choose from 2GB or 3GB data bundles from $15 for 30 days!
DataTravel auto-connects you to the strongest networks wherever you are, so you can jump across multiple countries freely without data-worries. Activate DataTravel easily via My StarHub app (on iOS and Android)!