Eight MUST HAVE’s When Traveling to a Music Festival

As a lot of you might know, I’ve spent the summer going to music festivals and doing various shoots with artists. Depending on the festival, you might not be allowed to bring all the things you’d want, since some of the smallest things could be considered ‘banned items’. I wanted to make this post for all of you in case you were planning on going to any future festivals, or anybody who wanted to inquire on which festivals enforce which policies. Enjoy!

  1. Sunscreen – Make sure that you always bring the smallest amount/bottle you can find. When it comes to music festivals (especially ones with huge headliners), they’re a lot like airports. The risk management teams and security at the festivals will inevitably make you throw out your tubes of sunscreen if it isn’t small enough. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring any! Avoid tan lines and sunburns by carrying around sunscreen. Also, it never hurts to make a friend by offering them some sunscreen on a hot day!3FE67385-7FB6-46BA-AA0B-DBC5C2342B60   (I would recommend using the Avene Ultra-Ligh Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion as it has broad spectrum SPF 50+ and it’s water resistant! You can either get the sunscreen through the link above on Amazon or get it through the Summer FabFitFun box! Use the code ‘UMASS’ to get $10 off your purchase!)
  2. Portable Chargers – Although this might be more important for people who make an attempt at a press pass, portable chargers are extremely useful and can prevent you not being able to reach your friends at a time where you all split up. One of the biggest pluses to having a portable charger is that some of them have a storage compartment on the back of your phone, useful when you’re storing your I.D., passes, or credit cards. The worst thing is having to dig through a huge backpack of excess items while you’re trying to pay for a drink. (I personally use the Morphie IPhone 6 Portable Charger, but I do believe Amazon and Best Buy have other awesome brands to choose from)
  3. Earplugs – This thought came to me when I was front row at a Dillon Francis concert. If you’re like me, you probably might want to get as close to the artist as possible, even if it means you’re going to be face-to-face with the artist’s speakers. It’s all about the experience, right? However, when I started shooting photos for artists that these festivals, seasoned pros would hang me some earplugs to keep your ears from ringing after the performance. Honestly, it’s probably one of the better ideas since the beginning of music festivals. You can still enjoy your concert experience, just take out the traumatic aftermath of not being able to hear anything afterwards.
  4. Tylenol – Obviously, skip this if you are totally fine and live in a region of the world where the combination of loud noises and heat don’t get you worked up. However, coming from Connecticut, we don’t do well when working in heat. Therefore, when you might get a headache, try taking a couple of tylenol. **Disclaimer: I would NOT go drinking at a festival after having Tylenol as it can cause liver damage… Just trying to keep y’all safe**
  5. Hammock – I know this is weird, but trust me. When I went to Firefly Music Festival in Delaware this year, a lot of the campers placed their hammocks in trees that were near the stages they wanted. Sure, you might not be front row, but at least  you get to relax by the stage and still listen to some of your favorite artists.
  6. Business Cards – Yes, I know this seems strange. Normally, I would say ‘screw it’ and just not bring anything business-related to a music festival. However, if you’re a social media influencer, tech savvy person, video producer, or just a guy who is trying to dabble in music production, keep some business cards on you. A lot of artist management hangs out in either VIP or General Admission areas, and it never hurts to give them your information. If you happen to have a Press or Photo pass, this is also a sweet way to end up being invited to more festivals under the affiliation of a cool company. You never know! (I personally use Moo business cards, but Vistaprint is also a good choice!)
  7. Your Planner – With a lot of artists, means a lot of running around. Similar to #6, I’m not a huge fan of walking around with business materials during a time where I’m supposed to focus on having fun. However, if you’re running around trying to capture the performances of 12 artists in one day, you need to be alert to when you need to be there, whether or not you have time to visit certain stations, and when those artists might be doing meet and greets/signings.1631FFC3-00A6-419E-B73A-ED220827E0DA(On the left, Horacio Printing Student Planner 2017-2018. On the right, Kate Spade 2018 Student Planner)
  8. Lastly, of course, you have to bring some of your closest friends – I always look back at my experiences working for festivals with a smile on my face, because a friend of mine (usually who also dabbled in film/photo) also joined me for the ride. It’s always a nice feeling to know that you can see some of your favorite artists with friends and enjoy yourself while working. Also, with such large festivals these days, you start to have trouble finding certain entrances, and a friend can always be the second pair of eyes for you when you’re under some stress.


I hope you all enjoyed my eight things you’ll need to bring when you head to your next music festival! If you have any ideas of what I should write about, e-mail cassidykotyla@gmail.com or just follow me on Instagram at @CasElizabethCecilia and comment your idea on one of my latest photos!

Until next time, xoxo.



  1. I’m yet to go to a music festival, but I have queued all day (twice!) to be front row for a concert (crazy I know, but worth it) and some of these tips fell in then. But my sister and I are planning on going to a music festival next year so these tips will come in handy!


  2. Good suggestions, particularly #8. When I recall any festivals I’ve attended, its the interactions and funny moments with friends that I remember…..not the actual performances. Funny that.


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