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Festival Tips From Free People Girls

Festival season is in full swing and we are bursting with excitement we get closer and closer to Coachella weekend. Being immersed in a festival is an experience unparalleled to any other – and if you’re prepping for your first one, you may not know what to expect or where to begin. The Free People office is filled with seasoned festival-goers, so I thought it would be fun and helpful to share some festival tips from these wise minds! Do you have any festival tips? Share them below!

Our copywriter:

Instead of a shoulder bag, bring a lightweight yet spacious backpack. LIFESAVER. It holds everything you need, including a cardigan/sweater for night when it gets cold, snacks, camera, sunscreen, etc., so then you can still DANCE, DANCE, DANCE the night away and not feel weighed down by your shoulder bag. :)

Festival Backpack

Our web production assistant:

Bring a small booklet where you can write down who you want to see and what stages they are on. Try to pick your favorites and, if they are on different stages, leave time to walk there. If you don’t know the artist playing before your favorite act, go anyway! You might really like them and you will be there early enough to get a closer spot to your favorite act. Bring layers in your backpack to wear when it gets cold, and if you have free time in late afternoon use that time to change into them. This might make your pack heavier in the morning but it will be totally worth it when you can stay and dance til the very end of the festival. Don’t be afraid to talk to people around you and meet new people. I met some of my best friends at festivals!

Our PR intern:

Wear a scarf or sarong that can double as something to sit on, eat a healthy breakfast, and wear cute sunglasses with no makeup. Disposable cameras are fun, don’t look at your phone, and make sure you get a pedicure because shoes aren’t allowed.

Our videographer:

Drink water, wear sunscreen, surround yourself with the ones you love and let the music carry you home. :)

FP Jana:
Establish a meeting place with your friends in case your group gets separated because cell phone service might be sparse. It’s also helpful to have a “crew stick” – like a recognizable flag to raise into the air so that you can find your group!

FP Julia:

I always like to have a light scarf with me – no matter what the festival you’ll find a use for it. If it gets chilly at night you’ll be grateful for it, and if it’s Bonnaroo you’ll use it to keep from inhaling dust…I usually end up wearing it as a headband or using it to cover up dirty, messy hair. :)

FP Jemma:

Hydrate. You might need to put some sunscreen on top of your head, too.

Festival Canteen Feathers

Tell us your festival tips below!

Photos by Brigette

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Vivi -April 4, 2013, 9:01AM

According to their website Coachella does allow shoes but not flags.

alexis -April 4, 2013, 9:24AM

A good hat is always a must for me, also a regular basic bandanna can come in very handy. I always like to wear socks with some awesome boots and keep my feet clean, it helps the inside of your tent stay cleaner and you never know what kind of sketchy crap might be on the ground. I had a friend step on a needle at bonnaroo once, no joke. Stay hydrated and don’t accept drugs from strangers, no matter how hot they are.

Shelley -April 4, 2013, 10:11AM

Great suggestions! Wish I could go to Coachella, but I’ll just have to live vicariously through you guys!

Brittany -April 4, 2013, 10:16AM

I dig the “crew stick” idea. I’m heading to Hangout Festival in May and can’t wait to see The Shins and Jim James!


jessica -April 4, 2013, 10:26AM

bring a pair of shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and that fit securely on your feet. it sucks getting stepped on during a show! it also sucks losing your shoes if they’re loose, like flip flops. (one time it rained at summercamp mf and there was about 4 inches of mud at the bassnectar show. lost my shoes!)

Raechel -April 4, 2013, 10:30AM

Use the buddy system ALWAYS. Going to the bathroom? Buddy. Going to the beer garden/bar? Buddy. You get the point. Getting lost is not fun, especially when your phone is dying or there’s no service.

Also, if it’s a two day festival, get some sleep the first night so you can fully enjoy the next day!

Marija -April 4, 2013, 10:33AM

if the festival is in ‘the rain zone’, wellies is a must. I saw two of my friends throwing away their favorite shoes after a festival because they were just too muddy to take home. and no matter how cute some low ankle wellies look, a normal pair of high ones is sooo much more useful – no drops of mud coming inside the shoe.

Tricia -April 4, 2013, 10:37AM


Is the shirt in the photograph available for purchase?


Vicky -April 4, 2013, 10:39AM

No shoes allowed???! I stepped on a bee once, never placed an incautious barefoot step in the grass since haha.

My essential’s been named: A scarf. I usually pull it through the belt loops of my pants to secure it. I’ve been contemplating getting a nice backpack because even cross body bags get in the way of my crazy dancing :D

I also sneak in a flask but if you can’t even wear shoes to festivals in the US I doubt you could get that in haha.

fp brigette -April 4, 2013, 10:48AM

Haha, our PR intern was just joking about the shoes — thank goodness :)

Liz -April 4, 2013, 10:50AM

Where is that backpack from?! I love it; it looks just like the blanket I bought in the Argentine mountains. WANT.

fp brigette -April 4, 2013, 10:59AM

Tricia – The top is available in a different color on our site:
Liz – The backpack isn’t currently on our site, but keep an eye out for it! :)

mary @ B&G JOURNALS -April 4, 2013, 11:06AM

love that water canteen pouch…

melissa -April 4, 2013, 11:17AM


wendy -April 4, 2013, 11:56AM

hmm shoes are allowed…lol

Amanda -April 4, 2013, 12:09PM

Baby wipes! Or the Garnier or Say yes to Cucumber or whatever brand. When you can’t shower for a couple days just having something quick to make you feel fresh is nice. Or especially to wipe off your feet before you crawl in your tent.

Eliza -April 4, 2013, 12:34PM

Festival needs: flower crown or a light hat, sunnies, cash, mexican blanket, backpack, lipstick, jewelry, camera, hair-bands, pen & paper, napkins, festival map, henna, and your friends! If we’re VIP my friends and I bring food such as fruits and crackers in! Fruits keep us energized and really in that summer-vibe.

I bring my phone charger just incase, an extra camera battery, and a flannel for the night!
I don’t bring a canteen because they take up space and some festivals don’t allow you to bring them filled up- I sneak a water bag in because they are easy to hide and fold up!

Oh, and of course I ALWAYS have some FP attire on because I always run into some chill FP girls- and thats how we find each other.

Kim -April 4, 2013, 12:36PM

extra phone charger!! solar-powered or external.. or those cases with a built-in extra battery.. that way your phone is always charged.. you don’t want to have to be searching for an outlet

snow -April 4, 2013, 1:28PM

These are wonderful tips! I’ve never been to a festival! I hope I can go to one soon ~

Megan -April 4, 2013, 1:42PM

I’ve never been to a festival, but these tips do sound very helpful! It gets me excited to one day go to a festival, lol.

cathie west -April 4, 2013, 2:49PM

go to an army surplus store and buy a waterproof poncho. if u dont need it to keep yourself dry. u can use it to sit on. also welly boot socks keep your feet warm. and always put a spare pair of knickers and clean socks in a carrier bag for your travel home.

Charlotte -April 4, 2013, 3:15PM

UK festival essentials: wellies (always!), a flower garland, & a crappy phone because your i-phone will run out on day 1. I can’t wait for festival season, I’m planning to work Latitude & Greenman!

Tricia -April 4, 2013, 3:40PM

Many Thanks!

KARMIYA -April 4, 2013, 4:54PM

for bonnaroo i would suggest Cliff bars! i stuck them in my purse and were perfect snacks during long concerts that you didnt want to lose your spot in. For lollapalooza i’d suggest a small or collapsable water bottle, because you wont want to carry around a lot of stuff there but you’ll get thirsty and really hot.. lollapalooza is a really jammed music festival. for pitchfork bring water bottles! they dont have refill stations.. or recycling bins so.. its really upsetting!

Mel -April 4, 2013, 8:49PM

Camelbacks for refilling at water stations. Comfortable shoes!! Snacks that won’t melt. And Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel saved my life at Bonnaroo! Seriously, if you’re going to a festival in the middle of summer, get one of these. It will keep you cool in the summer heat.

elizabeth -April 4, 2013, 9:13PM

homemade dry shampoo! for those of us festies who like roughin it, camping-style, this stuff keeps your hair feeling fresh and light after a day of boogyin. baby powder works as a good substitute!

Carmen -April 4, 2013, 10:30PM

bring wet wipes to use as shower substitutes. if you’re at a festival with none or ones you have to pay for, or simply don’t want to waste your few magical days waiting in line for up to an hour, they’re a lifesaver. if you’re at Bonnaroo, I would suggest 100% bypassing showers and using wipes and taking advantage of the free hair washing at the Garnier tent.

keep your cash and valuables stowed deep in your bag. it’s worth the time it will take to dig through your pack to find your money rather than risk someone snagging a $20 when they’re right behind you.

bring a lock for your tent. the creepers come out and troll around the campgrounds during the day just looking for vulnerable tents. I swear.

embrace the European style of alcoholism and get used to drinking your beer warm. AKA WOman up.

go ahead and take a moment of silence to mourn the fact that you will undoubtedly miss at least one of the bands you planned on seeing. you’ll get so busy and realize once you get there that there’s no way you can do it all. especially if you’re a huge music buff. pick what you’re most willing to sacrifice and plan accordingly.

pack lots of cheap dollar store snacks. if you eat on the grounds, find the grilled cheese stand and drop $4 for 2 sandwiches and call it a meal.

be nice. be happy. smile. make friends with strangers everywhere you go. people are beautiful. embrace humanity.

Lynn -April 5, 2013, 8:21AM

Now I wonder what it been like to go to a music festival

Alexandra J. -May 11, 2013, 5:09PM

Does anyone know where I could possibly buy a large scarf? I am going to a Marina and the Diamonds concert May 29th and it’s in Central Park, NY. I’m assuming since it’s outside, that there will be no chairs, and I think having a scarf would be lovely to sit on. If you have any other suggestions on what to bring, it would be a huge help. Thank you!!!!

PopeyeAy -July 4, 2013, 5:41AM

the videographer pretty much summed it up :) <3

Karlee W -June 3, 2014, 9:47AM

Im going to Bonnaroo in a week for the first time and I have found this site very helpful thank you all

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