Lifestyle | |

What to Wear and Bring to a Festival

Are you wondering what to wear and what to bring to a festival? Here’s our ultimate guide on surviving and thriving at concerts and raves!

You’ve got your ticket, your outfits are planned and you’re trawling through Coachella posts to get you in the mood.  That’s right guys, festival season is well and truly here!

Although we may feel as though we’re ready to go, there are so many things we may overlook – especially those of us who are newbies to the festival scene.  And the question on everyone’s mind is: “What should I wear to a music festival?” 

Don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. With this handy guide, you’ll be a festival-going pro in no time.

How do you dress for a festival? 

Not all festivals are made alike! In order to wear the appropriate attire for a festival, let’s look at the different types of concerts and raves first. 

1. Outdoor festivals 

Oh, to be outdoors and one with nature. It’s the perfect setting while listening to music, right? However, because the forces of nature can get a little unpredictable, it can also get pretty messy. So, what do you wear to a muddy festival?

First of all, don’t forget your waterproof jacket! Another thing you can consider are ankle boots to protect your feet from mud and splashes.  

What to wear to a festival2. Warehouse raves 

As opposed to outdoor festivals, a warehouse rave is just another name for a dance party at a nightclub. These types of concerts usually feature EDM or indie artists. 

Since it’s happening indoors, you don’t have to layer or wear warm clothes. You can wear dresses or even something casual like jeans

4. Beach festivals 

Your friends, some drinks, and partying by the beach! What could possibly ruin a perfect scene? Wearing the wrong outfit, of course! 

Most beach parties require you to wear the appropriate swimwear and you can layer it with a cover-up like sarongs or kaftans

You can also wear beach dresses or cute, pattern or floral beach tops over denim shorts.  

What to wear to a festival if it’s cold 

Outdoor festivals and concerts happen all year round. Most of them take place during the summer but in case you plan on attending one during the colder months of the year, here’s what you can do…

  • Thick socks are your friends. They keep you warm against the cold. 
  • Some headgear protects you against the heat and the rain. Wear a hat and keep yourself dry. 
  • If you look at the weather report and see that it’s going to be raining on the day of the festival, feel free to wear wellies. Not all of them are boring, you know! There are wellies that look chic and stylish!
  • Of course, you need to wear coats. If it’s an outdoor event, then an outdoor jacket is a must. 
  • Accessorise with a scarf. It’s both stylish and it keeps you warm!  

How do you properly layer for outdoor festivals? 

There are three kinds of layers for any kind of outdoor activity, including concerts and festivals. 

  1. Base layer (articles of clothing that wicks sweat off)
  2. Middle layer (insulates the body against the cold)
  3. Outer layer (shields you from rain and the elements)

What should a guy wear to a festival?

Most of the festival wear guides are for women — what about the men? Luckily, we also have some tips for the bros…

 What should a guy wear to a festival

Festival wear for men: Tops

Since most of the music festivals are held during the summer months, loose, flowy tops are the way to go. If you are wearing plain shorts or jeans underneath, you can even choose a patterned shirt!

Festival wear for men: Bottoms

Shorts and pants can both work in a music rave but for outdoorsy-type of festivals, if you do plan on wearing jeans, make sure that they’re not restrictive to movements. 

Summer shorts, denim shorts, or patterned ones can be worn with plain tees too. 

Festival wear for men: Accessories 

Mirrored sunglasses can be worn with a basic tee. On the other hand, hats, while also protecting you from the sun, can also make a statement. You can go with the tried-and-tested baseball cap for a sporty look. Or you can don a fedora if it goes with the rest of your wardrobe. 

Other accessories you can play around with are: bandanas, watches, rings, necklaces. Go ahead and layer those necklaces but be careful not to look like you’ve raided your mother’s jewellery box! 

Festival wear for men: Shoes 

Comfort and style should go hand in hand when choosing your footwear. Trainers and boots should be your go-to shoes for this occasion. Brown and rust-colored boots also work well with bohemian-inspired outfits. 

What do you need at a music festival?

If you’ve finally mastered what to wear to a festival, you have another problem facing you: what to bring to a festival. 

You can divide the items into four categories: essentials, miscellaneous or nice-to-have (but not necessary), items for camping and toiletries. 

To make it easier for you, we listed down what you should bring to a festival in this handy table:

Essentials  Good to have Camping  Toiletries 
  • Phone and portable charger
  • Money 
  • Sun protection such as sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
  • Water container 
  • Bin bags 
  • Extra clothes 
  • Grip seal bags 
  • Portable, battery-operated fan 
  • Small, foldable chairs 
  • Portable speakers 
  • Phone accessories like selfie sticks 
  • Tent 
  • Flag for easier identification 
  • Sleeping bags or sleeping mats
  • Blankets and tarp 
  • Multi-tool 
  • Mallet or hammer (for pegs) 
  • Light such as a head torch or flashlight 
  • Batteries 
  • Wet wipes 
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Dry shampoo 
  • Towel 
  • Deodorant 
  • First aid kit 
  • Personal medication, contraceptives 
  • Sanitary products for women 

Tips on how to survive at a festival 

Now that you know what to wear and what to bring to a festival, do you have what it takes to survive and thrive? Follow these tips fo a guaranteed good time: 

1. Pack wisely

And when we say “pack smart”, we don’t mean it in the way your mother might say it to you.  We mean, think strategically.  Let’s face it, you’ve got your outfits planned for each day or at least some idea of what you’re going to be wearing for each day of the festival. 

When you’re packing your clothes, ensure you put the clothes you’ll be wearing home in first, then your Sunday clothes, Saturday clothes etc.  This will save a lot of rooting around in a very small tent and will ensure the clothes you’re wearing home will stay dry. Let’s be real, you’re not going to want to go climbing into soggy clothes after three days of very little sleep, are you?

2. Use a sleeping bag cover instead of pillows

If, like us, you find it very difficult to sleep without a pillow, but can’t somehow cram your favourite duck feather pillow into your backpack, (rude, right?), use your sleeping bag cover instead.  Stuff it with a towel, and boom!  A home-made pillow that MacGyver himself would be proud of.

Shop for sleeping bags > 

3. Use bin bags to sit on muddy grounds

Yep, you read that right!  Pack a roll of bin bags and layer them out on the ground underneath where you’re going to pitch your tent.  The extra layer of plastic under your tent will ensure it stays nice and dry, if it does rain over the weekend.  Just don’t forget to pick them up before you leave – think of the environment, please!  

Oh, and they’ll also double up if your clothes do get wet, or your wellies get super mucky, just throw them into a bin bag to protect the rest of your gear.

4. Pack baby wipes and hand sanitiser for an easy cleanup 

Mud on shoes, mud on the face, generally, mud everywhere.  While we would never condone using a baby wipe to take off your makeup, desperate times call for desperate measures.  Just make sure you wash your face properly at some point over the weekend, yeah?

While we’re on the subject of cleanliness, don’t forget to bring a hand sanitiser. We’re not being an overly clean freak here, but seriously, once you see those port-a-loos on day three, you’ll be so glad of your hand sanitiser.

5. Bring a lot of snacks 

You won’t like us when we’re hangry, and hanger can set in so darn fast that sometimes we don’t even realise it’s about to happen.  Do yourself and everyone else a favour, and pack some snacks for emergencies.  

Granola bars, popcorn, chocolate covered rice cakes – whatever other delicious dried foods you enjoy, pack ’em!  Queues for food at festivals can be a nightmare, not to mention expensive.  So yeah, bring snacks, okay?

6. Keep valuables in a bumbag 

Money, phone, keys – go!  It goes without saying, but don’t leave anything valuable in your tent.  Keep all of your most important belongings on you at all times, and avoid using your pockets, as stuff can easily fall out.  Bum bags are super handy for keeping all your bits safe and secure, and not to mention super stylish like woven bumbags.

River Island Snake Print Quilted Belt Bag, €30.00
River Island Snake Print Quilted Belt Bag, €30.00

Check out bum bags >

7. Bring gear for all types of weather

No one knows what the weather in Ireland is planning, so make sure you pack for all eventualities.  We’re talking sun cream, sunglasses, a rain poncho, wellies – the works!  Chances are, you’ll use all of them at some point over the weekend.

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Fiona Hyland

Fiona loves nothing more than discovering new cities, brunch on Sundays, and a good documentary. If you don't find her cooking up a storm in the kitchen, you'll find her in an interiors store, feeding her very real blanket addiction.

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