After a year of watching live music only via streaming services, we are so excited to get back to music festivals and outdoor concerts this summer! This refresher on what to take to an outdoor concert will help you get back into the swing of things in no time.

Check the Venue Website Ahead of Time.

Even if you’re the type who swears by serendipity, it never hurts to plan ahead. Every venue has different rules about whether tailgating is allowed and what you can bring inside, so make sure you know what’s allowed before you go—otherwise, you could be faced with a long walk back to your car to stash your stuff. And if you’ve made the mistake of bringing Fido to a venue that’s not dog-friendly, the extra trip back home may mean you miss the concert altogether.

Pay particular attention to restrictions on bag sizes. If large backpacks and tote bags are prohibited, plan on limiting yourself to a smaller bag—a fanny pack is actually a great choice in this scenario!—and picking up some travel-sized toiletries.

You may also want to look for a map of the venue so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout. This can help you make smarter decisions about where to park and sit—and to find the bathrooms without wandering!

Dress for the Weather.

Maybe even a downpour wouldn’t spoil this long-awaited event for you, but you’ll still want to dress comfortably for the weather. If a little rain is in the forecast, grab a packable poncho or a light jacket. For hot, sunny days, make sure you’re protected with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (although some venues don’t allow aerosol sprays, so you may want to stick with a cream).

Whatever the weather, be sure to wear comfortable shoes! Heavy boots or high heels should definitely be left at home; instead, choose footwear that you lets you stand all day and dance the night away.

Pack Smart.

Think about how you’ll be spending the day, and what you can bring to make yourself more comfortable. For us, that means outdoor folding chairs! One of our top picks for concerts is the Backpack Event Chair™, which has adjustable straps and a storage pouch built-in, keeping your hands free. However, if you know the venue has sloped ground, the Everywhere Chair® is your best bet. With an adjustable angle, you can use this sturdy seat even on a hillside.

Bring your own personal shade with a GCI shade chair—perfect for long music festival days.

For outdoor concerts where you might only want to sit a few minutes here and there, or if you’re looking to travel extra light, consider a portable stool like the Quik-E-Seat®. At just over 4 lbs, this seat is the perfect size to sling over your shoulder. Setting it up is a breeze, which makes it useful for the entire day, including those long lines you might encounter at the gate or restrooms. Plus, the supportive backrest and padded seat will keep you comfortable throughout the concert as well.

In addition to a comfortable seat, you’ll also want to bring essentials such as hand sanitizer and tissues (especially if you’ll be using porta-potties), bug spray, and snacks. See the bottom of this post for a complete checklist!

Stay Hydrated.

Dehydration can zap your energy and bring down your mood, and you’re more susceptible to it if you’ll be out in the sun all day. To prevent dehydration from killing the vibe, be sure to check whether the venue allows outside beverages. In some cases, you can bring an entire cooler (yay!), while others allow only one sealed water bottle per person—in which case you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of cash on hand for the concession stand.

Staying hydrated is easy when you can keep a beverage by your side at all times.

Plan Your Route & Pick a Meeting Spot.

Know the event schedule and determine what time you absolutely must be settled in so that you won’t miss your favorite bands. Leave yourself plenty of travel time, and assume that there will be traffic and long lines so that these don’t surprise you and disrupt your plans.

On the way, agree on a meet-up spot with those you’re travelling with. Cell phone service can be spotty in crowded areas, and you may not be able to call each other if you get separated. Pick a place in the venue where you can regroup, or agree to meet back at the car.

Get Excited!

After a year of cancelled events, we’re more grateful than ever for outdoor concerts—remind yourself of this, and try not to sweat the small stuff. With a positive attitude and some simple preparation, you’re in for a great time.

Checklist: Outdoor Concert Essentials

Reminder: Every venue has different rules and restrictions—be sure to check their website before you go!

  • Tickets
  • Photo ID
  • Cash
  • Folding chair or waterproof picnic blanket
  • Sun umbrella
  • Hair ties
  • Baseball cap or sun hat
  • Poncho or light jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • SPF chap stick
  • Bug spray
  • Bottle(s) of water
  • Snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Travel pack of tissues or toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Portable phone charger or battery pack
  • Waterproof phone pouch or Ziploc bag