#1 – Water Backpack – If there is one thing you buy, please make it this. This will SAVE YOUR LIFE. At least 75% of the recent deaths or hospitalizations have been in some way tied to dehydration or heat exhaustion. Nobody wants to leave an epic spot during an awesome set to get water. Even if you don’t need it, someone around you will. At the venue bars, ask for cups of ice (you can often get them free with a few strategically placed tips). The ice + water combo in your backpack is amazing. A 2L pack is a good starter.
#2 – Walkie-Talkie – Randall’s Island/EZoo is a perfect example of overcrowded cell phone towers. Texts were delayed up to thirty minutes, if they went through at all. This could be devastating to coordination efforts. Very few people currently use walkies at festivals. They’re cheap, and an excellent way to keep in touch, especially if your group splits up often.
#3 – A Meetup Place or “Totem” – In a 12 hour festival day, plans will change, and you will part ways and/or lose members of your crew. Pick something stationary, as strange or as obscure as possible, and meet there as many times as necessary. Or, if you’re more interested in the “fast and furious method,” have groups agree on a signal to be held up in the air when trying to meet up at a stage. Some places allow things like foam noodles or banners that people get pretty creative with (see below, at Electric Forest). Kudos to the group with the LED hoop. My friend’s Coachella group does one pinky in the air. Have the people around you help. 15-20 people doing anything will be very easy to see.
#5 – Zip Pockets, Fanny Pack, or Armband – At a show, you will jump around, people will crash into you, and a very small, horrible minority will try to pick your pockets. A runner’s arm band or having pockets that zip or button will satisfy those who always “pack light.” Or you can combine security at the venue with a party in the campgrounds, and get a Jammypack. (Ed.:If you decide on a Jammypack, at checkout, enter EDMTunes in the Promo Code section to get 20% off)
#6 – A Lung Cleaner – When you’re at a place like The Playa (Burning Man), TomorrowWorld, or any number of camping festivals, dust is everywhere. Your mouth is dry, your lungs are uncomfortable, and your breath probably smells terrible. Not to mention you’re probably hoarse from yelling, smoking, or a number of other festival activities. This is where something like Dr. Klear’s Lung Cleaner comes in. The product is an inhaler that is made up of eucalyptus oil mixed with sea salt and water. It’s refreshing, it’s cheap, and is nothing but helpful for your lungs, especially when they are under the constant toils of festival land.
#7 – Electrolyte Tablets or Liquid – Keeping well hydrated is one thing, but if you’re planning on not eating much (not recommended), at least strive to take down 1-2 of these servings a day. Check for Emergen-C, or Mio, both at the local grocery. You can combine them with your water backpack(#1), too.
#8 – Acoustic Earplugs – Traditional ear plugs suck. Fortunately, somewhere, a raver majored in engineering. Etymotic and Earpeace have created concert headphones that dampen sound with minimal decreases in quality at a really cheap price. Beats a headache and ears ringing after 5 hours in the pit. This is probably the most important suggestion on this list (besides water). It is guaranteed that the volume of the music at electronic music shows is loud enough to damage the ears. Don’t want to go deaf? Pick up some earplugs.
#9 – Gum/Lighter – Because who doesn’t like making new friends? Odds are you’ll be asked for at least one of these. Having any one of the three (even if you don’t smoke), will make you very good friends nearby. The kind of friends who won’t crush you on the fence when their favorite DJ gets on stage.
#10 – Plastic Water Bottle Caps – We’re saving the most ridiculous for last. Many venues sell you a water bottle, and keep the cap. No idea why, but it’s ridiculous, and a pain to take out into the crowd. Fortunately there are pretty much 2 types of bottle (big cap and small cap). Grab a few of both, just in case. This also gives you the ability to refill at the water stations and take the bottles around in a pocket or bag.
Any other venue essentials that we’ve missed?
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