Throughout the years, I’ve been to dozens and dozens of outdoor festivals and concerts. I’ve written in the past about all the amazing concerts Seattle has to offer. But, of all the seasons, fall festivals are my absolute favorite. Summer festivals are fun because everyone is out of school and you are pretty much guaranteed good weather, but there’s something really nice about enjoying your favorite music, artists, or performances in the crisp fall air and then being able to bundle up or snuggle at night.
Having been to multiple concerts and festivals already in the past month with the kiddos, I wanted to share some of my very favorite concert and festival gear and must-haves. Keep this guide handy for all fall events with the family or with friends.
But, before we get to the list, there are some really important things to keep in mind when planning:
- Be sure you know and understand the restrictions for your specific event so you don’t arrive with all of your gear only to be turned away at the door. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is worse.
- Plan some extra time for both getting to the event and then leaving. With so many vehicles and people filing into a small area, parking is a nightmare, security checks can take forever, and then leaving requires a crazy amount of patience.
- Bring some extra cash for food, drinks, and for souvenirs. I’ve seen many a square app or credit card machine not work at an event, and in those instances cash becomes king.
- Speaking of eating, eat on the way there. If you go in starving, you will end up at the very first set of booths you come across. Instead, you should eat something on the way knowing that you will be having more in the event.
- You most likely will encounter a port-a-potty throughout the day, mud or dirt on your clothing or gear, and probably worse, especially if the festival is entirely outdoors. Know this, plan for this, and just throw everything in the wash when you get home.
Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, you’re ready for the must-haves for your fall festival or concert. This list is just a guide and intended to help you as you pack for your event, but please please please remember to refer to point #1 on our planning list and check your specific event details.
Fall festival must-haves
- Ground cover. Mud, wet grass, spilled beer, and worse have all happened at every single outdoor festival. Protect yourself and your gear by bringing a small, waterproof ground cover to set your stuff on. If it’s going to get cold at night, consider a thicker outdoor blanket to sit on that provides a little bit of warmth as well as a clean spot to sit. This outdoor blanket from Titan is perfect for warmth and protection, and doesn’t weigh a ton.
- Indestructible water bottle. Most festivals don’t allow you to bring in your own liquids, but they do allow sealed single use water bottles, or you can bring your own reusable bottle that you can fill up inside at one of the water filling stations. Extra points if the water bottle can clip or be attached by caribiner to your tote.
- Water flavoring. It’s been my experience that festival water isn’t the best tasting, so we always bring water drops or powders to add to flavor our water if necessary.
- Down blanket for indoor and outdoor use. I love my indoor/outdoor down blanket. Packable, cozy, and perfect for after the sun goes down when you want to snuggle up.
- Low beach chair. Most outdoor concerts let you bring chairs but have restrictions on seat heights, so be sure to choose a low beach chair to bring. Costco has these low slung chairs starting in early spring, or you can sometimes find them at discount stores. If all else fails, amazon.com has low beach chairs year-round.
- Carry-all or tote. You will need something to put all of your gear and souvenirs, so choose a tote with a little extra room just in case you snag that concert-exclusive poster or festival tee.
- Sun protection. All day outdoor events mean that you are at the mercy of mother nature. Pack a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to avoid getting burned during the day before the sun goes down.
- Warm layers. A tank top, short sleeve, and then a hoodie or coat is perfect for our PNW weather, but layering is *always* a good idea.
- Sundots. My new secret weapon in sun protection is Sundots, and I make sure I take them daily to combat everyday harmful UV radiation. We all know that sun exposure can be harmful to our skin and sunscreen sometimes just isn’t enough, especially during all day events such as fall festivals. That’s where Sundots comes in.
- Power on the go. Roaming cell phones, high camera use, and browsing the internet to pass time are all horrible for your smartphone battery. Make sure you pack a portable battery like this MyCharge charger to make sure you’re covered from opening act until encore.
- Keychain flashlight. If you’re hunting for something in your tote or you drop something during the show, you’re going to need a small source of light to illuminate the darkness. I make sure I have a small keychain flashlight for any emergencies, and I really appreciate it on the way back to my vehicle.
- Earplugs. Even outdoor events can get loud, especially if you are in the reserved seats up front. Pack your earplugs just in case and make sure you protect your hearing for future concerts.
- Paper Soap Sheets. Remember that thing about the port-a-potty? Plan accordingly and bring paper soap sheets to wash your hands. Because, trust me, the soap at the port-a-sinks *will* be empty by the end of the day.