Spending all day at a music festival is a skill. And like any skill, you can be good at it or, well… not.
I, for example, went to my first Bunbury wearing jeans in 90-degree heat. I brought only my phone and my wallet, and spent a disproportionate amount of time near the bubbler. Yes, the day was still great—at times relaxing, at times exhilarating, at times downright joyful. But oh, what it could have been if only I had come with (ahem) the following:
1. A PLAN
Before you leave your house, print out a daily lineup and a festival map. Then get a watch—not a smart watch, but a regular freakin’ watch—and do your festival navigating as they used to in the days of yore.
Alternatively, get the excellent Bunbury app, because it can do everything...View a festival map. Curate a lineup. Find food vendors. Check out who’s playing next. Everything.
Why the two options? Because, to me, the second one (the high-tech one) has a pretty fatal drawback. I'm talking about the phone experience itself—the draining charge, the glare of the sun, the reliance on something external to you as opposed to your own wits and guile. But perhaps I’m just a Luddite. In any event, the key is to plan ahead.
2. A BAG
You should be thinking… one strap. That, because two-strap backpacks trap heat, and on a warm day that’s the last thing you want. Even worse are drawstring bags. Sure they might be great at first, but 10+ hours with drawstrings cutting into your shoulders is the stuff of nightmares. Instead, consider the ever-reliable fanny pack. Or if you want something a bit larger (such as will fit your water, etc) a medium-sized sling bag.
3. A BOTTLE
Speaking of water, you're gonna need something to carry it around. Get a Camelback if you care about heft, a Swell if you care about coldness. But don’t be overly ambitious in either case. You don’t need your entire day’s water consumption all at once. The goal is to reduce the frequency of your bubbler trips, not to eliminate them. In that sense, you might just buy a bottled water outside the gates, drain it, and use it the rest of the day.
4. A PONCHO: You can’t bring umbrellas into the festival, so if it rains (and the forecast says it might) a poncho is the only way to go.
5. SUNSCREEN: Neither can you bring in aerosolized sprays, so the bottle-sized liquid is what you’ll need. And you will need it, because radiation damage is cumulative. (The more you knowwwww…)
6. MOIST TOWELETTES: Because it can be hot, and sticky, and sometimes you just need a shower. But you don’t have a shower, so these are the next best thing. Sneaky MVP of this list.
7. EAR PLUGS: People recommend these. I don’t really understand why. Conceivably a crowd current could deposit you right next to a speaker, in which case you'd need these suckers to avoid permanent deafness. So… better safe than sorry?
8. EXTERNAL BATTERY (FOR YOUR PHONE): Too heavy to bring if you don’t need it. Obviously indispensable if you do.
9. BLISTER BANDAGES: Sandals area always risky due to the lack of structural support, the intrusion of dirt and mud, and the likelihood of getting stepped on at some point during the day. So you'll probably wear shoes then, in which case you should invest in some blister bandages. Just…because.
Bunbury Festival will be held June 1-3 at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove.