So you’ve finally taken the plunge and purchased your first music festival ticket, or you’re planning to hit up your first rave soon - congrats! You’re going to have the time of your life and an unforgettable experience no matter what, but you’re probably wondering what exactly you need to bring to this thing. After all, hitting a rave or festival requires a little more planning than attending a three-hour concert at your local arena. There are a few essential items you’ll definitely want to make sure you bring, plus some fun stuff that you can add in to make your experience even better. Take it from the long-time raver girls and guys before you: these items will make your experience even better and more comfortable.
Whether you’re hitting a week-long festival or just headed out for an awesome night, you’ll want to make sure to bring these ten rave essentials with you. They’ll not only make your experience more pleasant, but many of them will also keep you healthy.
Hydration pack: Dehydration is no joke, so whether you’re dancing your face off at night or during the day, make sure you’ve got a hydration backpack. It’s going to be hot at festivals and raves this summer, and water bottles are notoriously overpriced at festivals. Besides, you’re definitely not going to want to miss a minute of your favorite act’s set, so why not just make sure you have access to water 24/7? Plus, that’s one less thing to carry around.
Fanny pack: Of course, you need a place to keep your essentials like your phone and credit cards, but the last thing you want to be worrying about is keeping track of your purse or spending the whole night holding a clutch. Grab yourself a cute, stylish fanny pack and keep your hands free.
Waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen: Most festivals and raves are held during the summer, so whether you’re staying out until sunrise or spending all day and night at a festival, waterproof and sweatproof sunscreen is a must-have. There’s nothing that will make your experience miserable (and your rave look less cute) faster than a bad sunburn, so make sure to choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that is sweat-proof or designed for athletes. With all that dancing, you’ll want something that sticks to your skin no matter what.
Rave mask: Thousands of people dancing up a storm might sound pretty fun, but it’s a lot less fun when all that dust and debris starts flying into your lungs. Wear a rave mask and protect your airways so you won’t spend your days post-rave coughing up gunk. Besides, in this crazy pandemic era, it’s probably not a bad idea for plenty of other reasons. Rave masks don’t have to be ugly to be functional, either - you can find a ton of cute options from sites like iHeartRaves, or make your own!
Hand sanitizer: Another essential item that isn’t exactly sexy, hand sanitizer is a must-have when you’re in a huge group of people in close contact because germs and disease spread easily. No one wants another few months of self-quarantine, so you can’t be too careful about keeping yourself from getting sick. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it often!
Portable charger: You’re going to be blowing up Insta with all the incredible pics and videos you’re about to take and post, so why not be prepared for the inevitable moment when your cell phone starts to die a slow death? Don’t miss an Instagrammable moment because of a dead phone battery - bring a portable charger (or two) with you.
Sunglasses: Sunglasses are another must-have item, but that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. The sun’s rays are especially strong in the summer, and spending all day at a festival without protection is a bad idea for your baby blues. Even if you’re planning to hit the rave scene at night only, sunglasses still might not be a bad idea if you have sensitive eyes, because the lasers, strobe lights, and visual effects can be pretty intense. There are plenty of stylish options that will blend seamlessly into your rave look.
Poncho: Ponchos are one of those awesome multi-purpose items that are worth their weight in gold come festival season. You’re sure to get caught in the rain once or twice during the summer festival season, and ponchos will not only keep you and your stuff dry, they’ll also provide a perfect dry spot to sit down when you need to chill for a second.
Wet wipes: The sad reality is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find festival grounds or rave with indoor plumbing, so you might as well prepare for the inevitable and get ready to use a porta-potty. It’s going to be gross, so come prepared with a travel-sized pack of baby wipes, since they fit perfectly into the above-mentioned fanny pack and don’t take up too much space.
Cooling Towels: Whether you’re partying all day or dancing all night, you’re going to get hot at raves this summer, so it’s time to embrace it. It’s important to stay cool and well-hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke, so come prepared with a cooling towel. All you do is soak them in water, spin them around, and then wrap them around a part of your body that needs to cool off, like your face or neck. They last hours and it will make your life so much better on those hot days and steamy nights.
The Fun Stuff
Now that we’ve covered all the mission-critical essentials, it’s time to have some fun. A huge part of the festival experience is getting dressed up and going wild with your style. If you’re not sure where to start in putting together your rave look, we can help.
1. Kandi: Your first foray into rave culture doesn’t have to be overwhelming - kandi is a great place to start! These cute beaded bracelets are made ahead of time and let you express yourself, so make sure to make plenty to trade and give away! It’s a great souvenir to bring home and remember all your new rave buds by.
Learn how to make your own 3D kandi cuff here
2. Neon: There’s no such thing as too much neon at a rave or festival, so don’t be shy! UV-reactive and glow in the dark options are awesome, too, especially for nighttime events. We’re not just talking about clothing or glow sticks either - you can find some sick neon eyeliner that will really make your eyes stand out, too.
3. Glitter: Pretty much everyone will be rocking glitter in some form or fashion no matter which rave or festival you hit up, so make sure to add cosmetic-grade glitter to your list! This isn’t the time to be messing around with whatever you’ve got in your mom’s craft closet - go for the good stuff. You can use glitter glue to apply it, or try vaseline or aloe in a pinch.
4. Gems and jewels: Glitter’s funky cousin is face and body gems and jewels. These self-adhesive pieces are sweatproof and guaranteed to stick to your skin. If you’re not sure where to apply them or how to start, try lining the crescent shape around the outer edge of your eye and upper cheekbone.
5. Comfortable shoes: Ok, a comfortable pair of shoes might not sound like the most fun thing out there, but we promise, the rave guys and girls before you have got this part covered. While this is definitely not the time to break out your stilettos, combat boots, platform boots and sneakers, and other comfy options are stylish while still keeping your feet in one piece while you dance all night. Depending on where you’re headed to party, you’ll probably want to choose close-toed shoes, though - not only will they protect your feet from getting trampled by the dance maniacs around you, they’ll also keep all that grimy festival dust off your feet.
6. Fake eyelashes: There’s pretty much nothing that amps up your look faster with less effort than fake eyelashes, so why not give them a try for your next rave? You can purchase anything from glitter lashes to gemstones and everything in between, and you’ll be taking your look to the next level in a snap.
7. Breathable clothing: Breathable clothing might not sound very fun, but wait until you see all the fun, fashionable, and functional gear you can get for your rave outfit. The key is to make sure you choose something that is breathable and will help wick the sweat and moisture away whether you’re dancing up a storm or stuck in one. Rave culture is all about being true to yourself and finding your style, so don’t feel like you have to dress like everyone else if you’re not comfortable doing so. Just because your friends are rocking a one-piece or bodysuit doesn’t mean you have to - you can wear a tank top or a t-shirt instead. The rave community will accept you for who you are no matter what you wear, but you might as well be comfortable and cool in whatever it is.
Head in the Clouds Long Sleeve Mesh Top (model: @kianas.gram)