Packing for a music festival is much more than packing for a traditional vacay. Festivals can range anywhere from one day to an entire week, and preparation for the big kid multi-concert event can be daunting.

No matter what you want to bring, you have to ask yourself this very important question: “What are you willing to lose?”

You are certainly bound to sweat. A lot. You’ll find yourself  jumping up and down at the thrill of the first chord of your favorite song, you’ll likely be faced with the extreme weather (whatever it may be), and you’ll probably run into a great deal of people you don’t know (who might have no problem stealing).

Listed below is a list of things that will make your music festival experience awesome and stress free.

Have an appropriate alcohol to water ratio.

You don’t want to pass out on your own accord, and dehydration will do it to you. Keep things balanced to make sure you don’t make the biggest concert faux pas.

Bring sun tan lotion.

That little voice that sounds like your mom that tells you apply and reapply skin-protecting sunscreen? Listen to it.  Not only will using  sunscreen shield you from harmful rays, but it will also prevent you from looking like a lobster, or worse, tan mom. Plus, you’ll save lots of money by not having to buy soothing Aloe Vera.

Don’t wear flip flops.

Unless you want to get stomped in a mosh pit.

Inviting friends is cool but no more than two.

This is a matter of personal taste. But, if you are camping for a week with two friends who bring their boyfriend or girlfriend, each person you invite after that increases the number exponentially. So it can go from 5 or 6, to 10, to 12… well you get the idea. You do not want to end up constantly looking for one another or having conflicting ideas on what stage to hit next.

Bring a flashlight.

You’ll need it when making your way to the porta potty or your camp site.

Keep makeup minimal.

Keep it simple with some Burt’s Bees lip balm and maybe some fun eye shadow stickers. Remember, you will sweat it off, so mascara or tons of foundation is only going to make you look like a sad clown.

Don’t sleep in your car.

You can’t store food or toiletries in your car for the same reason you don’t want to store your sleeping body:  you may actually melt.  The cold hard ground and a good night’s sleep will make the money and time you spent setting up the tent well worth it.

Only plan the MUST-SEE bands.

Don’t under plan but don’t over plan either. Come to terms with your must-see bands and go with the flow from there. Some of the best bands that you will see you don’t even know about yet.

Your keys should be secure.

It’s easy to lose keys in your apartment, let alone a music festival. I suggest you invest in a secure key holder that has a magnetic strip so that you can store it on your car’s undercarriage.

Keep your smart phone out of it.

You might have to fight your knee jerk reaction of taking your smart phone, tablet, or fancy camera. How in the world are you going to update your friends about your amazing experience? Or write a thought provoking review on collective effervescence at music festivals? Or take pics of you and your super awesome posse?

Just kick it old school and update the rest of your electronic followers on a rainy Monday evening a week from now. Write down all your article and story ideas in a notebook with a pen or pencil.

As for the pictures? Buy a couple of disposable waterproof Kodak cameras. Not only will no one steal them, but you won’t have to worry about having that embarrassing drunken picture blasted for the whole world to see, or accidentally ruining your $200+ smart phone.

There you have it. Whether you are headed to Warp Tour or Lollapalooza be sure to use this as your guide and tell them Obsessed magazine sent you.

Find a music festival near you!