You bought your first California music festival ticket months ago, thinking how far away it was, and now it’s finally here. Now you’re wondering, what on earth do I pack for 3 days of desert heat?  

We’ve got you covered. As an avid music-festival-goer, I can be your guide to your first music festival experience.

Let me start by saying I have mainly been to California festivals. Coachella, Splash House, Hard Summer, CRSSD; you name it.  

Click here to listen to my Ultimate Coachella 2017 playlist! You can also listen below.

California is the pinnacle of music events: we’ve got every type of music event imaginable.  Hitting all of the major festivals across the country (Lollapalooza, Electric Forest, etc.) is high on my musical bucket list.

One of the best parts of going to a California music festival is picking out the clothes you will wear for the weekend.

I cannot forget to mention that I am not one of those girls who values fashion over comfort. You best believe I’ll be dancing my a** off all day and night, so my shoes better be along for the ride.

Don’t get me wrong: my outfits are cute, but I will pick shorts and a cute top over a maxi dress any festival.  I will always go with the comfy choice that lets me dance all day long.

If you came to this post with outfits in mind that involve heeled-anything, I beg of you to rethink that choice.

You don’t want your day ruined because you are no longer able to walk come 6 PM.  And music festivals involve A LOT of walking, not to mention gettin’ down with your bad self.

Music festival season is typically in the spring and summer, so you will have hot weather for most festivals. It is blazing during the day.  Very cold at night. 

Some years in the desert will have harsh winds at night (RIP 2016 Easy-Ups).  You will be fine if you come prepared with clothes for both climates.  

Do some Weather Channel hunting as you’re packing so that you are extra prepared.  Remember, it’s always better to be safe than cold.



*Only applicable to you if you are camping at the festival

California Music Festival Packing List and Coachella Infographic

Some of the most important essentials:

  • Body wipes (I cannot stress this enough)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Some way to keep yourself cool (hand-held fans, etc.)
  • Comfortable shoes (Pro tip: Converse or Vans. Your feet will stay clean)
  • Shower shoes
  • Portable phone charger
  • Small generator – girls can plug in hot hair tools and everyone can charge their phones
  • Jumper cables – in case your car dies
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent and camping sleeping essentials (unless you are lucky enough to sleep in your car’s trunk bed)
  • Games (Cornhole, cards, etc.)
  • Earplugs (some festivals like Coachella will provide these in your ticket packet)
  • Small hand-held mirror – if you bring a big one they will take it (because it’s glass)




Now that we have our camping checklist, I strongly believe that camping is the way to go, if you have that option.  

You won’t have to deal with thousands of people trying to a Uber/Lyft at the same time as you are.  

You can go back to your campsite to eat if you brought a bunch of food, or if you just want to save money on food and drinks. Enough said.

If there are showers (but let’s be real here no one really showers that often), get there 10-20 minutes before it opens in the morning (usually 7 am).

It will be worth it: being cold for 20 minutes beats waiting in line for hours. Not to mention you’ll beat the blazing sun if you’re up early.

Alternatively, buy this camping solar shower. You can also just buy two large jugs of water and dump them on your head. We don’t judge.

If you are able to go with a big group, caravan your cars to get a good camp spot.  Get there early on the day the camping lots open.

Expect to get woken up early by the sun. You and your group will be up bright and early, so put some great music on and slowly start to get ready for the day.

Play some games while you get hyped up and excited for the festival. Often times, hanging out with your group and playing games/drinking is one of the best parts!

Music festivals are very dusty places, so having a handkerchief for your mouth is key. It will save your lungs.

Bring an empty water bottle in and just keep refilling it.  Festival security won’t let you bring in Camelbaks or full water bottles.  This helps you save a few bucks, but hey, those add up!

A lot of festivals will have really yummy food options (spicy pie, anyone?!), so be sure and check those out as well.




If you’re looking for a great festival to go to that’s a bit smaller, I would recommend starting with CRSSD Festival. Now, I am a little biased because I live here in San Diego. But, the sunset going down right next to you on the San Diego harbor is absolutely unbeatable.

It is a smaller festival, so you won’t feel overwhelmed with the crowds or feel like you can’t dance around at each stage (very important in my book).

Another super fun fest is Electric Forest.  Now, while I haven’t been yet, I have close friends who have gone the last couple of years.

Whichever festival you choose to go to, you will have a great time. These events are what you make of it!

Comment below any questions you have any other tips for music festival-goers!