There are two kinds of people that attend festivals — the under-prepared and the over-prepared.
The former try to stuff whatever it is they need for the day in their pants pockets so they are free to dance and move around without any excess baggage. However, they always end up having to either borrow stuff from their friends or spend money on things they could have brought from home.
The latter pack days before the festival, making sure they have a cooler filled with food, another bag with all the essentials, and then a bunch of other things they’ll never need. The upside: they’ll never forget to bring anything important. The downside: you have to lug everything around all day, and will need to sit down every half hour to regain your strength. Plus, you’ll probably hit other people when you pass by with your series of bags.
Remember — everything comes in travel size. And, if you could potentially fit a child in your bag, it’s not that practical.
Wear clothes that breathe. Put your ultra-skinny jeans or leather pants away for the outdoor music festivals. Yeah, they look cool at clubs, and your ass looks great in them, but it sure as hell won’t feel that way.
Some must-haves for the festival circuit:
Sunglasses. Or, Tylenol for your headaches if you forget the sunglasses.
Sunscreen. Yeah, you’ll look a little greasy and it’s annoying to re-apply, but at least you’ll be able to put your clothes on the next morning without yelping in pain.
Deodorant. If you’re not sweating at an outdoor music festival, then you’re not having a good time. So, please, bring deodorant. Think of your friends.
Condoms. Once it’s dark and the music is turned up, no one’s really paying attention anyway.
Mosquito repellant. Do it. Your partner would rather rub oil all over your body than calamine lotion. And Ottawa has West Nile Virus.
Self-Tanner. Okay, well this isn’t an essential, but if the festival is your first time outdoors since winter, you’ll look a little sickly. So do a little harmless pre-tanning!
Water. Lots of it. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated — you’ll be sluggish, and no one wants to miss their favourite band to take care of their friend with heatstroke. Westfest hands out free waterbottles onsite, so take advantage!
Food. While some people don’t like to carry around a lunch with them, make sure you pack at least a couple of small snacks to munch on — especially salty foods. You lose a lot of salt when you sweat, so pretzels, chips, or salted nuts are all good.
If you have room for it, pack a light sweater. And maybe even an umbrella. This is Ottawa. You never know what the weather will be like from hour to hour. And while it may be 40 degrees during the day, it gets cold at night.
Hand sanitizer. If you want to wash your hands, the lines to the washrooms are always half an hour long.
Bandaids. Because it’s embarrassing to go into the first aid tent.
Allergy medicine. For those who need it. Nothing ruins a romantic festival moment like someone sneezing in your face.
Disposable camera. Sure, it doesn’t take pictures like your $900 Canon does, but nothing will ruin your day quite like losing your expensive digi.
Cell phone. If you lose the group at a big festival, you probably won’t find them for awhile. Besides, this way you can see the bands and performances you actually want to see, and then meet up with your group later, instead of being forced to watch your friend’s girlfriend’s brother’s band play a set.
Photo: T-shirt – velvet men – $78; zip up vest – Splendid Mills – $150; board shorts – Penguin – $108; sunglasses – Marc Jacobs – $109; messenger bag – by Johnny Depp for Dean – $244 (all clothes and accessories from Trustfund); shoes – his own.