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What to Pack: ACL Music Festival

October 1, 2014

This is my first time going to a music festival and I chose ACL to Christen me.  You guys know I am a planner so of course I reached out to a seasoned ACL goer & long time Austinite, Danielle Plecash, to get her advice on what to bring/pack/wear to make the 3 days enjoyable and as comfortable as possible.  Below is the BEST guide you will find on the web (believe me, I looked).


Camelback filled with ice- you fill it up with water at the festival, filtered water.  They won't allow unsealed bottled water in the festival. If you don't have a camelback, bring a backpack for your stuff and an empty water bottle. I said backpack, not cross body. No leather allowed. :)

Toilet paper

Hand sanitizer


Small tube of sunscreen (they don't allow aerosols)

Back up battery or charger for your phone - cell service isn't great (too many iPhones in one place bogs down the network) so your phone will be searching a lot for a signal. Set it to airplane mode when not in use, turn off your LTE, wifi and bluetooth to save on battery life too.

Koozie or money to buy one at the festival

Festival map you'll get at the gate- good to use this instead of your phone so you will save on battery life

Cash or add your credit card to your wristband

ID/Drivers License

Sandwich baggie/ziplock - to put your phone in during a rainstorm

Ear plugs - sometimes it gets too loud and you need a break

Snacks - a granola bar and some candy will suffice. You'll probably have one meal a day from the festival food park. We always make some handy pretzel necklaces to wear.

Poncho - this is essential as it is super compact and will cover you and your bag in a rainstorm. You can also use it as a waterproof blanket if the ground is wet or muddy.

Blanket- one blanket for two people is good. Make it one that can be left behind if it gets too muddy or wet.

If rain is in the forecast then I recommend bringing a compact umbrella. Golf umbrellas are rude if you're up close to the stage.

Glowsticks - for the dubstep duh!

Advil/Aleve for comfort

Playing Cards for entertainment


Sunglasses - not super expensive ones but not ones that won't give you raccoon eyes either

Hat- cowboy hat, fedora...whatever will keep the sun off your part.

Wear loose clothing like shorts and a T, or sundresses, the less the better. Sundress comes in handy for the port-a-potties. Bring a long sleeve shirt to layer when the sun goes down.

Shoes - flip-flops, old Toms, chacos...all these will work well. You'll be standing more than walking so take that into consideration. Definitely no leather boots or heels; they'll get trashed and aren't easy to take off to dance in the grass like the sandals are. Wellies for rain are good too.

Cotton undergarments -you should know about this one already so I won't give you a reason why.


Folding chairs - Unless we camp at one stage the entire day, bringing a folding chair isn't worth the hassle. They're heavy and you end up not using it enough to justify the haul.

Camera - use your phone for pictures, the camera will be added weight to lug around all day.


Sandwiches or other large food items - they will be confiscated at the gate

Your entire wallet - just bring some cash and a couple cards or no cards. You won't be needing your VIB card at the festival so just leave it.


Make a tentative schedule with friends and set a meeting spot and time when you get split up.  You will most definitely get split up so don't think it won't happen. Remember, your phone won't work well so texts may not go through in time to sync up.

You will get lost when you leave the group at night, especially if you're close to the stage. Take a mental picture before you leave and use nearby flags, lights, and stage distance to orient yourself. Use the meet up spot as a contingency plan if you can't find your way back.

Someone will inevitably step on your blanket, most likely more than once. You just have to deal with it.

Don't put anything on the ground that you would care if someone steps on, or spills their drink on it.

Drunk and high people dance. A lot and badly.

You will miss a band you really wanted to see.

Some bands aren't good live, or the sound is messed up, or you want to get close but can't. There will be disappointments.

Give yourself at least an hour (two is better) to get to the festival and the stage of your first band for the day. I almost always miss my first band of the day because we either take too long to get there, get distracted on the way, or can't find the stage once we enter the festival grounds.

Learn to be okay with using a port-a-potty. The ones farthest away from the big stages are the cleanest (IE, near Austin Ventures stage or by the festival gates. The worst ones are next to the food tents and next to the big stages.

When walking through the crowd to get out of it, don't walk through the chair maze. You will get stuck. Walking away from the stage, then to the left or right is usually better than going straight to the side.

The TX vs OU game is Saturday at 11am. They will play it at the pavillion/beer garden as well as other pertinent games of the weekend. It's sometimes fun to take a break from music and cheer with strangers.

At the end of the day you will be sweaty, dirty and tired. It gets worse everyday you're there so stay hydrated before and after the festival, and keep a positive attitude because we all feel the same shitty way.

I hope this helped, and happy festival-ing!!



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