Some must-have essentials for your festival rucksack
Festival season is just around the corner, and with it comes those late nights stumbling to find your tent, mini barbecues that burn the life out of sausages yet somehow manage to undercook them and of course those impromptu sing-alongs with your new best mate “Kryll” who you’ll never see again and keeps asking for one of your burgers. It’s all fun and games, and we know you’re as excited as we are to watch your favourite bands, discover new ones and make awesome memories that you’ll carry with you forever.
Ahead of festival season, you’ve no doubt packed all the essentials such as your tent, rain coat and wellies, but there’s a few items you’ll definitely need to make it a memorable experience. So, we’ve put together a top 5 list of festival season essentials that can easily be thrown in your rucksack or the back of your camper van to make your festival season that much better.
1. Speakers/Mini Amplifiers
The party doesn’t stop when the bands stop playing, in fact for a lot of festival goers, the party is just getting started! When your phone speakers aren’t really cutting it around the campfire, you’ll need something that can pump out your tunes loud enough to keep the party going, but won’t disturb the other campers too much (unless you really want to!) so a small set of speakers, or a mini amp will do the job nicely. You need something easily transportable, with a good battery life and something with either Bluetooth connectivity or that can be connected via an aux cable.
One option comes in the form of the very powerful Blackstar Fly 3 Amplifier. Not only is it an awesome guitar amp with 3 watts of power pulsing through a 3-inch speaker and a range of effects, but it’s also a really cool MP3 player that you can hook up to your phone or iPod. Take it to festivals to play your music through, or if you’re an artist who wants an easy to use warm up amp before your slot.
2. Smaller Scale Guitar
You don’t want to have to carry around a full-size guitar with you through festival mud. You need something that can be thrown over your shoulder, and potentially something you don’t mind getting mud on whilst you’re passing it around the camp site. The Redwood F-5 Travel acoustic guitar is a great option – a smaller sized guitar that is constructed with a beautiful sapele body. It comes in an open-pore natural finish with hardwood neck and fingerboard that make it a dream to play. Although this is a low-cost guitar, it’s certainly no toy. Whether you’re a professional musician who wants something to warm up with backstage or just something to jam with on your festival travels, the Redwood F-5 is a good option.
There’s also the Taylor GS-Mini range for when you need a big sound out of a smaller sized guitar – and to keep your hard-working roadies from carrying too much. Follow the link to see a full range of festival-friendly guitars.
Who doesn’t love a ukulele at a festival?! This small and vastly underrated instrument is a great party starter, and above all very easy to carry around with you. Whether you just want to learn a few chords and bust out some Wonderwall or want to be able to jam with randoms, the ukulele is a great little instrument to have with you, especially in your tent. Ukulele’s are lightweight, and relatively low cost depending on what model you choose and is fairly easy to learn if you already play guitar.
You can go for the ultimate rock option with the Epiphone Les Paul ukulele, or an extremely budget friendly Redwood option, both of which come with a gig bag to keep it safe. Check out the full range including the very cool Flying V option here.
If you’re a percussionist and can’t be bothered dragging a snare and kick through the trenches at Glastonbury, the Cajon is a great option. It’s essentially a full drum kit in a box, so you’re covered when that guy playing the ukulele and the girl on the guitar start playing some songs and also doubles as a seat for when you’ve been stood up all day waiting for Guns N’ Roses to play their slot (chances are they’ll be late, trust me on this). You can get a wide range of percussive sounds out of a Cajon, and they’re used by professional musicians everywhere, especially when they need some percussion for an acoustic set or low-key television appearance.
Meinl make very budget friendly options, that will last through many festival seasons or a lifetime in the studio, but honourable mention has to go to the electric Cajon from Roland. The Roland EC-10 has 30 built-in electronic kits and up to 12 hours battery life with six AA batteries. View the range of festival percussion essentials here – including cowbell, because everyone needs more cowbell in their life.
If you’re a lover of live music, playing gigs or sleeping soundly, earplugs are a necessity and a great choice at a festival, especially if you’re a fan of your hearing. Excessive exposure to noise levels above 85dB, around the same volume as a blow-dryer or kitchen blender, for extended periods of time can be damaging, and considering festivals or rock bands play at around 120-129 dB, you’re risking serious and irreversible damage to your hearing if you don’t take a break from time to time. To help fight off the effects of tinnitus, or lack of sleep due to a snoring tent partner, you need a good set of earplugs that will allow you to enjoy the music and filter out the damaging frequencies without taking away from your festival experience.
The Fender Touring Series Ear Plugs offer a 12dB noise reduction rating (NPR) and are extremely comfortable to wear at all times. Not only do they filter out the harsher elements without sacrificing sound quality, but they’re built to last years of wear. Take them to gigs, festivals and band practice. You’ll notice the difference that these attenuating earplugs offer as the ringing in your ears will be a lot less than you might be used to after a gig, and chances are you’ll never go to a festival without them again. Check out a full range of great accessories for festivals here.
So, there you have it – festival essentials you should definitely consider before you make that muddy trek.
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.