Astral Harvest Music & Arts Festival

Pack Like a Pro: Festival Preparation Guide

Posted by Astral Harvest on 13 May 2018

In a perfect world, every festival would have a net-zero energy consumption, a solar and wind-powered resort on-site with catered, organic local food, and king-sized beds with private en-suite bathrooms...

In the imperfectly REAL festival camping world, us attendees need to take care of ourselves, and are presented the opportunity to craft our own “Five Star” hospitality experience out in the wind-swept prairie, or lush pine tundra, or whatever remote location our adventures in music, dance, and connection take us to. In order to get the most out of the festival experience, it’s important to plan and pack accordingly.

First, do yourself the biggest favour of all: read the Astral Harvest – Camping Checklist. And no, I don’t mean skim it the  morning you’re supposed to leave... Click that link NOW, and start building your “festival pile” somewhere in your space. Initially, this may seem like a hassle, but you’ll find that it will pay off to have a general idea of what you can expect to pack ahead of time. Take care of your sleeping and eating needs first, and you will be free to ride on the excitement of your journey when the time comes to leave.

The name of the game is preparation, so do what everybody says they’re going to do this year, and start early with your festival packing. Even if you’re not the organised type, at least start yourself a “festival pile” in your closet, basement, or garage. There’s quite a bit of stuff you can incorporate into a fully embellished celebratory weekend, so it may take some time to collect it all.

“So, what should I bring?” I hear you saying. Well, I’m glad you asked! Everyone loves a list, am I right?


The Big Ones

  • Your ticket. For the love of Yeasus, bring your ticket. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay door price.

  • Government issued ID. You may need to present it upon entry, but put it somewhere safe after that. Don’t keep it in your bikini waistband or anything.

  • A party partner.  Experience the festival with a friend and have each other’s back. Check in regularly with your friend and take care of one another. Camping with your friends is a great idea so you can keep track of each other, share meals and supplies, and have fun!

  • A place to sleep. The first thing you want to do when you arrive at a festival is set up your camp. You will thank yourself for taking the time to “cozy-up” your space and to be able to come “home” to a well-equipped nest. Even a pup tent is better than nothing – comfortable, personal hideaways are absolutely crucial for rest after a long night of dancing.

  • Food (with a cooler, silly!) The food vendors are not open 24 hours a day, so you will need healthy sustenance of your own at least a few times over the weekend. Try to branch out beyond trail mix and canned ravioli... blasts of fresh fruit or vegetables can do wonders to keep you on point.

  • Water. There are H20 stations at Astral Harvest where you can always access clean drinking water. So, bring a water bottle (for your backpack) and jug (to keep at your camp) so you can keep it nearby at all times. Gatorade or electrolyte-type drinks can also be very quenching from time to time. Dehydration is the #1 cause of party-related emergencies, so be sure to fill up your vessels on the regular. Water will keep your mind and body crisp and fresh - exactly how you want to feel in the summer.

  • Flashlight/Headlamp. A backpack must. Even though the festival is LIT, your walk to and from camp might not be. A headlamp can be handy when you need to find your way back to your tent or to help you find your sandwich in the dark. Plus, unlike your phone, if you lose it, you won’t be that sad, and you don’t have charge it. Speaking of phones, keep yours somewhere safe where you know you’d be able to find it if you need it. You may also want to use it when it comes time to leave the grounds, so save your battery.


Still Really Quite Relevant Items

  • Layers of clothes – for all weather. Hot, cold, rainy, and sunny, you should pack to ensure that you stay warm and dry. Rubber boots, an umbrella, and a warm (rain) jacket could save you from having to hide out at your camp if some storm clouds blow over.

  • On the flip side, as fun as it is to erect a shade structure while wearing a mankini, it will really put a damper on your weekend when that “bungee cord” wraps around your thigh and lacerates your skin. You will need to do practical things as well as hilarious things, so be sure that for every four or five (or ten) pieces of colourful, ridiculous costume pieces, you pack at least one piece of warm and\or protective, useful clothing. Bonus points if it’s ridiculous AND useful!
  • Ear plugs. Protect your hearing and get some sleep. Look into purchasing some noise-canceling ear plugs to wear while you’re dancing right in front of the speakers. We all know how nice it is to feel the bass, but it’s equally nice to be able to hear when you’re 80. It’s easier to get some rest when you can tune out for a while.

  • Cash. Bills and coins. The gate only accepts cash, so if you plan of buying your ticket upon arrival, be sure to come with enough in cash in hand. There will be ATMs on site, but they do tend to run out and they take a while to reload... so don’t depend solely on those! Showers and bags of ice for your cooler cost loonies and twonies, and food, clothing, and art vendors take cash only (for the most part). It’s smart to arrive at the festival with a comfortable cash cushion.


A Few More Useful Things

  • Utility belts > purses. They never fall off, you can’t forget them, and you look like a badass.

  • Sunglasses and sun hats make you look cool (finally) while keeping you out of First Aid for sun stroke.

  • Garbage & Recycling bags - don’t pull a Glastonbury and leave your couch, tent, and kitchen sink behind when you leave! Clean up your camp and leave no trace.

  • Extra tarp. For rain AND sun protection.

  • Sewing kit - emergency costume repairs are a critical party skill. Never look less than your best.

  • Personal care - everywhere. Sunscreen, Gatorade, toothbrush, soap, and wet wipes... Contacts, glasses, feminine hygiene, condoms, bug spray, and make up – anything you need in order to feel comfortable, safe, and cared for should be a priority.

The Fun Stuff

  • If its playful, colourful, spontaneous, or crazy, this is the time to throw it in a tickle trunk and lug it out for the festival world to see.
  • Like jamming around a campfire? Bring a guitar or some hand drums! Like to document your crew’s epic adventures? Bring a camera! Love to make people giggle with glee? Bring a spray bottle with essential oils for the hot days! Got mad prop skills? Bring those circus toys! Now is the time to express yourself.
  • Remember, consent is key. If you want to take someone’s photo, or mist them with your essential oil spray, get their permission first! Keep the peace and respect each other’s personal space.


Don’t Bring This Stuff. Seriously.

  • Though it may be a marvel, the festival experience is not a free for all. Here are some things NOT to pack in those party suitcases.
  • Animals. Any vehicles with animals, besides Guide-Dogs with proper paperwork, will be turned around at the gate. While an electronic music festival might be a wonderful, exciting environment for you, it is not for pets. Call on a friend or relative to properly care for Fluffy or Mittens or Arachnid Andy during your festival stay. It’s in the best interest of everyone, incluing your pets, to leave them in the comfort of their own home.

  • Glass containers. Glass things break. When glass breaks, it cuts things. Broken glass can cut your feet, your bike tires, your sick new kicks, or even the adorable creatures who call the festival land home for 300 days of the year. NO GLASS is permitted on festival grounds and it will be confescated if found.

  • Motorized ATVs etc. We get it, you need your car to get here, so no worries on that. Just don’t think you’re allowed to bring anything ELSE motorized. Pedal bikes are the best way to get around a festival. If you do bring a bike, ride with care!

  • Fireworks. Explosions and parties are rarely friends. Please leave the light show to the professionals.

  • Weapons. Do I really need to explain this one?

  • Illegal drugs or substances. Festival producers never condone the consumption of illegal substances, for intoxication or otherwise. Don’t be foolish.

  • Bad vibes, bro. You don’t have to be 100% gleeful the entire weekend, but try to leave your aggression or frustrations at home. We’re all trying to celebrate here, and the dancefloor isn’t the place to enact your MMA fantasies. If you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to visit the Sanctuary. Keep the peace on festival grounds and be kind to others. You never know, you could meet your next BFF!

  • Valuable things. I’m talking family heirlooms or expensive laptop computers here. The elements and weather conditions can be unpredictable, so it just isn’t worth it to bring your Grandma Sally’s prized wicker rocking chair to sit in all day. It’s going to get wet and possibly damaged, and Grandma Sally wouldn’t want that, would she? You are responsible for the well-being of the items you bring. Don’t count on others to understand that.


All in all team, you can save yourselves the stress of speed-packing and potentially forgetting essential items by starting to gather your “festival pile” today.

However you want to do it, get your party pants packed to have the best weekend of your life!


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