The Ultimate Festival Check-List

There are a few rites of passage of the Australian summer. You know that tan-friendly weather is just around the corner when the media starts voicing concern over Schoolies. Then there’s the first swim of summer, the family road trip up the coast, and finally – tragically – the begrudging return to work.

To prolong the summer goodness, your best bet is to dive head-first into the local festival circuit. This weekend saw Stereosonic kick thing off just in time for summer’s commencement, with the line-up reading like a list of the world’s most high-profile DJ’s: David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren and Zedd, to name but a few.

In the coming months, a series of other festivals – catering for just about all tastes and demographics – will be taking place around the country. But whether you’re headed to Big Day Out, Falls Fest, or Laneway, there are a few essentials that you’ll need, whatever your choice.


If you’ve ever been to a day-time festival in the Australia summer, chances are you’ve walked away with some tender, red skin as a souvenir. Spending hour upon hour lapping up the music, and the entire experience, of a good music festival can often distract punters, who then pay a price – peeling, sore, and red – in the days following. So make sure you slip, slop, slap! Pro tip: susceptible areas tend to include shoulders, torsos, necks, and knee backs (ouch!).


These days, organisers tend to charge for just about whatever they can, so be prepared to shell out for this basic necessity. Costs and access will vary from one festival to the next, but paying to maintain hydration is definitely always preferable to ending your experience prematurely as a sweating, puffing, fainting mess.


The internet is already packed with tips about festival fashion – it’s probably not worth trying to  add anything too profound in this area. But my tips are to be prepared for weather changes, and think about dressing to minimise sun exposure. Wear a hat, avoid high heels, and please remember that onesies are officially passé.festival-fashion


Given the thousands of people who descend on event complexes and parks for large-scale festivals, leaving your accommodation to the last minute is never a great idea. Next year, Future Music Festival will be occurring in March – not technically part of summer, but close enough to still fall within the bracket. Future will be touring the country. In order to maintain the summer illusion, attending in Brisbane, where the weather will still be joyously hot, is probably your best bet.

To make the most of what could be your last festival experience for a good few months, it’s a good idea to book a hotel in the Brisbane CBD in advance. It’ll allow you to enjoy the experience wholeheartedly without any pragmatic concerns on the day. You might even want to book into a Brisbane hotel for a whole week, and make a proper go of extending your summer for as long as possible. If you’re not particularly familiar with the city, the best place to start researching accommodation is probably Hotel Urban Brisbane.  Who knows? You might even end up staying on the same floor as Phoenix.


As with accommodation, it’s definitely a good idea to get in before the masses and decide how you’ll be getting to and from the event in advance. Check out public transport options, look at local taxi services, or think about calling in a favour from a mate and getting them to drop you off.

Prioritising acts

Once you’ve made it past the gate, your day and/or night will run much more smoothly if you’ve got a loose plan of what you’ll be doing with your day. Most festivals post set times online well in advance. Perusing who’s playing, and at what times, will allow you to maximise your efficiency, prioritising any key acts you just can’t miss, and factoring in time for legging it from one stage to the next. Think about allowing extra time prior to any must-see artists, so that you can (hopefully) obtain an incredible spot from which to witness their set.

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