As a veteran attendee of each Soundset festival, and countless other indoor and outdoor festivals and shows alike, I am here to provide you with guidance on your Soundset festival prep. I’ll cover three basic areas: footwear, clothing and supplies.
When it comes to policing fashion and personal expression/choice, I’m [mostly] not game. So if I mention specific styles or brands, it’s just because I’ve noticed what works and what doesn’t. Without delay, here we goOOOO!
Mud Forecast: partly to insanely muddy, with chances of straw!
The muddiness depends upon rainfall the night before and during the festival. On the plus side, the ever-experienced Rose Productions festival professionals will usually put down straw (and even plywood in some spots) to make the ground more sturdy. However, sometimes nothing can stop the mud monster. (Pro Tip: watch out for mud people.)
Recommended footwear: sandals that stay securely attached to your feets. A lot of people swear by Wellies (I tend to find them too cumbersome and sweaty for summertime flare). Closed-toed shoes are also an option – just don’t wear anything that you wouldn’t want completely ruined by the mud. It will happen. For the crunchy hippies among us, Vibram Five Fingers, which are those toe-shoes everyone thinks are cray, happen to be among the world’s best options for festival footwear (especially if you like the feel of mud betwixt yer toes). All choices aside, If you end up wearing socks, bring an extra pair! And please, no socks with sandals.
Do Not Wear:
- Flip-flops – They will break and/or get lost in the mud and crowd.
- Heels – I can’t even believe I have to say this. Just, no.
Sexy Forecast: Steamy with a chance of thunder thighs!
Sexiness is in the eye of the beholder. While this is an all-ages event (so we wanna keep it PG-rated), there’s a wide range of acceptable fashions. Some will stroll up looking fine and dapper, others opt for keeping it casual and some even bring the down-right provocative allure; are all within the limits.
Recommended bottoms: show off your legs! Shorts are the perfect basic for both the dudes and the ladies. A lot of festival goers (especially the dudes) swear by cargo shorts which may help you avoid being weighed down with a pack, as even a light drawstring pack can get cumbersome at times. The more feminine among us may opt for a skirt or dress (one that does not drag on the ground). If you wear a skirt/dress, it is also advisable to wear spandex or yoga shorts underneath, just to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. Word to the wise – shorts underneath dresses make running, sitting, bending over, and jumping all zero-fuss activities.
Recommended tops: whatever tickles your summer-fashion fancy. When sheer and lace tops hit mainstream fashion in 2010, I bowed down and worshiped the festival and fashions gods, alike. I was more than happy to give thanks for bestowing upon us the cure to too-boring/too-hot festival attire of years past. Sheers are the perfect festival garment because they allow breeze to cool you down while maintaining some level of modesty (as you conveniently wear a black bra, because boobs). That said, your favorite tee-shirt will also do just fine. As far as trends are concerned, this year has seen a diverse range of crop tops and bustiers making waves in festival crowds. For the fellas, bro tanks still seem to be a thing?
Recommended accessories: festival-friendly jewelry, a fannypack, a small crossover purse, or a light drawstring/backpack. Beyond those few recommendations, I shall again promote artistic freedom. Keeping it simple is always a good look, and will make it easier for you throughout the day/night. A minimalist necklace looks nice on anyone, and bangles or wristbands are also a complementary addition. Dudes – for your cargo shorts, yes, please wear a mf belt. Ladies – earrings are nice, however, “go big or go home” need not apply here.
Do Not Wear:
- Jeans – They will be too hot, drag on the ground or generate large rips in place of those popular pre-fashioned holes.
- Bathing Suits (sans additional clothing) – I mean, sometimes your swim suit looks like a halter top which, when paired with a skirt and a cute belt, can turn out pretty damn cute. But usually, the string-bikini-as-shirt is not a fashion statement you want to make. Trust, that shit will fly the hell off faster than PROF can yell, “JUMP!” Moral of the story: Valleyfair, this is not (albeit just a 2 min car ride away).
- Artist Tee Shirts – Hip hop heads, keep this simple rhyme in mind! “If the artist is playing the show, leave that swag at home, yo.” It’s just kind of the number one unspoken rule of seeing shows. (Complimentary artist tees, on the other hand, are a go!)
- Excessive Accessories – Extra long necklaces? Do you want to choke! Super-hoop earrings? Do you want lobe surgery! You get my point.
Hot or Not: it’s important to be prepared for whatever hip-hop throws at you. I’ve seen sweatshirts and I’ve seen sun dresses (not to mention torrential down-pours), Soundset is nothing if not held on the most erratic and unpredictable weekend of the year, weather wise. There’s also that fact that we are all but organic machines that require fuel and water. So if you’re looking for that all-encompassing day-fest supply checklist, you got it right hurr.
Everyone needs to bring, or secure access to, these ten basics:
- Empty 20 oz light plastic water bottle
- Natural sunscreen
- Ear plugs
- Wet wipes
- Wallet (including your ID, plastic and $20 cash (or more if you intend to buy merch))
- Empty plastic grocery bag
- Single use rain jacket
- Ticket(s) or will call/guest list confirmation
Ladies may require additional essentials:
- Anti-chafing gel, such as Blue Steel or Body Glide
- Makeup wipes
- Tamps, if you please
- Basic beauty (mascara, lipstick and travel perfume)
You may also consider bringing…
- Allergy meds, such as Allegra or Claritin
- Contact/saline solution
- Compact blanket
- Backpack or drawstring pack
- Cross-over bag or purse
- Long sleeve shirt
- Change of shirt
- Change of shorts
- Point-and-shoot camera
- Film Camera
- Extra film
- Camera batteries
- Camera bag or pouch
- Camera wrist sling or neck strap
- Car keys
- House keys
- Cell phone
Do Not Bring: according to the Soundset FAQ, the common sense items. “What you can NOT bring: weapons (knives, guns, chains – anything that can be used as a weapon to hurt someone), glass, band instruments of any kind, drugs or drug paraphernalia, for sale items (unless you are a contracted vendor), markers, spray paint, hula hoops, outside food, outside beverages, squirt guns, audio recording devices, video recording devices, umbrellas, blankets, stuffed animals, pets (unless licensed service animals), kites, flags, golf carts (unless you’re Ant), chairs and Tool CDs (unless you’re Randy Hawkins).”
That should about cover it for this festival. The frisbee mentioned at the top of the additional resources is actually a really versatile and useful tool! Not only is it a compact, fun toy but it may also serve useful as a plate or a sink! Your water bottle can pour into your frisbee if you need to wash your hands or face. It’s basically the most unheard of festival essential ever. I like it!
Bodyspray is another one that almost made the top ten. A lot of people smell really bad at festivals, it’s like they never thought to relieve us with the most simple, cost-effective solution of travel size proportions. Ohhh my gosh, speaking of travel size, if that wasn’t already assumed, ASSUME IT! For everything! It cannot be beat.
You could probably easily get away with forgoing the over the counter meds, as the medic stations are sure to have many of those needs covered. However, allergy meds and Nauzene are kind of unlikely, and in some situations, direly needed. Other things that are less essential are blankets, towels, phones (OMG), and cameras. You may be thinking to yourself, “Why wouldn’t I need my phone, or my camera!?” It’s gonna be ok, just keep thinking. – This shit SOLD OUT this year. There are going to be 25,000+ people there, all weighing on the same three cell phone towers. Do you really think your service provider is going to emit magical cellular signals just for you? Plan a meet up place with your friends, or employ some walkie-talkies. If I bring my phone into the festival grounds, it will be to periodically check the time and perhaps see if wi-fi exists this year (as it does at Lollapalooza). As for cameras, have you seen music events in 2014? The audience is basically a sea of photographers. Any memories I need to relive, I should be able to access on YouTube or Instagram within 24 hours.
Soundset is an excellent starter festival, for first-timers and newbies. Being a one-day event makes things a lot less complicated and preparation is much simpler than for camping festivals. So with a little forethought and intelligent preparation (NO HEELS!), you too will be a festival pro in no time. Have fun, and stay safe!