Your Guide to Outdoor Concerts & Music Festivals

By Brittany Loeffler on April 13, 2019

Attending outdoor concerts is a must-do when it comes to the summer months. With warm summer nights and beautiful sunsets, outdoor concerts are a summer staple. You and your friends find the perfect concert to attend, pack up your belongings and enjoy the warm weather while jamming out to your favorite songs.

When it comes to outdoor concerts, it is important to come prepared and know what to expect. They are different than going to an indoor concert at a venue. There is more freedom and usually more space. There are also different types of outdoor concerts that you should be aware of. Before you go to your next outdoor concert, make sure you are prepared and ready to enjoy a beautiful day listening to music. From finding the perfect outdoor concerts to preparing for rain, this is your guide to outdoor concerts.

outdoor concerts

via Pixabay

Finding Outdoor Concerts

The first thing to do when wanting to spend a day outdoors listening to live music is finding outdoor concerts. This can be done with a quick Google search in your area. You can also look at even listings on Facebook. If there are outdoor venues and stadiums in your area, you can check out their event listings as well.

The beauty of outdoor concerts is that they can be big or small. If you are looking for some live music in an outdoor venue, it can be a little trickier to find. The best places to look are wineries, restaurants with outdoor seating, or parks. It never hurts to call around to local businesses and see if they have any events coming up with live music outside.

Free Concerts

Many times you will find free outdoor concerts happening during the spring and summer months. New York City is known for hosting A-list artists in its Central Park outdoor venue for free during the summer. The thing to remember about the big celebrities playing free concerts is that you have to get to the venue hours before the concert starts to get a good view and not be cut off. Some outdoor venues have capacity maximums, which means people can be turned away from the free concert. Some radio stations, like Philadelphia’s 104.5 hosts free outdoor concerts as well. Even though these concerts are free, attendees still need to get tickets because of the maximum capacity limit.

If you are looking for a more low-key concert, you do not have to worry about grabbing tickets and getting to the venue hours earlier. Instead, it is more relaxed and you can set out your blanket and chairs and enjoy the concert and the weather.

What to Bring to Outdoor Concerts

There are a few items you should bring with you when attending outdoor concerts. If the concert is taking place on a lawn, it is a good idea to bring picnic blankets and folding chairs with you. This will save your clothes from getting grass stains and make you more comfortable during the concert.

Some venues will allow you to bring your own food and drinks. Pack a cooler with your favorite beverage and plenty of water. It is important to stay hydrated during summer outdoor concerts. Packing a picnic is also a fun idea so you can have a quick bite during the concert’s opening act before the headliner hits the stage.

What to Expect at Outdoor Concerts

Outdoor concerts can have large crowds and packed stadiums or they can be relaxing with only a few hundred people in attendance. It all depends on the venue you go to. You can expect to be outside and at the mercy of the elements. So, expect to be hot and sweaty if the concert takes place in the middle of the summer. Come prepared with bug spray if the concert takes place at night. You do not want to wake up with bug bites all over your legs the next day.

It is a good idea to try to get to the concert venue early so you can find a good spot. If you arrive too late, you may be stuck all the way in the back or fighting your way to the front while stepping on people’s toes. Getting to the concert early also gives you time to enjoy the beautiful weather and breathe in the fresh air.

Another thing to note when it comes out outdoor concerts is that the music isn’t as harsh as indoor concerts. This is because there is no ceiling or walls to contain the sound. This makes it easier on your ears. You generally will not need earplugs, but if you plan to get to the very front of the stage, it is not a bad idea to put some in.

Two Types of Outdoor Concerts

There are two types of outdoor concerts. There are outdoor concerts with just one headlining artist and only lasts a few hours. These are typically held in venues like stadiums or arenas or fields. Usually, you can spread out and make your space cozy with blankets and folding chairs if it is a grassy venue. These are fun and energetic, but once they are over you get to go home for the night.

The second type of outdoor concerts is music festivals. Music festivals are days-long events with multiple artists playing in a very large space. Many more people will be at a music festival than at a regular outdoor concert. Since music festivals usually take place over a long weekend like Memorial Day weekend, festival-goers will pay for a campsite. This creates a whole new dimension when it comes to going to outdoor concerts.

outdoor concerts

via Pixabay

Summer Music Festivals

The biggest known summer music festivals are Coachella, Firefly, Lollapalooza, and Burning Man. These weekend festivals gather thousands of people looking to enjoy music while being outdoors and becoming one with nature. These concerts host multiple artists on multiple stages. Oftentimes, there will be two or more performances happening at once during the festival. Be sure to look at the set times and make a schedule for who you want to see when and at which stage so you don’t miss your favorite artist.

Music festivals are more than just listening to music at outdoor concerts. They are full of making friends, setting up campsites, and being surrounded by a community of people who are generally carefree and friendly. It is a wonderful escape from reality.

What to Bring to a Music Festival

The packing list for a music festival is going to be much longer than just going to an outdoor concert. Music festivals more intense than outdoor concerts, so you will need to bring some extremely necessary items, especially if you are camping for the weekend.

outdoor concerts

Infographic by Brittany Loeffler

Camping

The first thing you should bring when camping is, of course, a tent. Make sure the instructions are in the box or you may be out of luck when it comes time to put it up. Next, you will need to bring sleep bags, pillows, and blankets. While summer days are hot and sunny, the nights can get pretty cold depending on where you are camping.

Food

Next, you have to pack food for the weekend. Invest in a large cooler so you can pack plenty of water and keep anything that needs to be cold in there. Some good food ideas to pack are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bagels, nuts, frozen hamburger patties, hotdogs, buns, potatoes, and fruit. If you decide to cook hamburgers and hotdogs, make sure to bring a camping grill or hot plate. Usually, festivals won’t allow you to have bonfires because there are too many people in the area. 

Miscellaneous 

Lastly, do not forget to pack toiletries like your toothbrush, soap, and most importantly, toilet paper. While you may not have to hide behind a tree to do your business, chances are that the bathrooms at the music festival are going to be pretty nasty and out of toilet paper. Make sure to bring clothes that you can layer when it is cold in the mornings and evenings. Don’t forget a flashlight either. You don’t want to be stuck in the dark without one!

What to Expect from a Music Festival

You can expect to see many people dressed in festival fashion running around the festival grounds having the time of their lives. You can expect to meet a lot of cool people. At music festivals, you can pretty much go up to anyone and start a conversation. The environment is extremely friendly and easy going so you’ll feel comfortable and free.

The only downfall to music festivals is the price of the ticket. Entry to these festivals can cost hundreds of dollars just for general admission. If you are planning to go to a music festival, it’s a good idea to check the price of the tickets and plan your finances accordingly. Also keep in mind the money you will spend on camping supplies, food, drinks, and more while you are there.

Arrive at the festival fairly early. The earlier you arrive, the more options you have to set up your campsite. If you arrive a day late to the festival, all of the good campsites are taken and you will be left wandering through fields and woods looking for a place to put your belongings down.

Since music festivals are so spacious and draw large crowds, you shouldn’t count on getting the best view of the main stage. Sometimes there are just too many people to squeeze through to get a good view. So, be content with where you are if it is a comfortable spot and you can see part of the stage. Besides, the closer you get to the front of the stage, the louder the music is, which can cause severe damage to your ears over time.

How to Protect Yourself from the Sun

Attending outdoor concerts or music festivals means being under the hot sun for hours. It is important to protect yourself from the sun so you do not get heat stroke or pass out. That makes the concert less fun for everyone you’re with.

To protect yourself from the sun, apply sunscreen before going to the concert to avoid dangerous sunburns. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water. If you are drinking alcohol at the concert, always drink one glass of water with every alcoholic drink you consume. This will help you stay hydrated while at the concert. Even though water bottles are usually marked up at concert venues, remember that it is in your best interest to pay the price and stay hydrated.

Prepare for Rain

Usually, outdoor concerts are held rain or shine. So, if there is some rain in the forecast on the day of the concert, you should prepare for it. If you do not like wearing wet clothes, bring a foldable poncho with you. Keep a clean pair of clothes, socks, and shoes in your car to change into after the concert. Nobody likes sitting in a car in wet clothes or walking around with wet feet.

Everyone uses their phone at a concert. Whether you are Snapchatting your favorite song or texting your friends to see where they are in the crowd, keep your phone protected from the rain with a plastic sandwich bag. You’ll still be able to use it while keeping it from getting wet.

Enjoying Outdoor Concerts

Outdoor concerts are a summer staple. You can attend A-list artists playing large venues or enjoy small free concerts in your local community. If you really want to get into the outdoor concert scene, spend a weekend at a music festival. It’ll feel like a mini vacation. Always remember to be prepared for the hot sun and rain if necessary. You don’t want to ruin your time with getting sick or sunburned. Now you can find outdoor concerts, know what to expect, and prepare for them accordingly all while enjoying a great summer day with friends.

By Brittany Loeffler

Uloop Writer
Brittany is a senior English major with a concentration in creative writing at Temple University. After growing up in a very rural part of Pennsylvania, she found her calling in the streets of the big city of Philadelphia. Aside from writing, she enjoys reading, movies, baking, and photography.

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