The Backpacker’s Festival Cheat Sheet

Spring has finally graced the once snowy plains of the northern hemisphere, and all around you can hear the excited whispers as people pack away their snow boots and puffer jackets: “summer is coming!” And for music and camping (and alcohol and recreational drug) enthusiasts, this means one, very exciting thing: festival season is almost upon us!

For many people, a single dose of muddy/dusty/hot/wet/deafening/ unsanitary/overpriced /drunken revelry is enough, and all they can think of is seeing their favourite bands and then getting the hell out of dodge. But for the true festival enthusiast, the campground is home, and who needs sleep when you have (possibly psychedelic) guarana balls and red bull to keep you going?

We all have our favorite festivals – the old faithfuls we go back to with the same mates year after year (for me it was Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia). Traditions such as these should be preserved, but what about those of us who are planning to travel through the summer? How do we get our festival fix? Here are five essential tips for those of you planning to backpack your way through festival season.


The beauty of backpacking is that you are no longer constrained by geography, so the first thing to consider (obviously) is where you are planning to travel. Pick your continent – they all have killer festival lineups – and keep in mind what you plan to be doing when you aren’t dancing your ass off.

Now, research, research, research. What kind of music flows through you? Do you want a beach? A desert? A city? Picking the right festival (or festivals) is half the battle… but remember! Don’t just go for the safe and familiar option. Travel is all about challenging your pre-existing tastes and preferences. If you like house music, maybe try to fit in a blues festival. If you live for the beach, maybe mix it up with a visit to Oktoberfest or Running of the Bulls, both of which take place in towns away from the coast. Consider your budget: some festivals are free entry, and you need do no more than turn up on the day; and some have a huge ticket fee, something you will need to purchase well in advance.