Going to your first concert can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. With so much going on, it's easy to forget essential items at home. Having the right gear will ensure you have the best time possible while protecting your hearing. Here's everything you need to bring for your first concert:
Music Ear Plugs for Concerts
Investing in a good pair of earplugs for concerts is crucial for preserving your hearing. The average rock concert reaches 110 decibels, loud enough to cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes. Earplugs filter out harmful frequencies so you can still enjoy the music. Look for a noise reduction rating (NRR) of at least 20 decibels.Silicone and foam earplugs are affordable options, while musician's earplugs with filters allow you to hear a balanced sound. Bring a few pairs in case you lose one.
Many fans underestimate how much time they'll spend on their feet. Outdoor concerts especially require sturdy close-toed shoes. Skip the flip-flops and opt for sneakers with arch support. Break them in ahead of time to prevent blisters. If you'll be in a stadium, wear boots or strappy sandals that won't slide off from jumping. Pack an extra pair of socks too.
Dehydration ruins many concert experiences. Venues blast hot air and lights while packed crowds ramp up the temperature. Dancing and singing for hours also takes a toll. Hydrate in the days leading up to the event. Fill up a water bottle to bring inside. Avoid purses and bags if possible, and wear clothing with pockets to easily access your water. Purchase beverages inside the venue as well.
Outdoor daytime shows require proper sun safeguards. Apply broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours. Wear a hat with a wide brim to keep your face shaded. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from glare. Don't forget about easy-to-miss spots like the ears, back of your neck and tops of your feet. Stay hydrated and take breaks in shaded areas when possible.
Charged Phone & Accessories
Phones are crucial for meeting up with friends, taking photos and contacting rides. Many venues have spotty charging service, so arrive with your phone fully charged. Bring an external battery pack or a portable power bank for recharging during the event. Download your ticket to the venue app ahead of time. Have friends install the app too. Split your group into small chat groups for better communication. Finally, bring a lint-free cloth and a plastic baggie to protect your phone from spills.
Having cash on hand offers many advantages over cards. You won't need to worry about card readers or internet connections. Cash allows you to tip service staff. It also lets you easily split costs with your group. Determine your budget beforehand and withdraw cash so you don't overspend. Separate money for food, drinks, merchandise and transportation. Consider the denominations, too - bring smaller bills to facilitate exchanges. Stash cash in different secure locations like shoes, bags and pockets.
Venues require identification for entry depending on the acts. Check ahead of time and bring proper ID. A driver's license, passport or military ID will suffice. Some concerts strictly forbid those under 18, even with an adult. Make sure your ID isn't expired or damaged. Keep it accessible but secure so it doesn't fall out during the excitement. Arrive early enough to allow time for ID checks in line. Consider taking a photo or making copies of your ID as a backup.
The weather and temperature can fluctuate over the course of a live show. The venue may blast AC during opening acts and then heat up packed crowds later. Outdoor festivals also bring unpredictable conditions. Dress in breathable layers you can peel off or put back on. Stash a jacket, hoodie or flannel tied around your waist. Choose clothing that doesn't restrict movement for dancing and allows pockets for storing items. Check the forecast and venue rules, too - some prohibit items like spiked jewelry.
Food & Snacks
Concert food is pricey, and lines are long, so bring your own provisions. Pack non-perishable nibbles like granola bars, nuts and crackers. Hydrating snacks like apples and grapes are ideal. Leave ingredients that may wilt, like sandwiches and salads, at home. Refillable water bottles allow free refills. If purchasing food inside, eat early or late to miss peak times. Cash allows faster transactions than cards at counters and vendors.
If allowed, a bag or purse stashes your gear securely. Choose one that's comfortable to wear all day and zips shut. Backpacks free your hands but can feel bulky in crowds. Cross-body bags and fanny packs deter thieves from pickpocketing. Bring just the essentials and leave valuables at home. Phone chargers, batteries and cords take up space. Consider cargo pants with ample pockets if you can skip a bag. Check the venue bag policy and size restrictions too.
Don't let health issues derail your concert plans. Arrive prepared by packing any essential daily medications. Keep pain relievers handy for headaches. Allergy pills and inhalers are wise for outdoor events with pollen, dust and smoke. Digestive aids like Tums or Pepto can quell upset stomachs. Motion sickness wristbands work for queasiness too. Bring bandages and antiseptic cream in case of minor abrasions. Your medical needs trump venue rules, so pack accordingly.
Lastly, don't forget the reason you're there - the concert tickets! Print paper tickets ahead of time in case you lose digital access. Forward them to any friends attending too. Screenshot or take photos of e-tickets for backup. Know your section, row and seat number if assigned. Make sure tickets aren't counterfeit or duplicated. Arrive with plenty of time to resolve any ticket issues. Confirm policies on lost, stolen or damaged tickets. Consider purchasing ticket insurance for expensive events.
The Bottom Line
Attending concerts becomes more enjoyable when properly prepared. Use this checklist to pack smart so you can safely focus on the music. Protect your hearing but let your spirit run free. With the right essentials, you'll be ready to rock out at one of life's most energizing events. What's on your must-bring list for your first concert? The anticipation is all part of the experience.