1. Drink water, and then some more water
It’s going to be hot, you’re going to spend upwards of eight hours in the sun (maybe more), and you’re probably going to drink some sort of alcoholic beverage. Staying hydrated will keep you energized and comfortable throughout the day; but more importantly, it’ll keep all of the processes (like your metabolism and digestion) in your body running efficiently. In the days leading up to the weekend, commit to drinking a few extra glasses of water each day (coffee and caffeinated tea don’t count!). Sneak as many water bottles into the festival as you can; if you can’t, bring a CamelBak or collapsible water bottle to fill up at the festival. Snack on water-rich fruits and vegetables, too: produce like watermelon, bell peppers, mangoes, and apples work double duty to fill you up and hydrate you.
2. Check out the festival’s food vendors
Head to the festival’s official website–almost every summer music festival will have one–and see what sort of food vendors will be there. Music festivals will have the crowd favorites on hand–regional specialties like chicken-fried bacon and huckleberry pie–but most are also catering to the more food-savvy crowds by bringing in healthy local food trucks and farmer’s markets. Check out the festival’s offerings and pick what you’ll be eating beforehand; this will help prevent you from making less healthy spur-of-the-moment choices or from simply ordering what your friends order.
3. Pack a cooler if you can…
Some festivals, like Seattle’s Bumbershoot and San Francisco’s Outside Lands, will allow you to bring in coolers of a specified size; others won’t allow any outside food and drink. Stock your cooler with fresh fruits and vegetables; their fiber and water make them satiating and hydrating, and they’ll help counterbalance the calorie-dense and nutrient-void choices you might eat later. Grain- or bean-based salads, like this No-Cook White Bean Salad, Protein Packed Grain Salad, and Roasted Spring Vegetable Farro Salad with White Beans pack especially well, as they won’t go bad in the heat and provide a balance of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Sandwiches are also a good choice; just pack tomato slices separately so that your sandwich stays dry.
4. Pack travel-size snacks if you can’t
Some festivals will be more strict than others. While coolers might not be allowed, you still might be able to bring in small snacks like pre-cut fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and bars. If you can, try to bring snacks that offer protein, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you satiated for as long as possible; try a banana with a packet of Justin’s nut butter. If you have strict allergies or dietary habits–diabetes, Celiac disease, you’re vegan–you may be able to get your food past security. If not, hide travel-size snacks wherever you can: inside towels, wrapped in clothes, or in difficult-to-find compartments in your purse.
5. Get active
In addition to eating healthfully, many summer music festivals also provide the opportunity to stay active and sneak some exercise into your music-packed day. Wanderlust offers different types of yoga–from Anahata Chakra Flow to Vinyasa Flow–as well as other outdoor-based activities like pilates, trail running, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, cycling, and dancing. Other music festivals might not offer planned exercise classes, but you can still burn calories by dancing or biking to and from the festival. In addition to reducing circulating levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and boosting your energy levels, staying active helps you pick healthier food choices: when you do something healthy (like take a cycling class), you naturally want to keep your healthy momentum going.