4 Important Ways to Keep Cool During Hot Summer Music Festivals

Summer is among the most popular times for music festivals. From Lollapalooza to the Warped Tour to Bonnaroo, many of the biggest names in outdoor concerts take place during the hottest summer months.

The good news for many concert-goers is that the shows going on during June, July, and August tend to be in cooler locations. For example, Lollapalooza takes place in Chicago, which is famous for moderate summers. Meanwhile, music festivals in hotter locations tend the be earlier or later so that they are also much more tolerable. The Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas (where in 2018 there were more than 50+ days of 100 degree temperatures) doesn’t occur until things cool down in October.

Still, it’s not unusual for heat waves to push temperatures to uncomfortable highs, even in places where the weather is normally comfortable during the hottest parts of the year. Meanwhile, those late season festivals in warmer locations can sometimes still be scorching.

So if you’re going to an outdoor music festival this year and want to know how to keep cool, here are some suggestions to keep things chill so you can enjoy the show…

Hands in the air during music festival

Stay Hydrated (Bring Water If You Can)

It’s common sense, but any time you are going to be outside at a concert, then you should stay hydrated. According to Harvard Medical School, you should drink 2-3 cups of water per hour if you are outside on a hot day. That’s roughly a 20 ounce bottle of water per hour.

The problem is that simply drinking water can cost you a fortune at a music festival. If a bottle cost $3, then drinking one bottle an hour would run $24 over an eight-hour day at the concert. It’s definitely a smart move to check out what you can bring in to the festival grounds. If you can bring at least a couple of bottles of water, then you can save some cash, avoid lines at the concession stand, and be more to stay hydrated.

Be Strategic About Shade

When you hit a big festival with multiple stages like Austin City Limits, then you are going to be planning which stage you want to hit at what time. We recommend doing something a little different. Check out a map of the grounds and look for spots where there will be shade.

Even if the temperatures are mild, standing in the sun all day can cause lots of stress on the body, including sunburns and headaches. Simply allowing yourself some time to sit and relax in a shaded area is important for staying cool and keeping up your energy levels during a full day at at a festival.

Dress Smart for the Day (And Cover Your Head/Neck)

Lots of thought goes into what you’ll wear to a music festival, but it’s usually for the purposes of style. On days when it’s going to be hot and you’ll be in the sun all day, you should definitely put function ahead of style.

Wear fabrics that are light on the skin and that also breathe easily. For example, cottons may breathe but some shirts made with thick cotton can actually be heavy and hot. Look for thinner material that is more comfortable against your skin that doesn’t trap as much heat. Denim and other thick fabrics are usually best left at home.

One other thing is to make sure you wear something to cover your head and neck. Most people won’t stand facing the sun for long — they turn around because it’s uncomfortable to squint facing bright sunlight. As a result, the back of their neck gets the brunt of the punishment. Make sure you wear a hat that offer shade over your neck and keep in mind you want something light and breathable to avoid trapping heat on your head.

Take Advantage of Cooling Products

So far most of our tips have been common sense advice for staying cool and safe in hot environments. And there’s a reason these tried and trued staples are so popular — they work well.

But these days there are a number of things you can buy that are specifically designed to keep you cool outdoors. These range from cooling vests to towels that once damp can keep you feeling significantly cooler.

Note: The links to Amazon used below are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.


Cooling vests are the most extreme of your options at a summer music festival and there’s no doubt that you’d stand out wearing one in the crowd. However, these vests can also pack some serious cooling power. You simply freeze the packs within the vest, slip it on, and stay cool for hours.

Cooling towels have become a popular accessory for those trying to keep cool outdoors. You simply wet them, wring out excess water and them put them around your neck. The wet towel helps to cool you down as the water evaporates. They are fairly cheap and can be used over and over. In a pinch you could also use a towel from home to achieve a similar effect.

Ice wraps offer an easy way to get some relief outdoors, but keep in mind that they likely won’t last all day. With these wraps you freeze them beforehand and then wear them around your neck to cool down. These wraps are ideal if you are heading out to a hot festival in the afternoon and need a few hours relief before things cool down as the sun sets.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here