Bled Fest 2017 | Festival Starter Pack


Jonathan Shead

Summer is in full swing, meaning festival season is finally here. With multiple festivals of all shapes, sizes, and genres happening weekly it can be hard to adequately plan and pack for a specific venue or musical experience, especially for a first-timer. There are, of course, the essentials — phone, wallet, water, etc. — to remember to bring, but depending on the festival you’re attending your checklist will be a little different. No matter which festival you plan to attend, WDBM has you covered with a list of looks and other items to help you not only survive, but thrive and enjoy your festival experience.

This week our festival starter pack will focus on the upcoming Bled Fest 2017 (May 27), a alternative rock-influenced festival locally located at the Hartland Performing Arts Center in Howell, Michigan. The festival, which includes six stages jam-packed with a number of various acts ranging from indie, pop-punk, punk rock and metal, is a day full of non-stop energy, multiple mosh pits, and great music. With the right attire and equipment you’ll leave this festival with little to no complaints (admit it, no concert is ever perfect). Make sure you’re prepared for the best and the worst of the festival by checking out the five essential items we think you need to survive Bled Fest 2017.

Vans or Converse:
Skate culture and punk culture have always gone hand-in-hand, making Vans, and on the contrary Converse, the obvious choice for this year’s Bled Fest — not to mention they’re extremely comfortable. Outside of the cult-influenced reasons to wear your favorite pair of sneakers, there are plenty of other reasons why wearing vans will benefit you. Regardless of if you decide to break out the retro, black-and-white checkered vans you haven’t worn since middle school, the converse high tops you bought but never find a reason to wear, or any of other various shoe models they make, our one tip to you is to make sure they’re broken in. After a long day of standing, dancing, and (for those brave enough) moshing, your feet will thank you.

Flannel or Denim Jacket:
Flannels are another culturally inspired article of clothing you’ll want to have at Bled Fest. Not only will wearing a flannel help you cohere to the punk aesthetic, but it has it’s functional qualities too. With the festival being indoors, temperatures will likely fluctuate between stages, making a flannel the perfect lightweight jacket for those sets that get a little chilly. Flannels can also provide an extra layer of protection from the bumps and bruises you may find after exiting the mosh pit. And yes, Denim and leather jackets are an aesthetically-pleasing alternative.

Bandana or Headband:
Bandanas are essential to almost every festival or concert, providing different functions depending on the type of show you’re attending. They make great handkerchief, a pseudo-blanket to sit on if you’re outdoors or even a makeshift bandage, but these are all auxiliary reasons to bring a bandana to Bled Fest. The real reason you’ll need a bandana at this festival is to simply keep the sweat from dripping down to your eyes as you continue thrashing and dancing. While a bandana or headband might not seem like a necessity, you’ll be wishing you didn’t forget one when you’re sweaty and salty (literally and figuratively) at the others who remembered to bring one.

First Aid Kit:
It may not be the most ideal item to carry around at a festival, but a first aid kit will definitely come in handy when you least expect it. It’s not so important that you and everyone else at the festival need to bring their own kit, or even a box of band-aids, but make sure at least one person in your group is carrying an emergency kit for when the cuts and bruises start to take shape. And while yes, the festival will likely have a medical tent for emergency situations, having a first aid kit handy will allow you and your friends to keep your place in the pit despite any accidental injuries.

Shin Guards:
Shin guards are another item we suggest you bring/wear specifically for your own safety, especially if you plan to enter any mosh pits while you’re at the festival. A pair of shin guards will protect you from the wrath of everyone’s arms and legs flailing toward you as you try to enjoy your favorite artist even though you’re getting kicked in the legs repeatedly. While we admit we’re mostly kidding when it comes to actually bringing shin guards into the festival, we won’t deny how smart it would be to do so. And who knows, if enough people start to wear them, we may even be able to start a trend.

Camera (optional):
Unlike most festivals (usually of a larger scale) who don’t allow general admission ticket holders to bring in their cameras or recording equipment, Bled Fest does. In fact, they actually encourage you to bring your camera, that is, if you’re brave enough. Because of the way the festival is set up — none of the stages have barriers around them or between the band and audience — and because of the high-energy level of dancing/thrashing/moshing, it could potentially be dangerous to bring an expensive DSLR camera to the show. Especially if you plan on entering into a mosh pit, crowd surfing, or doing anything similar, we suggest you stick with your smartphone camera to capture the memories you don’t want to forget.

This is just a short list of items we suggest you bring to get the most out of your Bled Fest experience. Make sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions page to find out what items are and aren’t prohibited from the festival. Also, be sure to stop by and say hi to us while you’re there. We’ll have a table set up in the vendor section or you can find us at our sponsored stage, stage C.

Enjoy the festival!