8 essential apps for summer music festivals

music festival apps header

I’m all about minimalism when I go to festivals. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than lugging around an overstuffed backpack in a sea of 20,000 people, so over the years I’ve figured out ways to cut down on what I carry and fit everything I need in a fannypack. Don’t judge me – it’s a pretty sweet fannypack. You’d probably be jealous if you saw it.

The key to my awesome fannypack system is really just a carefully curated collection of smartphone apps that eliminate the need to pack along too much else. Here’s a few of my favorites to help you help you make the most of any festival you attend: 

1. The [insert festival name here] App

There’s an app for absolutely everything now, and that includes most major festivals. If you’re heading out to a big-name show, it’s worth a quick Google search to see if there’s an app made specifically for this year’s event. Personally, I hate these things – more often that not they’re made by some third-party event-app company who creates them in a hurry, loads them with ads, and doesn’t give two shits about user experience – but they are good for one thing: live updates.

Festivals are crazy, and it’s not uncommon for performances to be delayed, rescheduled, or moved to a different stage at the last minute. You’ll want to be in the know if this happens, and the best way to stay informed is to check the event app for updates when something goes awry.

2. Victorinox Festival Ready (iOS/Android)

music festival apps Victoninox Festival ReadyThis list would be a lot longer if it wasn’t for this app. No doubt annoyed by all the confusing event-specific apps out there, Victorinox (the makers of the original Swiss Army Knife) set out to make an all-in-one music festival multitool for your smartphone. This app is a godsend. It’s got tons of nifty features – a packing checklist, weather updates, emergency medical instructions, and a geotagging feature that helps you keep track of your tent and the whereabouts of your friends. The tent finder function is good enough to be it’s own standalone app, but Victorinox was kind enough to bundle it in with everything else – and it doesn’t cost a dime.

3. Instagram (iOS/Android)

music festival apps InstagramReally, any camera application will do, but not every app has filters that’ll make it look like you’re at Woodstock. Instagram is your best friend at a festival. Easy uploading and syncing options make it a breeze to share your pics online and make all your friends jealous.

4. Battery Doctor (iOS/Android)

music festival apps Bettery DoctorIf you’re going to be using your phone for communication, camera, compass, and clock, you’ll undoubtedly suck up a lot of juice. Battery life is a precious commodity at festivals, and while it’s increasingly common to see charging stations at large events, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. There’s a zillion different battery-saver apps for Android and iPhone, and most will allow you to save power by shutting off things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, vibration, or GPS. Careful what you turn off though, as it might interfere with other apps you’re using.

5. Soundhound (iOS/Android) or Shazam (iOS/Android)

music festival apps SoundhoundEither one will do. It’s really just a matter of personal preference. If you want to know the name of the song that’s playing, just hit a button on one of these apps, they’ll listen for a second, compare the sound to a massive database of music, and send you the track info if/when they find a match. Both apps tend to have trouble with super high volumes and live recordings – not to mention musicians tend to play their unreleased stuff at festivals – but its always worth a shot. I’ve also found it’s invaluable for picking out random songs you hear people playing as you stroll around the campground.

6. Virtual Zippo (iOS/Android)

music festival apps Virtual ZippoOK, so this one isn’t essential, but it’s free, so shut up. The last thing you want is to feel left out when your favorite band plays that power ballad you’ve been waiting for all day for, and everyone whips out their Zippos but you.  Sure, you’ll look like a goofball, but chances are good you won’t be the only one in the crowd using an app instead of the real thing. And really, it’s a festival – if there’s anywhere that being a goofball is appropriate, it’s here.

7. Air BNB (iOS/Android)

music festival apps Air BNBNot every festival has camping, and when they don’t, hotels near the venue tend to fill up with astonishing speed. When everywhere else is booked up, you can use AirBnB to find rooms that aren’t listed anywhere else. People list all kinds of weird places on the site, so if you blew your entire paycheck just to get tickets to the show, you might be able to save some money by renting somebody’s couch for the night.  

8. Pzizz (iOS/Android)

music festival apps PzizzIf you do plan on camping at the venue, get this app. There’s nothing worse than dancing for twelve hours straight, trudging back to your campsite feeling exhausted, and then not being able to sleep because the asshole next to you think’s it’s a good time to show off his car stereo. The party always keeps on raging at the campsite, and if you’re at a multi-day festival, you’ll want a good night’s sleep to make sure you’ve got the energy to make it through day two (or three, or four). This is where a pair of headphones and a white noise app come in handy. Really, any white noise app will do the trick, but this one is different. It uses produces specific sound frequencies called  binaural beats to help lull you into a deep, relaxed sleep. Some people claim this is junk science, and maybe it’s just the placebo effect, but others swear by it.  

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Smart Home

Knock, knock. Who's there? With a video doorbell, you'll never have to guess

When it comes to knowing who's at your door before you actually open it, there's nothing better than a video doorbell. Plus, you can "answer" the door even if you're not home. Here are some of our favorites.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

The LG V40 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Watch W7 are discounted for the holidays

LG announced a series of deals for the holiday season where you can buy the company's two flagship phones, the V40 ThinQ and G7 ThinQ, as well as its latest smartwatch, for between $150 and $200 off, depending on the device.

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.

G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

U.S. Google Assistant users can give their Assistant a different voice. Google has updated Assistant with the ability for users to give it either a British or Australian accent, which could make it a little more personal for some.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.