Salt peanuts and animal crackers?
September 15, 2009 7:52 PM   Subscribe

What food should I take to a music festival?

I'm going to a weekend-long music festival and would rather not spend a fortune on food when I get there. I don't think there will be any cooking or heating facilities (i.e., I can't take a camping stove due to a total fire ban), and it's a 9 hour train ride to get there so fresh food in a cooler will not get me very far.

Complications: one of us is a vegetarian, the other has gluten and lactose intolerances. We don't have to eat the same thing, obviously, but being able to share food would be helpful.

So far I've come up with fresh fruit, avocadoes, tuna, crackers/biscuits, granoli/muesli bars, dried fruit. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
posted by Emilyisnow to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest nuts and seeds, maybe dried soybeans. Upping your protein intake will help you feel full longer.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:55 PM on September 15, 2009

Cheese holds up pretty well, if it's not too hot.

Bread and peanut butter.

Backpacking food! Link 1, Link 2. You'll find a lot more if you google "backpacking food".

Have fun!
posted by kestrel251 at 7:58 PM on September 15, 2009

Peanut butter.
posted by cabingirl at 7:59 PM on September 15, 2009

Tasty Bite Indian foods are pre-cooked, so can be eaten at air temperature if you don't mind having food that isn't hot. They also taste pretty good. I recommend one of the curry-and-Indian cheese varieties. They're found at many natural food stores and in the hippy section of mainstream grocery stores. Trader Joe's has its own version of the same thing.

Each Tasty Bite box has two servings. So does each pouch of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, which also doesn't need to be heated if you don't mind not-hot food.

You'll want some plates or bowls and utensils to eat with, too.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:04 PM on September 15, 2009

posted by pompomtom at 8:18 PM on September 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Freeze some gaspacho - it's its own cooler.
posted by aimedwander at 8:22 PM on September 15, 2009

If this is a commercial festival, I'd double check that you can bring your own food in. It would suck if you packed all your food and they took it away from you.

As for food suggestions, maybe pick up something along the lines of Hickory Farms cheese.
posted by mrsshotglass at 9:35 PM on September 15, 2009

posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:15 PM on September 15, 2009

Thanks for the suggestions everyone - keep them coming.

It might be worth mentioning that I'm in Australia, so American brands mostly don't exist here.

Looking at backpacking ideas is helpful, but there's some key differences in that I can't do any cooking/heating at all, and weight is not an issue. Still - it's thrown up some good ideas!
posted by Emilyisnow at 11:29 PM on September 15, 2009

I was just camping at a festival and, while I intended to cook, it never happened. We survived on hummus and salsa (with chips), bread and cheese, plain old cheese, guacamole parts that we turned into guacamole, trail mix and food from the vendors (I only had 2 meals from them, though).
Baked tofu is super-tasty, and my go-to protein source if I'm not at home. If you take a cooler you could bring salad-type items (in my experience you can get ice at the fest). Also seconding the frozen gazpacho idea - wish I'd thought of it!
The nice thing about being vegetarian is that your food is more easily transported - if you know what foods you and your friend can share now, there's a good chance you can take some of them to the fest, especially if some can be frozen so they'll be thawed by the time you get there.
Have fun!
posted by smartyboots at 11:38 PM on September 15, 2009

What I like to do on camping/road trips is bring along tortillas, peanut butter, and jelly. None of it needs refrigeration, and the tortillas don't squish like bread would if improperly packed. You could use corn tortillas to avoid the gluten allergy, but the taste would be different and I don't know how available those would be in Australia.
posted by Gneisskate at 6:11 AM on September 16, 2009

the non-cooking part of my burning man food list: apples & peanut butter or cheese, nuts, beef/buffalo jerky, dried fruit, tortilla chips & salsa (in a jar), dehydrated hummus powder (just add water) to eat with crackers or other dippy item. salami. vitamin packets or other electrolyte mix to add to water. this last year i saw a dude make nachos with a solar oven--pretty impressive! if you need your morning caffeine and will hate to go without coffee you could try making sun tea.

my experience is that the food you crave when you're camping is not always what you think you'll crave. salty stuff and fat/protein is more important than normal life. hot food is awesome.

not being able to cook or cool food is a bit of a challenge. are you positive you can't bring a teensy camp stove or a cooler to buy ice? back in 1997 when i started going to burning man (kids, lawn) there was no ice sold, so you brought dry ice or were S.O.L. (i was the latter). i kind of miss those days. but my impression is that most people would find that untenable. oh wait, you say they sell food at the festival?
posted by apostrophe at 7:27 AM on September 16, 2009

Check if you can buy ice at the festival. If you can, refrigeration is not a problem. It won't be especially cheap (for ice), but then it won't be punitively expensive, either. Even with a 9 hour train ride, if you've got a hard-sided cooler then buying ice on day one (or just day three if you have ice packs) and day three should get you through, even in the heat. Because you're not taking meat, the risk of spoilage is pretty low.*

If you've only got a soft-sided cooler bag, then you can still do the same, but you might need to buy ice on all three days if it's raging hot and you have no shade. You are also going to have to take stuff in tupperware to stop it getting wet when the ice melts.

Failing that, variety is your friend. You're going to the festival to have fun and you'll enjoy yourself less by saving a few cents here and there if you eat the same stuff for breakfast lunch and dinner. You don't mention if you smoke dope or not. If you do, take more munchies than you first plan because it would be miserable to eat your breakfast the night before for want of a pack of biscuits.

If you can spare the cash, I'd consider having at least one meal at the festival. Veggie food can be awesome at some of these events and you'll spend 2/3 days seeing people munching on it and wishing you didn't feel guilty about lugging that extra bag of granola that you now don't want to eat. Consider it a treat. If you have to save money, do it some other weekend when you're not supposed to be having fun.

You also don't mention alcohol, which will be far more expensive, relatively speaking, than food. Call me an old alcoholic, but I'd sort that side of the bargain first. Vodka is a good option. Get a cordial as a mixer. Buy cold water or find a tap to dilute the cordial. Even if you don't drink vodka, a cordial is still a cheaper way to have a soft drink than continually buying Coke or Pepsi.

And take earplugs. Ahead of a decent mattress it will get you closer to a decent night's sleep than anything else. You can guarantee that whoever is in the tent next to you will have unfeasibly noisy sex and then spend hours discussing the meaning of life. Or discuss the meaning of life and then have unfeasibly noisy sex. If you plan on discussing the meaning of life for hours and having unfeasibly noisy sex, do the right thing and still take earplugs, but give them to your nearest neighbours.

* I camped round Australia for 8 months, of which 4 were in the Western Australian outback, and happily managed with ice on alternate days, with meat in my cooler box.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:43 AM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

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