If you’re a music-maker as well as fan, then being parted from your instrument for even a day will be unthinkable. Of course, you’re not going to lug your expensive vintage guitar or hefty digital piano all the way to the campsite, so allow the venerable Bax Music experts to make some more appropriate suggestions. Here, we line up ten musical instruments, each of which is 100% festival-proof and easy to cart about.
#1. The Soprano Ukulele
A soprano ukulele might be the perfect finisher for any festival survival kit. With this handsome yet generously priced little instrument, you can do everything that a campfire guitarist can. Strum chords, pick melodies and be greeted by the bright and happy sound of four ukulele strings. Length: just 53cm!
#2. A Mini Tongue Drum
Even people who have never seen a musical instrument in their lives can pick up and start playing a tongue drum. This hypnotic, meditative instrument is tuned in such a way that, no matter which note you hit, you’re never out of tune. Use one to play rhythmic melodies and create a restful vibe. The beauty of this particular Meinl model, is that it’s just 15cm wide, so will even slot in the side pocket of a big rucksack.
#3. A Travel Guitar
While it might not fit in your backpack, this Fazley acoustic guitar is less than a metre long, so you can definitely tote one on the side. Specifically designed to travel, this model is a bit smaller than a standard acoustic guitar but still has the same tuning, so you can take that lush, sparkling six-string sound to the festival with you. To complete the feel, you might want to add a box of plectrums and a tuner.
#4. Some Egg Shakers
If you’re the kind of festival goer that doesn’t know which end of a guitar is which but still wants to get in on the fun, then it’s worth tucking an egg shaker away in your bag just in case. These shakers can be used to back up your ukulele or guitar toting mate with the necessary beat, whether it’s a driving indie track or an old-school rock ballad. Simply shake and bake your beat to keep the rhythm.
#5. A 1/2-Sized Classical Guitar
The nylon strings of a classical guitar have a slightly sweeter and warmer sound than the steel strings of an acoustic guitar. The strings are also more flexible, meaning you don’t have to apply so much pressure to get a clean chord or note. This LaPaz model is even smaller than the Fazley acoustic guitar we mentioned earlier, so you could even tuck it up inside a gig bag and strap it to your backpack.
#6. A Kalimba
The kalimba is also sometimes called a thumb piano, but you definitely don’t need to be a pianist to play one. This instrument is also really easy to get to grips with. Just hold the body in both hands and pluck the metal tongues with your thumbs to play rhythmic tunes. This 17-tongue model can be used to play every note, so it can play any melody, from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Let it Be. Who dares take on a face-melting kalimba solo?
#7. A Folding Digital Piano
For anyone who can play a little piano or at least wants to have a go, you could always just bring one of these fold-up digital pianos, which literally folds down into a neat package that’s just 39cm wide. Pair it with a Bluetooth speaker and play some resounding chords or even a little sonata around the campfire. Or just plug in your headphones.
#8. A Mini Cajon
While we already have a shaker in the line-up, what we’re really missing is a fat beat. This mini-cajon is actually the perfect travelling mate, not just because it’s a mere 35cm high, but because it gives you the drum-like percussion you need to complete the campfire band. A cajon is played by striking the front playing surface with the palm of your hand or a fist to vary the sound. To learn more about playing the cajon, see our dedicated blog, which even includes videos so you can quickly nail some basic beats and tricks.
#9. A Harmonica
Harmonicas are not just pocket-sized but you can pick one up for next to nothing. This Fazley model is festival-friendly, has a classic, rich harmonica sound and will cost you little over a fiver. Harmonicas are not only played by moving your mouth left and right but by blowing and drawing breath to change the pitch. Stick one in your back pocket and serenade everyone in the queue for the bar.
#10. Some BoomWhackers
Now we come to the ultimate and most sociable of all festival-friendly instruments: a complete set of BoomWhackers! Each of these unsuspecting, brightly coloured plastic tubes has a different length so they’re precisely tuned from low to high to match the Do-Re-Mi scale. Easily batter out melodies on your own or pass them around and make sweet music with your mates.
Some Other Handy Gear
Already packing for the festival season? Don’t forget to stash away some of these nicely-priced festival essentials!