With a lot of life slowly returning to as close to the pre-pandemic world we once knew, concerts are taking place again. I recently went to my first concert in over two years and saw 5SOS in Cardiff on their Take My Hand Tour. This was my first concert post-diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and ADHD and I found that I needed a lot more things to take with me to be prepared for anything that could happen healthwise. I did a concert bag post a while ago but I wanted to share things that I find more beneficial for me now.
What bag I take
In recent years, the rules of bags for concerts have changed for safety reasons and in general, it’s required for your bag to be 12″ x 6″ x 12″. Some concert venues also ask that you bring a clear bag, which I took a clear one for Ariana Grande‘s Sweetener tour in 2019 where I took a bag she sold at H&M. I’ve yet to go to a concert that has required a clear bag yet but I know artists such as BTS ask for them, so I’ll be sure to invest in one when I finally get to see them. For now, I tend to take small backpacks like this 101 Dalmatians Loungefly backpack. I like to have a little front pocket so I can put easy-to-reach things like chewing gum or hand gel.
One thing I’ll always make sure to have in my concert bag is a portable charger. I think it’s so important to have a charged phone. These days most tickets are available on your phone, and you can also have all your health info stored which makes it easy to access in case of an emergency. I currently have the Jonkuu 10000mAh which states it can charge the iPhone 7 up to 3 times. I have an iPhone 11 Pro and normally I tend to start topping it up at around 50% and I can do that about 2-3 times throughout the day if needed. I tend to charge my phone during travel to the concert, in the concert queue, and in between sets (sometimes during opening acts if needed) so it doesn’t drop too low and I can just top it up every so often. By the time the concert starts, my phone is typically close to if not at 100% meaning I can take any photos or videos, use my flashlight with the crowd, etc.
Okay so technically not in my concert bag, but it’s something that will be with me as well as my bag. The Sunflower Lanyard is from a scheme for Hidden Disabilities. It’s now quite well-known in the UK and is starting to gain more attention internationally. Due to the pandemic, there’s a misunderstanding about these lanyards, with many thinking they are purely for mask exemption, but actually, they’ve been around for a lot longer. They were initially created by Gatwick Airport back in 2016 as a way to let people know that those with hidden disabilities may need additional support, help, or just a little bit more time. It’s now a lot more recognised within the UK and is starting to become a thing in other countries.
You can pick up free lanyards at airports or sometimes in supermarkets in the UK, or you can buy one online as well as cards which state your details. I have one of these cards as when I’m non-verbal it can be difficult to communicate so I can just show the back of my card with my details as well as an emergency contact number should I need it. What’s great is that you can personalise these too. Mine has my photo on it as well as the fact I have more than one disability, but you can have one for a number of disabilities. I really like how there’s a lot more being added to the store to help people identify hidden disabilities. I’ve also been collecting badges to put on mine. I have my ‘I Have An Invisible Disability’ pin from The Purple Rose for those who aren’t aware of the sunflower lanyard to help others quickly identify I may need additional support or time. I also have my little Demisexual pin and The Queer Emporium badge, The demisexual flag is for me and then I just added my Queer Imporium one to give a bit of promo to a small business. I intend on getting different accessibility badges for those who aren’t aware of the Sunflower Lanyard scheme and I can also point to them when I’m non-verbal to help communicate.
It’s worth noting that not all venues share the fact that they recognise the sunflower lanyard but with the general public being more aware of it now it can be easy for people to see it and be supportive.
Noise Reduction Earplugs
While I really enjoy concerts, sometimes at the right decibel, the music will vibrate a lot in my ears and then sometimes cause a migraine. I currently have the Quiet earplugs from Loop which are great for sleep, noise sensitivity, and focus, but when I wore them to the 5SOS concert, they made it a bit more muffled than I’d have liked. That’s why I’ve ordered the Experience earplugs which are great for live events.
I rely on fidget toys when dealing with anxiety which is really unpredictable when it can happen, so I’ve always got at least one on me. Since concert bags are pretty small, I typically take my alloy spinning fidget cube. It lets my restless hands focus on something and I also love the sensation when it spins which is great to focus on. I’m currently trying to find other toys to have a variety to choose from. I’ve got a pop it toy which is great but a bit on the large size, so I’m planning to collect smaller fidgets that fit in my bag for concerts and travel.
I need to make sure I have my meds on me at all times and I’ve always been notorious for keeping the boxes loose in my bag which isn’t the most accessible, so I’ve been keeping them in a pill pouch. The one I have is kinda old so I’m going to be getting this one from The Purple Rose to keep them all organized, Some venues are more strict than others so this is a great way to keep them together to go through security check, too.
I’ve always been one to carry hand gel, even pre-pandemic because often the smell of public soap makes me feel nauseous and I also feel paranoid about touching some things, so I think it’s a definite necessity. I love getting nice flavoured ones or cute ones like this Dalmatian one from Mad Beauty.
Venues are pretty strict about bringing in food and drink, but when in the queue I always take a drink. Keeping hydrated lessens my chance of having a migraine and if I need to take painkillers in the queue, then I don’t need to leave to get a drink. There are some venues that permit you to take your own food and drink if you have a medical note, so it’s always worth inquiring beforehand to see if this is something that you can do.
Purse and Access Card
Of course I tend to take a purse with me for concerts and will try to use the smallest one. I’ll typically take a card, a little bit of cash and an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card. Most of this is accessible on my phone but sometimes connections can be cut, contactless machines will break or phones could die (even with a portable charger!) so I try to have my actual card, my emergency details, and again a little bit of money in case card machines go down.
I’m still waiting to receive mine but I definitely needed to include those for those who may need it. The Access Card was designed to be a way to communicate your needs whether or not a provider is specifically listed with us and cardholders across the UK have used theirs in situations from having new tils in supermarkets opened to getting free entry for themselves and their companions to museums and visitor attractions. A number of event and concert venues recognise this card and it also works as a form of disability proof in some places, including cinemas like Odeon, and theme parks like Disneyland Paris. I’ve yet to use this, but I know of people who were able to show this card to security to be seated during queues and have more access around the venue. This can also be used for booking disabled tickets for shows.
Some venues require a key to access disabled toilets, but did you know that disabled people can get one of their own from the Blue Badge Company? No more waiting for someone at reception or trying to flag down a staff member because you can just use your own and they access all disabled toilets across the UK. I tend to mostly use mine at the train station or in the shopping centre, but it’s good to have one in case the venue you’re at also requires one if the door wasn’t left open. They’re accessible for invisible disabilities too, even if you don’t have a mobility aid. Often queues are pretty long at concerts and can lead to chronic pain flare-ups when standing around, so it’s great to be able to access the disabled toilets which will probably have a shorter queue. I tend to keep mine in my purse or a secret compartment in my bag but I’m thinking of trying to attach it to my lanyard to access it quicker.
And that’s pretty much everything I take with me in my concert bag as a disabled fan!
Do you enjoy attending live music events? What are your concert essentials?
Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.