25 Things You Smell At Every Music Festival

The definitive ranking, from OK to hideous nightmare.

25. Funnel cake

Fried dough with a lemon-vanilla tinge will be the best thing you smell all day. But warning: your nose may be more game than your stomach.

24. Baby wipes

Carry perfumed-with-sunshine wet and cottony wipes for when you use the port-a-potties — no, they won’t have toilet paper — and use them as a shower substitute for your dirt-covered face and body.

23. Pizza

At a big festival, you can eat tacos, teriyaki bowls, burritos, artisinal popsicles, and more. But at the end of a long day, chose the salty and savory melting cheese pie.

22. Burning blunt

Notes of coffee, tobacco, and new friendship.

21. Sunscreen

At festivals, this can be used as both skin protectant and surfer musk perfume.

20. Beer foam

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Hops, carbonation, and cold satisfaction.

19. Dewy grass


Best in the morning, after the cleanup crew has come through, before the crowds have ruined everything.

18. Dry shampoo

Like chemically treated baby powder in an aerosol can, maybe with fruit.

17. Water refill stations

Naomi Zeichner / BuzzFeed

With their mix of chlorinated pool water and earthy well water smells, these are often suspiciously close to the bathrooms.

16. Camp stove fuel

Smells funky like a Zippo lighter, but makes dinner happen.

15. Dust

Matt Stopera / BuzzFeed

Acidic little pieces of dirt that want to live in your nose, mouth, eyes, and tent.

14. Golf cart exhaust

Golf carts are the most elite form on intra-festival transport. They amplify dust, and give it a diesel after-smell.

13. Armpit sweat

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It’s no big deal, but everybody stinks.

12. Shoes caked in mud

Weirdly sour combo of dirt, sweat, sun.

11. Damp shorts

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Yeah, your butt sweats that much.

10. The inside of your baseball hat

It’s been incubating the stressed-out sweat coming from your brain.

9. Fog machine


A million fast-moving particles of heated “fog juice.” Plus, encourages smokers.

8. Soggy hay

Hay is thrown over mud/grass to keep ground dry. As it soaks up spills and rain, it ends up smelling like mold, maybe urine?

7. Recycling

Fermented beverage bottles, fermenting.

6. Compost

Naomi Zeichner / BuzzFeed

Everybody’s food and drink scraps, baked by the sun. Reeks of social responsibility.

5. Cigarette smoke

Makes the air in a festival tent smell like a humid ashtray.

4. A tent

All of your breaths, stuck in a small space.

3. A fart in a tent

Who DOES this?

2. Puke in a tent

Basically this is nuclear war. Take care to avoid at all costs.

1. Hot port-a-potty

This is like puke in a tent, except there’s other people’s puke, poop, period stuff, and pee, too — ALL THE WORST THINGS — and it’s all baked for a couple hours.

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