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Just because you’ve finally secured a day pass at one of the many music festivals back on this summer, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to nab any prime seating. Sure, you can show up early, try to scope out a patch of grass, or park it under the shade of the nearest merch tent—but you might want to consider a portable chair.
The best portable chairs share a lot of similarities with folding or camping chairs, and allow you to sit back, relax, and stay comfortable for hours while enjoying an outdoor concert. They’re also pretty useful for barbecues, picnics at the park, or even day trips to the beach. They won’t add a lot of extra bulk when festival requirements already necessitate packing light, so you’ll be able to pick up and move quickly if your line of view to the stage gets blocked.
The latest chairs for festivals also come with useful add-ons you wouldn’t think you’d need until the day of—cup holders, stash pockets for valuables, even mini coolers that keep drinks frosty. But they should still be able to collapse down at the end of the set, and you can pack up and beat the rush out of the venue.
Enjoying live music is only one part of the festival experience—the other is sitting out on a lawn, or campsite, or amphitheater and chilling with your friends. If you don’t want to spend hours (or even days) sitting on the ground, here’s what to look for in a good portable chair.
Can You Bring Chairs to a Music Festival?
The short answer is: yes and no. Check with your local festival and see whether the front of the stages are standing room only, or if you can spread out a bit and pop open a folding chair. Your chair might have to fit certain requirements. For example, the Governor’s Ball doesn’t allow hard back chairs, or chairs big enough to be considered “lawn furniture“.
That being said, in general, festival-goers should look for slimmer, lightweight chairs—ideally less than six pounds. Most festivals require that chairs be no less than one foot off the ground, and have legs that are less than six inches wide. This is mostly for practical reasons, since you don’t want to block the view of anyone spreading out on a blanket behind you.
You’ll want chairs that you can either fold up and pack into a bag, or that come with carrying straps. Some venues might allow collapsible chairs, but not bulkier models made for camping. Again, know before you go.
What Are the Best Portable Chair for Music Festivals?
The best festival chairs can fold down into a portable package (like a backpack), but still remain sturdy the whole day and support up to 300+ pounds. Usually that means either frames that detach into smaller pieces like a tent, or fold up like an accordion. Make sure you also find chairs with durable frames that can stand on all sorts of terrain. With all that in mind, here are some of our top picks for chairs for music festivals and outdoor concerts.
1. Helinox Festival Chair
If you’re looking for the most portable option, check out this specifically designed Festival Chair from Helinox. When packed up, it’s just six inches long and around three pounds, which is one of our lightest picks if you’re looking for a chair with a frame. It’s ideal for taking to concerts where the stages are widely spread out, but also great for festival campsites when you’ve already got a tent and a load of other gear to carry.
Festivals might also be shifting their hosting grounds this year (from sprawling lawns to parking lots in some cases), so you’ll want a chair that’s not only compact, but capable on different terrain. Helinox’s Festival Chair delivers on both, thanks to adjustable legs that move to accommodate the slope of the ground you’re sitting on, or just to get that perfect viewing angle. It can also handle up to 320 pounds, with a sturdy DAC aluminum frame.
2. GCI Outdoor Everywhere Chair
BEST HIGH BACK
GCI’s Outdoor Everywhere chair gives you the high back support you’ll need to sit through an hours-long set, all while being low enough to the ground to fit into most festival requirements. Besides its unshakeable steel frame, the chair also utilizes a patented strap and buckle system that lets you sit securely whether you’re on sloped or flat terrain.
GCI Outdoor also keeps your comfort in mind, with an adjustable backrest that not many other festival chairs have, so you can take a power nap in between acts. The mesh panel panel will also keep you cool under the sun on a hot day. For a high back chair, it’s also surprisingly portable—easy “Auto-Fod” shoulder straps make opening, closing, and carrying this chair a breeze. The weight capacity isn’t great (caps at 250 pounds), but we give it bonus points for the cup holder, which is honestly just as essential as all the other comfort features jam-packed into this collapsible chair.
4. L.L.Bean Aero Insulated Trail Chair
L.L. Bean’s extremely streamlined chair, if you can even call it that, is the simplest solution to not sitting on the cold, hard ground during your next concert. The foam cushion is definitely more comfortable than it look (trust us), especially if you’re on uneven ground. But it all sandwiches up into a thin, wallet-like seat for maximum portability.
If the concert runs late into the night when there’s a bit of chill in the air, the “Aerogel” insulation will keep your bottom side warm on the ground or on a cold amphitheater seat. Believe it or not, you can also recline the Trail Chair with the adjustable side straps, so it’s honestly a step up from a festival blanket. The back pocket can hold a magazine, newspaper or book if you have to sit through that one artist that only your friend is hyped up about.
3. HITORHIKE Low Sling Concert Folding Chair
This slow sling folding chair from HITORHIKE is like the swiss army knife of festival chairs—for those of you who don’t want to keep digging into your fanny pack for your wallet and phone charger, there’s two stash pockets (front and back) for your phones, water bottle, and any other valuables you don’t want to fish around for. The frame is also incredibly versatile, with flexible joints and anti-slip foot pads so you can set up your spot the way you want and stay that way.
The nylon mesh is also designed to stand up to the elements and dries quick, so you won’t have to worry about it getting puddle water splash on it or a sudden downpour. But should that rain storm hit, you’re also going to want a quick getaway, which this chair is made for—it folds up in less than a minute, and folds up into a convenient carrying bag that only weighs around six pounds altogether.