Phone Theft at Music Festivals Is a Serious Problem — Here’s How to Prevent It

Phone Theft music festivals

Photo Credit: Mikaela Shannon

Phone theft remains a serious problem at music festivals.

As music festivals return in a big way in 2022, with droves of attendees eager to be out and about, phone theft has also remained a significant issue at these events. With phones costing $1000 and nearly every festival goer carrying one, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel for thieves.

Many people might think they’ll be vigilant enough to protect themselves from theft and that even if their phone got stolen, it would be useless without their passcode or fingerprint. Fewer people passcode protect their phones than you might expect, and vigilance is difficult to maintain once the alcohol starts to flow. 

Some thieves make it out of music festivals with over a hundred stolen phones; many of these are then moved internationally to be sold as parts or used off-network, so whether they’re passcode protected or not quickly becomes irrelevant. Festival goers have reported that practiced phone thieves will even try to scam their marks out of their password or additional information after stealing their phone.

Even keeping your phone in hand the entire time you’re out can lead to someone knocking it out of your hand — purposely or accidentally — and someone grabbing it while it’s on the ground. Keeping your phone in your bag is another solution thieves bypass by slashing the bag while you’re distracted and taking whatever falls out.

While no solution is foolproof, there are several steps you can take to make yourself a less appealing target to potential phone thieves. Keeping your phone out of your pocket or easy-to-reach bag, such as keeping it in your car or a locker, and carrying less stuff can go a long way toward protecting yourself and your belongings. Watching your alcohol intake and other vices while at a festival can help you maintain a watchful eye, so thieves are less apt to take advantage of you.

If you need to keep your phone on you, investing in a phone or wallet leash can help ensure that pickpocketing attempts against you are unsuccessful. Set up Find My (Apple) or Find My Device (Google) beforehand so you can easily track it if your device does get stolen. Never give out any passwords, and back up pictures and other data from your phone to the cloud just in case.

Some events and venues have lockers to protect valuables, but many will stress that they are not held responsible for lost or stolen valuables. Still, contacting the festival organizer or venue to ask about what steps they’re taking to help reduce property theft can help raise awareness of the issue’s prevalence. While music lovers return to regularly attending live events, it’s important to remember that personal safety should always remain a priority.