Camping festivals are a world of their own. They are my favorite; the vibes are unbeatable, and the party never stops. As a result of my obsessing for the next camp out, I prep early and excessively. As a result, here are some tips learned through trial and error. There’s a LOT to be said about camping fests, so I’m going to try to brief and keep an eye out for more in the future! Here are some words of advice focused on picking a campsite, sleeping soundly, and bringing food.
The dreaded entry line:
Get gas and try to go to the bathroom before waiting in the car search line. It’s always nice to bring something fun to play with your car neighbors (or just start a dance party while you wait). Be friendly to the person searching your vehicle; he or she is just doing his job. Different festivals vary in rules for what you can bring, so check out their lists of prohibited items beforehand.
Meet your neighbors! This is so important for good vibes, forgotten items, and tent security. I always bring a small gift like kandi or offerings of braids or face paintings to get the ball rolling.
Sanctuary at Euphoria Fest
If you have a choice, find shade. Try to figure out where East is, and realize the Sun will rise that way, so plant a nice tree between you and that angle of ascent. Also, place a tarp under your tent. It helps buffer the ground, and it will be crucial if it rains to prevent getting your tent bottom muddy.
A lot of festivals have strict space requirements, so if you can pack a shade, table, and chairs- solid! But if not, even bringing a few yoga mats is a nice convenient way to set up shop whenever you and your group want a few minutes to nom your morning breakfast. Also, let’s talk about lighting! You want to be careful with this; if you’re in the middle of the forest, like at Backwoods Music Festival, your night lights can attract all of the surrounding bugs to your front zip-door. However, at other festivals where camping is on open land, some lighting can be glorious for ambiance or just to spot your site from afar. I recommend either solar powered stake lights you can put at the entrance or pretty fairy lights (like Christmas lights) that are solar powered to wrap around your area. Within your tent, you can set a chill mood and have a nightlight by buying battery-operated led candles. These are a real game changer. Also, decorate and attract your neighbors with some tapestries, which can double as a shade.
Sleeping (somewhat) soundly:
This can be difficult. These festivals are LOUD because the party never stops. Bring earplugs- you will need them. If you bring a big container of them, you will be loved. Don’t forget a sleeping mask or something to cover your eyes in the morning. If it’s hot, the sun will wake you, and you may want to finish your dreams from the comfort of a hammock. Air mattresses are really wonderful, but they can be heavy and tough to inflate. I highly recommend a sleeping pad or a tri-fold (they’re like those nap foldouts you used as a kid). If the weather gets very cold at night, an air mattress will cool significantly, so bring a blanket to layer on top of it.
This can be so tricky. I don’t like to bring things that need to be cooked, and I bring a minimal amount of items that need to be kept cold. I recommend buying some juice and freezing it the night before you leave to use as ice in your cooler and to consume as a refreshment. You can apply this freezing strategy to lots of fruits or summer sausage. I like to bring the simple PB & J and gold fish. If I’m feeling really jazzed (and my cooler size permits), I’ll bring strawberries, watermelon, chicken salad, and croissants. If you have that friend in your rave fam that tends to eat everything in site at 3 AM, warning: your chicken salad may not make it to Saturday.
You are going to get dirty, fast. Bring a towel if you need to desperately wash that hair and use a festival shower or bring a solar shower; otherwise, embrace your inner wook. Keep applying deodorant, and take baby wipe baths. Morning and night, try to wipe down all of your crevices, maybe get a brush through your hair, and deceive yourself that you took a shower by painting your face again. Bring a hoo-rag or bandana to tie around your face to avoid inhaling too much kicked up dust walking to and from the festival.
Additional packing necessities I must mention include: sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, cooler(s), tent, rain fly, sleeping bag, pillow, socks, led lantern, towel, water, utensils, flashlight, bike lock (for your tent).
So many friendships await at these events. If you forget something, it’s very likely a neighbor will help you out. Try to sleep some, drink lots of water, and pace yourself because the adventures are endless, and it is a marathon. Keep spreading your good vibes and happy camping!
Camping festival ambiance | photo from fest300.com