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Camping at Music Festivals is the holy grail of having the most epic weekend. Why? Let me tell you…
Ah, festival season. It’s finally upon us. It’s finally time for the flowers to bloom, the weather to improve, and for all of us to flock to large open fields in carefully planned outfits to live in a dream world for three days at a time. We await our favorite festival(s) all year and anxiously anticipate and look forward to them, planning everything out to a tee to make for a perfect weekend. You want to take any restrictions off of your ability to get the most out of the weekend, and the way to do that is to never actually leave the festival experience at all.
…what? How do you do that?! If the festival has camping, you CAMP. Camping at Music Festivals is the only way to get the most out of the experience!
Most festivals have their camping right outside the grounds, where people are free to set up their belongings for three+ days to make a temporary little home. What once was an open field becomes a miniature city, as thousands of happy festival-goers fill into their slots with tents, coolers, sound systems, tables, dance floors, outdoor games, and good vibes. When you camp, you put yourself in the perfect position to get the most out of the festival, and you never really actually leave. Even if you have a great group, an awesome hotel, or rent a nice house, nothing can compare to what can happen if you place yourself smack dab in the middle of the madness for the whole weekend. Camping at music festivals could be the best decision you make for your weekend, and if you still aren’t convinced, here are some more reasons why.
One small slice of our camping setup at Lightning in a Bottle Festival. Read my LIB Review/Guide Here!
When you Camp at Music Festivals, You Meet People. Everywhere.
In the camping spot next to you, in line for the showers, at morning yoga, walking around at night, while brushing your teeth in the morning…. camping at music festivals allows you to meet more awesome people than just the group you came with. Festival vibes, I would argue, are the happiest vibes of all time. Everyone who is there is always genuinely stoked to be there to have the weekend of their life, and the happiness just flows from everyone’s pores like a tangible buzzing energy. When energy is like this you vibe with pretty much everyone, exchanging smiles, chants, and song with anyone you pass along the campground in the morning.
When camping at music festivals, you are completely surrounded by thousands of like-minded people when you camp at festivals, who all have the exact same purpose being there as you. I can’t think of any other situation in life where this is true! When you and 10,000+ other happy humans are in the same space, you can’t help but meet lots of them. Everyone at festivals has the same purpose but a different story, and are eager to share it with others. I’ve joined into other campers beer pong games in the mornings and invited passerbys to come into our site to have their arms painted, and actually have become good friends with people I met in line for the showers! Meeting the campers next to you goes without saying, and by the third day you nearly always form a big, cohesive crew with those who used to be strangers in the tents around you. This goes for any festival – I really do have best friends today that I have met by happening to camp next to them at a festival.
Camping at Music Festivals Means You Never Leave the Experience
When you camp at a festival, instead of having the experience be fragmented into three separate parts from when you arrive on the grounds to when you leave each day, it becomes one huge, awesome, continuous event. Being at the festival doesn’t have to end each day when you go back to the same place with the same people, with your experience contingent upon the moods of only those you are staying with. If you camp, you’re fully immersed into the festival experience 100% of the time. You are always open to meeting new people and doing new things, without limiting yourself only certain time periods to have all the fun.
Proximity to Other People You May or May Not Know
Aside from being close enough to meet other awesome people, camping at music festivals allows you to be close to people you already know as well. Campsites are often just a quick walk apart, and you can go over to your friend’s camp in the next lot to join their pregame one day, and have them come over to make breakfast with you the next. You can even make a morning round to see different people and their friends in different lots/camp sites before going back to spend time at yours. Festival camping is a uniquely social experience, and you’re only a walk away from any people or places you would like to be at all times.
Just your normal morning at any campground I am at – face painting! This was Lost Village in the UK – Read my Guide here.
Shared Experience with Other Music Festival Campers
Like I pointed it above, everyone in the campgrounds is there for the same reason: to have a good time. Each and every person is roughing it a little and living without their usual comforts in exchange for an epic weekend, and sharing this slightly more dirty and public tent life with the others around them. The shared experience of living so close to one another brings people together, and intensifies the effect of making friends with those around you who are going through the same thing. You’re all in this camping at music festivals thing together and will make sure you have a good time, help each other out, and join in each other’s fun.
If You Do Camping at Music Festivals Right, You Can Live LARGE.
Most arguments against camping come from people who were very ill prepared for the festival they went to. If you bring the correct supplies and stake out a good area, you can create your own little camping haven. If you get a big group to create a large area or claim multiple spots next to each other, there are no limits to how awesome you can make your area or how luxuriously you can live from a tent (or car too, depending on the fest). Food is a big thing that can make or break your experience; bring enough to make real meals and a cooler so things keep for the weekend. Many festivals even have grocery stores where you can pick up supplies and ice to keep food cool. Bringing little barbecues, grills, or just a fire and a pan is a great option, with the amazing possibility of making a homemade egg, bacon, or sausage breakfast, or snacks at the end of the day. It is also important to bring shade, with an extra shade over your tent preferable (easy-up, rigged tarp, etc) to keep cool. I have found that mini tables, mats for the floor, and definitely many folding chairs are really helpful, and of course lots of water and a cooler of cold beer (but in cans of course- no glass allowed!). If you do it right, you can live larger from a tent while camping at music festivals than from a hotel room!
The Party Ends When You Want it To
If you stay elsewhere, the night pretty much ends when the last band/dj finishes their last song and you all file out of the exit. You can go back and continue the party at your hotel or somewhere else, but you are limited to the space and people you have there. When camping at music festivals, if you’re tired, you can throw in your earplugs and crash at any point that you want – even before the music is over! If you aren’t, you can set out and adventure late into the night. You can find friends’ campsites to visit, you can attend after-hours events that some festivals have (holla at you, silent discos and 24 hour stages!), you can join in the party tent you passed by earlier who brought a DJ, or you can follow where the nearest loud music is coming from and make new friends. And, because of good festival vibes, people will most always happily have you at their tent party.
Last year at one festival I ended up at a glow-paint dance party slash dodgeball game at 2am, doing glow paint designs on strangers between dance moves. At another festival, we ended up playing games and getting into random shenanigans for the whole last night with our new friends from the tents around us. There is no question in my mind that these turns of events could NOT have occurred if we weren’t camping at the festival, because I would have been back at my hotel doing much more boring things or worrying about finding a cab back. Camping opens up new doors for night time activities, and provides the ability to go back and eat, put on your warm clothes, and relax for a bit at your tent at night if you want. Or, you can just recoup before heading back into the venue or out to find what after-hours goodies your festival has to offer.
Camping Areas at Music Festivals DO Have Showers.
When I tell people I camp, so many say “ugh wow, I just could not go that long without a shower!” Well, I couldn’t either!! I have yet to camp at a music festival that doesn’t have very decent showers in the campgrounds, totally adequate for even a girl like myself. Some festivals have the showers open late so you can wash off after a long crazy day. They usually have mirrors and plugs and places to brush your teeth or do your hair; we pay enough money for these weekends for them to provide great living conditions, especially for campers.
They Always Have Cool Amenities in the Campgrounds
If a festival has the option to camp, it will (generally always) provide for its campers. From food stands and trucks to morning yoga to arts and crafts tents to having its own grocery stores, bakeries, clothing shops, hookah lounges, and radio stations (okay, maybe the last few are just Tomorrowland, but I can’t be sure…) you can be confident that you can get what you need in the campgrounds. If you forget something, chances are you’ll be able to find it and much more in what is offered to you in the camp area alone. It’s always fun to have a good explore of the vast camping areas to see what each festival may have. There are often interactive areas for festival-goers to take part in different artsy activities or have their hair or makeup done or see displays of art and sculpture. These amenities are usually not convenient to be explored by people who stay remotely, who are always in a rush to get into the festival when they arrive on the grounds each day.
Never Waiting or Delay to Go In For Those Camping at Music Festivals
“I’m going into the festival!” “Ok see ya later, I still need to get ready.” “No worries, I’ll probably come back to camp later to get some rest and grab my shirt.”
This is a normal conversation for those who camp. Those with other accommodation must wait until their whole group has gotten ready (we all know girls need some extra time… These outfits have been in the works for months!), finished pregaming, gotten out of the house/hotel, waited for the uber/taxi/shuttle, finished walking from the drop off point, and dealt with any other complications that may arise during this process. And, there inevitably will be a few. By this point, you probably will have missed a few acts that you were looking forward to, and will have wished you just stayed in a quaint little tent a two minute walk from the entrance, next to dozens of old and new friends.
No Waiting to Go Home At Night
Everything I just said goes on the way home too, possibly even more so. You’re tired after an entire day of dancing and probably minimal eating, and there’s nothing you want more than to relax and sit down. Unfortunately, you must find your friends, wait in a huge long line for shuttles or cabs, and slowly make your way home. This is death, especially after the 3rd day, and you will again be wishing you could just walk a few hundred yards to your little camp sanctuary.
More of my festival guides where you can read my guide and all my tips for camping (besides the ones cited in my captions above):
- Sziget Festival
- Joshua Tree Music Festival
- Coachella Music & Arts Festival
- Southbound Music Festival
- Tomorrowland Music Festival
- And more!
I literally cannot stress enough the impact that camping at music festivals has had on my experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way, even when I get woken up by the Germans across from me blasting awful electro at 8am or when I wake up in a bit of a sweat after sleeping into the hotter hours of the day. It is ALL part of the experience, and what makes the weekend complete and cohesive. And by the way, we eventually befriended the crazy Germans and are still good friends with them… It always ends well in the campground 🙂
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