So, you’re going to a camping music festival!
Camping music festivals are so much fun, but they can also be really overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been to one before. If you’ve been to a music festival in a city, then you have an idea of what to expect. However, I learned that camping adds a whole new and different experience!
Please don’t let the idea of camping scare you! I had only really been camping once before, and let’s just say the experience didn’t leave me itching to do it again. Somehow, though, camping at music festivals is now one of my favorite parts of the whole experience!
There are a lot of things I wish I knew before my first camping music festival, so I’ve listed a few of them out here to help you prepare better and ensure that you have an amazing experience!
- Do Your Research And Be Prepared
Whether or not you prepare properly can make or break your experience. You can survive, and will probably even still have a good time, if you don’t plan ahead and prepare, but you will be much happier and more comfortable if you do.
Start planning early! The official festival website is a great place to start. There is usually information concerning what the campsite options are, how much space you will have, if you can camp with your car, what you can and can’t bring, and sometimes even lists of what you should definitely bring. Other good resources include Pinterest, YouTube, Reddit, Google, and anywhere else you can learn from someone who has done it before.
There are several things I would recommend looking into when you’re researching. What is the weather and temperature like? If it’s hot during the day, does it get cold at night? Find out if you should bring rain gear, extra stakes or weights to hold your tent down if it gets windy, what kind of camping setup works best for that festival, what kind of food is offered, and so on. There is so much information out there so take advantage of it!
- Pack Wisely
While you’re researching, make a list of what you think you will need to bring! This will prevent you from forgetting anything at home, or leaving anything behind at the festival. If you don’t want to go through all the time and effort to make a comprehensive packing list, just print out the one I made for you.
Be smart about what you pack. It can be easy to overpack, but it’s such a hassle when you get there if you have a lot more stuff than you need. Think about the basic camping and food supplies you will need, and then be realistic about how much extra things you want to deal with.
For example, I like to bring a plastic woven mat to put under my canopy. It stays clean if it rains, and it’s way more comfortable to walk or sit on than the grass, but it’s really not necessary. I also like to sleep on an air mattress, while my sister likes to sleep on a cot, and some people are more comfortable in a hammock, or simply in a sleeping bag on the ground.
Some people like to bring the bare minimum, some like to have a full glamping experience, and some like something in the middle, so think about what kind of experience you’re looking for!
Also, decide if you’re going to buy most of your meals from vendors, or if you’re going to make most of your meals and will need to bring cooking supplies. After totally overpacking food one time, I learned that I don’t need a lot of meals, and prefer to bring healthy snacks and then buy a meal from a vendor if I need it.
- Prepare To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
If you’ve never camped before, then that alone might be a big step out of your comfort zone, but camping at a music festival really creates an awesome community aspect. Once you set up your site, your camp neighbors will be right there next to you all four or five days!
As an introvert, this is something that made me nervous, but it can be fun to meet all different types of people! However, you’re really free to be as social as you’re comfortable with, and no one will give you trouble for it. You may or may not click with all of your neighbors, but still be kind and helpful if you can!
Try introducing yourself right away or once you have your site set up, and offer to help anyone around you if they look like they need it. Maybe pack a few extra snacks or drinks to share if you would like. When you’re waiting for a show to start, chat with the people around you, or when you’re wandering, compliment someone or ask who they’re excited to see.
You can also get out of your comfort zone with your clothing! Music festivals are an awesome opportunity to express yourself without fear of judgement! You don’t have to go crazy, but it’s fun to put effort into creative costumes or outfits. Depending on the festival you go to, you may see people in costumes, rave outfits, swimsuits, or even wearing nothing but glitter and a smile. Outfits and costumes can be great conversation starters, so do a little looking on Pinterest and Instagram to see what people wear to the festival you’re going to!
- Know Your Limits And Prioritize Your Health
This is so important! So many people don’t realize how dangerous it can be if you don’t take care of yourself at a music festival.
The most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated! If you don’t drink very much water, start upping your intake a few weeks before the festival, so you get used to it. Bring a hydration pack or reusable water bottles that you can carry with you at all times. Bring drinks with electrolytes, or even electrolyte tablets to put in your water. Alcohol is dehydrating, so wait until the sun goes down and drink responsibly! Remember that a camping festival is a marathon, so pace yourself!
I also recommend you start working out if you don’t already, because you will be so active at the festival and it will be a lot easier if you’ve built up some endurance. This really is my least favorite thing, but I know it’ll be worth it when I’m at the festival and can be active all day without feeling like I’m actually dying.
You should also look into what medical services are in place at the festival and where the medical tents are located ahead of time, just in case.
- Go With The Flow
As much as I wish I could map out my weekend at a music festival and be able to stick to my plan, it just doesn’t work that way.
Depending on how many shows you want to see, it is likely that you will not make it to quite a few of them. Plan a few top priority shows each day, and then just go with the flow from there. I have tried to split sets and see every single artist I wanted to, and I ended up feeling like I missed out on really getting into the shows and having fun.
In my opinion, it’s not worth trying to see half of two conflicting sets, unless they are long sets, or both major favorites and you really can’t let one of them go. You end up not getting as into the set, not getting a very good spot, and doing a lot more running around than you would if you had just picked one. Think about if you can see one of the artists at another time, if one of them tours more than the other, or if one is smaller and might return to the festival in a couple years.
Don’t be afraid to stand in the back so you can come and go easier for lower priority shows, you don’t have to be on the rail to have a good time! You truly never know what’s going to come up or how the day is going to go, so try not to expect to hold onto a strict schedule and see every single artist, because then you will probably feel disappointed.
- Radiate Positivity!
This is the mantra of my favorite camping music festival, Bonnaroo! Hopefully it goes without saying, but treat everyone with kindness. You will have more fun, and the people around you will have more fun! Plus, when you’re kind, you’ll receive kindness in return! Don’t push people around, or shove others away to try to get a slightly better spot. Help a stranger if they look like they need it, and be aware of your actions and how you’re affecting the experience of the people around you!
These are just a few of the most important things you should know to be prepared for your first camping music festival! If you are prepared and know what to expect, you can worry less and have a lot more fun. Once you go to your first camping festival, you will understand why they are so popular and you will want to keep going back!
What music fetivals are you going to (or do you want to go to) this year?