I’m back with Part II of my Q&A with Michael Pingel. Today we’ve got some great suggestions for those of you who are heading out to camping festivals this year. We know you’re already brave enough to sleep in the elements for a few days, but why risk forgetting anything when these tips could make your weekend great!
Michael hanging out at his fully-stocked campsite during Wakarusa 2010 in Arkansas.
JF: You’ve already shared some great tips for daytime festivals – but what about the ones where fans will camp overnight?
MP: For the most part, these festivals are held in remote locations, and unless you want to become a scavenger by the last day you’d better be overly prepared. If you think you’ll go through a case of bottled water, pack two. If you think you’ll change your socks and drawers once a day, pack another pair just in case. There are also questions you must ask yourself before departing:
- Where will I sleep? Tent camping is most common, but also the least comfortable, and chances of sleeping in are slim to none. Most festivals include tent camping in the admission fee, and some offer a VIP upgrade to a location that may offer more relief from the elements. Most also offer limited RV camping, but passes sell out quickly. RV is the way to go if you want to enjoy comfort while you’re there.
- How will I feed myself? Vending options tend to resemble a local county fair. If bringing your own food, check the festival website to ensure small grills are allowed – most do not allow open fire pits. Also, make sure you have a plan to keep your perishable goods fresh. Ice is typically available in the campgrounds, but melts fast. A quick trip to a dry ice factory will save your bacon and eggs come Sunday morning.
- Will I be camping near my car? If the festival doesn’t allow you to park near your campsite you’ll want to bring something with wheels (wagon, wheel barrel, dolly, etc.) to move your gear. If you can park and camp in the same location, be careful that your car doesn’t get blocked in. You never know when an emergency trip to the nearest Wal-Mart or 7-11 will be necessary.
- Where’s the nearest convenience store? If I was a betting man, I’d bet more than 75% of festival attendees will make at least one run to the store for something they ran out of or forgot. Use your favorite online mapping application to locate these spots.
- How will I recharge my electronics? You’ll be in the middle of nowhere, so will you really need to stay in touch with anyone not at the festival? If you absolutely need to connect with the outside world, consider portable charging devices that use batteries, and buy a lot of batteries. Car chargers work, but the last thing you want is to drain your car battery charging a cell phone.
JF: Those are definitely helpfully things to keep in mind! Are there any other things you’d recommend for the overnighters?
MP: Absolutely! Other very important things to remember:
- A campsite identifier – There is nothing that will turn a great day of music into a miserable night of wandering if you can’t locate your tent. Take some time to build a 10-12-foot pole and attach a unique flag to it. The most important part is to remember what flag you put on the pole. Make sure yours is unique!
- Potable and non-potable water – Most festivals offer showers or bathing options for campers. There is usually a small fee for these facilities and lines can be very long. Bring a large jug of water to dump on your head so you can avoid the fees and lines. You’re just going to get dirty again, so why bother showering?
- Flashlight/lantern/head light – It’s going to get dark while at the festival and there are many trip hazards on the grounds. An injury will be the biggest buzz kill at a festival.
- Chair/hammock/stool – You probably won’t be able to bring a lounging device into the actual concert area, but you’ll need a place to take a load off at your campsite. Build some rest time into your day so you can make it to the late night shows and dance the night away.
JF: Any last tips you have for those heading out to festivals this year?
MP: Yes, make sure you have a full tank of gas! Chances are very strong that there will be a line of cars waiting to get into the grounds and you’ll be in traffic for a long time. Fill your tank before you get in this line of traffic. You won’t want to hear your car chugging for gas when you want to leave. Jumper cables are also handy.
Thanks to Michael for his really helpful tips. Hopefully this will help you find even more enjoyment at your music festival of choice this year.