TIPS FOR FESTIVAL CAMPING
I haven’t been to loads of festivals or outdoor concerts, but I have been to enough to know what kinds of mistakes it is easy to make when attending festivals that allow for roughing it with a tent over the event. While every event is different, there are a few pointers I can share from experience, and that includes finding out the hard way. These tips are not in any particular order as some of them need action or knowledge at the same time.
READ BEFORE YOU BUY
With all the hype that surrounds many outdoor festivals, it is easy to jump straight in and grab your tickets online before they sell out. Do you know what you are buying into? If you haven’t read the rules and regulations of the event, you don’t. Always read the festival website carefully. Furthermore, I’d have to recommend that you do further research on the festival or event outside of the official website. Events and festivals generally repeat yearly, and unless you are going to a festival that is in its first year, there will be plenty of sources to find out what you can expect.
The rules and regulations of the event will have a significant impact on your experience. From planning what you take, your budget and even your tickets in the case the event is cancelled. I found this out the hard way when I turned up to a festival fully packed with my tent and esky only to find out that food and drink items, even cigarettes were prohibited on entry – you had to buy what you ate, drank or smoked (in the most part).
On another occasion, I found out I could not go out and get back in.
Once you are fully aware of what you can and can’t do, you can plan what to take.
KNOW THE EVENT MANAGEMENT COMPANY
You might think that getting to know the event company is a little extreme, but this is the kind of information that will tell you the calibre and reliability of services provided during the event, which also includes the level of customer care. The event sponsors are another good indicator of the level of professionalism to be expected.
ALLOW FOR EXTRA CASH
I don’t know what it is about festivals and outdoor events, but I’ve always spent more than I expected. If you can’t take your own food and drinks, you can expect to pay higher prices for what you need inside the event. I haven’t experienced anything at outdoor festivals and events that comes close to airport prices, but nothing is cheap, that is for sure. It’s good to have a backup just in case something doesn’t go as planned, or the costs along the way are a little higher than you expected. You might see a t-shirt you just have to have, for example. I recommend adding at least 20% to your original budget.
So, that’s 20% or more on your total budget plus your tickets. Have that money ready in cash. You can’t count on any ATMs or other payment methods unless the organisers have specified otherwise.
GET THERE EARLY
Just because you can set up a camping tent at an outdoor event or festival doesn’t mean that everyone will. However, you can be sure that those who are smart enough to set up a home base will be getting there early. If you want a good position for your tent, even if it means lining up, get there early, or you will end up with the worst spot, or even worse, without any place to put your tent at all. If you are in a group, you want to make sure that you can all set up a base camp together.
TAKE A BIGGER TENT
If you are two people, take a four-person tent. There is a good chance you will be hanging out in your tent more than you are jumping around in front of the stage when the event lasts for anything more than 24 hours. And many festivals and outdoor events can go for days. A light-weight three or four-person dome tent is perfect for two people when hanging out. Private space to hang out comfortably is a great way to enjoy the entertainment without being a part of the crowd. There will be times you will want some space, trust me. Staying in a tent at a festival is not the same as using a tent when you are on a hectic hiking schedule, that is for sure.
KNOW THE SCHEDULE
Most music festivals have several stages and entertainment areas operating at the same time. Unless you go alone, it is a good idea to have a good look at the schedule and know who wants to go see who. You are bound to run into some conflicts, and compromises are to be expected if you’re going to hang out together. Changes to schedules are pretty much standard, so it helps to be flexible with your options too.
LEAVING YOUR TENT
At some time or another, whether you are a couple, a few or a group, you are going to leave your tent and your belongings without supervision.
Take a good look around, so you know where you are. Some type of marker or flag on your tent will also help you find your way back. It can be difficult even in the middle of the day with so many tents looking the same.
Some festivals and outdoor concerts have paid staff to monitor the camping areas, but that doesn’t guarantee your belongings are secure. The best thing you can do is bring as little as possible, and don’t show off valuable items if you did bring them. The next option is to bring a small padlock so you can lock the zipper on your tent. It’s not much protection, but it does serve as an annoyance for would-be thieves. They are more likely to enter a tent that is left wide open.
Leaving a festival/outdoor event is one of those things you do early or late. I am keen on getting wrapped up and getting out of there before the wave of human traffic becomes a tsunami.
Other than that, use your common sense, keep your wits about you, stay hydrated, have a good time and be prepared to line up for everything you need. It’s all a part of the experience. Take your time and enjoy.
Is there anything else you can add? Share your thoughts below.