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 a few days at a time.
We await our favorite festival(s) all year and anxiously anticipate them, planning everything out in order to make for a perfect weekend.
You want to remove any restrictions from 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.
Most festivals have 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 in 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 could happen if you placed yourself smack dab in the middle of the madness for the whole weekend.
Camping could be the best decision you make for your festival weekend, and if you still aren’t convinced, here are some more reasons why:
1. 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 allows you to meet more awesome people than just the group you came with.
I would argue festival vibes are the happiest vibes ever. Everyone who is there is genuinely stoked to be there, to have the weekend of his or her 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 songs with anyone you pass around the campground in the morning.
You are completely surrounded by thousands of like-minded people who all have the exact same purpose of being there as you. I can’t think of any other situation in life where this is true.
When you and 10,000 plus other happy humans are in the same space, you can't help but meet many of them.
Everyone at festivals has the same purpose, but a different story, and is eager to share it with others.
I've joined into other campers' beer pong games in the mornings and have actually 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 who I met when I happened to camp next to them at a festival.
2. 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, 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.
If you camp, you're fully immersed in the festival experience 100 percent of the time.
3. Proximity To Other People
Aside from being close enough to meet other awesome people, camping also allows you to be close to people you already know.
Campsites are often just a quick walk apart, and you can go over to your friend’s camp in the next lot to join his or her pregame one day, and have then have him or her 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 sites before going back to spend time at yours.
Festival camping is a uniquely social experience, and you’re only a walk away from other people and places.
4. Shared Experience
Each and every person is roughing it a little and living without his or her usual comforts in exchange for an epic weekend.
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 together and will make sure you have a good time, help each other out and join in each other’s fun.
5. If You Do It 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 festival).
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.
It is also important to bring shade (easy-up, rigged tarp, etc) to keep cool. I have found that mini tables, mats for the floor and 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 than from a hotel room!
6. The Party Ends When You Want It To
If you stay elsewhere, the night pretty much ends when the last band/DJ finishes the final song and you all file out toward 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 who are there.
When camping, if you're tired, you can throw in your earplugs and crash at any point you want.
If you aren't, you can set out and adventure. You can find friends' campsites to visit, attend after-hours events that some festivals have (shout out to Silent Disco!), join in the party tent, where you passed by earlier, 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 likely always happily have you at their tent party.
There is no question in my mind that these events could not have occurred if we weren’t camping 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 nighttime activities, and provides the ability to go back and eat, put on your warm clothes and relax for a bit at your tent before heading back out to find what after-hours goodies your festival has to offer.
7. They DO Have Showers
When I tell people I camp, so many say, "I just could not go that long without a shower!” Well, I couldn't either!! I have yet to go to a festival that doesn't offer very decent showers on the campgrounds. They are totally adequate, even for a girl like me.
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 that should more than be able provide great living conditions, which thankfully, they do.
8. They Always Have Cool Amenities On The Campgrounds
If a festival offers the option to camp, it will provide for its campers.
From food stands and trucks to morning yoga and arts and crafts tents to having its own grocery stores, you can be confident that you can get what you need within the campgrounds.
If you forget something, chances are you’ll be able to find it and much more.
It’s always fun to explore the vast camping areas to see what each festival may offer.
There are often interactive areas for festival-goers to take part in different artsy activities, have their hair or makeup done or see displays of art and sculpture.
These amenities are usually not convenient for people who stay remotely, or who are always in a rush to get into the festival when they arrive on the grounds each day.
9. Never Waiting Or Delay To Go In
"I'm going into the festival!" "Okay, 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 accommodations must wait until their whole group gets ready (we all know girls need some extra time; these outfits have been in the works for months!)
By this point, you probably will have missed a few acts that you looked forward to and will have wished you just stayed in a quaint little tent that's a two-minute walk from the entrance.
10. No Waiting To Go Home At Night
Everything I just said goes for 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 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 third day, and you will again be wishing you could just walk a few hundred yards to your little camp sanctuary.
I cannot stress enough the impact that camping has had on my festival experience. I wouldn't have it any other way, even when I got woken up by the Germans across from me, blasting awful music at 8 am or when I woke 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.
Things always end well within the campgrounds.