This past weekend I had an amazing time at WayHome, my first three-day music festival with overnight camping. While I was a little nervous a few nights before the drive to Burl’s Creek Event Grounds to set up camp, I quickly learned they were for nothing as I embraced the weekend’s dirt, sweat and happy tears. If you’re heading to a camping music festival, here’s what you should know to ensure you have a fantastic time. I learned a few of these the hard way, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Tip 1 :: Be Prepared For Short Nights & Long Days
As the sun rises, so do the festival junkies. While I love getting up early to ensure you get the most of your day – I’m not a fan when my bed time was 2am. Be sure to bring some ear plugs and an eye mask to help keep the noise and sun at bay until either nature calls or the rest of your crew decides it’s time for breakfast. Oh, and enjoy the calm before the storm hits!
Tip 2 :: You Probably Won’t See All The Performances You Want
While you can hope for the best of running from stage to stage to see all the acts you’re dying to hear, chances are you won’t make it to all of them. Whether it be due to a scheduling conflict or just generally losing track of time, don’t get down on yourself about it. Make note of all of your must-see artists, and then your would-be-nice artists. Chances are you’ll be skipping a few of the latter, either to get out of the heat or to rest your feet before the next boogie session.
Tip 3 :: Want To Get Close To The Front? Show Up At Least 30min Early
Depending on set times and how popular the artist you want to see is, plan your time accordingly if you want to be as up close and personal as possible. It may even require you to come to another artist’s set so you can make your way to the front as they finish up. Trust me though, it’ll be worth it when you get waves & winks from your favourite performers! Plus you just might discover someone else you like while waiting!
Tip 4 :: Take Note Of Shaded Areas
In the heat of the moment in seeing your favourite performers doing their thing, you’ll forget just how sweltering the sun can be. It’s very important to escape the sun’s wrath, so take note of trees, buildings, anything that can give you some reprieve from the UV rays – you’ll thank yourself later for it!
Tip 5 :: Naps Are The Key To Survival
For the times when the short nights, heat and overall excitement compound on each other – there’s always nap time. Another reason to scope out some shade! Chances are at some point during the weekend, you’ll need to head back to camp for a chance to decompress and catch a few Zs so you’re refreshed and full of energy for those late night performances you don’t want to miss.
Tip 6 :: Keep A Sarong or Scarf On You At All Times
These babies come in handy for a variety of things. If you can’t manage to find some shade, you can make your own to help prevent heat stroke and sunburn. They’re also great for the times you want to lay down on the grass and relax while listening to an artist jam on stage. You’ll also be reaching for it as the sun sets to keep yourself warm.
Tip 7 :: Don’t Be Afraid To Overpack
At the same time though, don’t pack everything and the kitchen sink. You might wonder if you really need everything you’ve packed, and chances are you won’t. However, you may be surprised by just how much you use. I packed a few extra outfits for the weekend, and there was only about 1 set of clothing that I didn’t touch from the 8 that I brought along. Also be sure to pack a range of clothing – the summer nights can still get chilly!
Tip 8 :: Have Some Extra Toilet Paper Around
While WayHome did an amazing job of keeping the toilets clean, there were still a few times that you’d be caught with your pants down. Little tissue packs are great for this, and can be a great substitute for wet wipes if you add some water.
Tip 9 :: Purchase a Solar Charger
Since most festivals nowadays have an app that includes a map, the schedule, and other key festival information, it’s great to keep your phone charged to have all this information at your fingertips. This $25 device I got on Amazon was the reason I stayed in the loop all weekend long, and you can leave it to charge all day while you’re dancing away!
Tip 10 :: Wet Wipes Are Your Best Friend
Always have a travel pack of these bad boys in your pocket or purse. There’s always a chance the portable toilets will be super scary, so it’s good to have something to disinfect and generally make your overall being feel a little cleaner. Also, the next time you spill your sticky cider on yourself? Your wipes will have you covered.
Tip 11 :: Missing Something? Ask Your Neighbour
Let’s face it, we’re bound to forget something. Luckily there are TONS of people around that you can ask for help! Don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbours and see if they have what you’ve forgotten that you can borrow or exchange for something they may not have. Mosquito coils make a good bargaining tool, along with the obvious one – beer!
Tip 12 :: You’ll Always Need More Ice
The sun will always wreak havoc on your coolers, so you’ll have to keep topping them up with ice to keep all your food and drinks cold. Expect to fill them up at least once a day – possibly twice depending on how hot it is that day. A great way to keep things cool at first is using frozen bottles of water. This way you have lots of refreshingly cool H2O to keep you hydrated throughout the course of the weekend!
Is there anything you’ve learned that you can add to this list? Have you been to a camping music festival? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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