There are some words of advice I can offer to those who are new to the festival scene or who would like new ideas on how to pack your life and comforts for a camping festival. Some of the listed tidbits of advice has been from experience over the 6 years I’ve been attending transformational festivals.
- You must be self reliant! Hippies that put on the festivals are notorious for bad organization. There could be ridiculously long lines at the will call, janky water spouts, maps that are not distributed, rules that aren’t enforced etc. To counter all of the confusing chaos the organizers had created, you must prepare. Make sure you pack snacks for long lines. Either while in your car or in a dusty long line,you wouldn’t want to have nothing to feed the hangry monster within. Bring your own water. Sometimes the water is questionable at festivals. One broken pipe or punched hose could lead to gross water or no water. Never be caught without water. Always have a map and necessary directions as a back up on either in your phone or a print out. There is usually no cell service so make sure to screenshot important info. And help the influx of manageable scrapes, cuts, and blisters at the med tent. Bring your own first aid supplies, along with OTC medications. And don’t forget sunscreen!
- Bring your own food. On a budget? This is absolutely necessary! Festie food is usually healthy and indulgent. A great treat once or twice during a festival. But what about the entire weekend? It can add up quick. If you are working the event and don’t know if you have commissary, don’t assume you will be fed. If you have special diet or have gotten sick in the past from something you ate at a festival, don’t trust others to prepare your food. Do it for yourself. If you have extra food, share! Sharing food is s bonding experience.
- Get your party favors tested. Period. It’s all just a simple chemisty test. Be better informed so you can make better decisions. There are too many research chemicals out there being sold as common favors. Don’t be someone I’ll informed and in the med tent or Zendo after a less than desirable altered experience.
- Make sure to have shade. During the year I was pregnant I was determined to have shade from a small patch of trees at LIB. I was able to share such a space with some of my closest friends. This year we invested in our own ez-up with walls to block wind. Our simple ez-up was a game changer. To always have shade is a necessity when temps are pushing the 100’s. Make sure to always use heavy duty steaks or rebar to help anchor shade structures and tents down.
- Always bring a fur coat. Regardless if it is during mid summer, you don’t want to be without a dependable warm coat to frolick in during the chilliest part of the night. If you want to frolic the festival in a onsie instead, you definitely should!
- Light it up! Bring extra batteries and lights to light up yourself or camp. Being able to recognize your crew or friends with some lights helps when it’s too dark in a crowd of people. As burners say, don’t be a dark-tard.
- Don’t let go of your own routines. This was a piece of advice I got years ago. This is true to all of your normal routines. The way you basically wash up, and get ready for the day shouldn’t be much different than normal. You will feel better and more recharged if you follow through with your personal routines that make you feel better. One of mine is to organize my tent and supplies regularly. It makes me feel good to get back to a clean campsite.
- Do your nails. I personally periodically bite my nails under stress. I hate looking at my torn cuticles, cracked nails, and dry skin. I spend time painting my nails before a festival for my own sanity. Avoid pulling any dry cuticles that can expose open skin. It is far to common to end up at the med tent because of the start of an infected nail. I bring cuticle cream and nail polish to help me stay sane while unavoidable dirt gets under my nails, and my cuticles get dry.
- Bring a Netty Pot, a dust mask or other ways to prepare and combat headaches or sinus issues from dust. It’s can really ruin a night of fun when your sinuses are so stuffed with dirt that a migraine is inevitable.
- Let go of modern day convinces like a cell device and social media. Enjoy the immediacy of the festival. Sometimes you don’t need to record everything on social media or take a picture of someone or something that might not be flattering to that person. Enjoy your own experiences first hand and don’t expect things to go as planned. Let go of your cell phone and enjoy what the festivals and its inhabitants have to offer.
- Bring your own reusable cups and plates. Don’t make a sustainable festival in a natural setting trashy with unecesary waste. Find a cup or chalice that best fits your style and use a caribiner to keep your cup attached to you. Use a utility tool with a fork and spoon. On this topic of waste, unpackaged your food items so that you don’t have to haul more trash out of your campsite. Pack in pack out. Think sustainably!
- Line the inside of your ice chest with a sunshade for a car. There are cheap but very useful silver sunshades at the 99 cent store that can fit into an ice chest. You can extend the life of ice and keep your food cold longer by doing this. I promise!
- If you are a seasoned festie, you can be a festie pro by offering to contribute to the community by volunteering your talents. The rewarding sense of volunteering usually comes with a free ticket. You can make meaningful connections with others of like minds. You will also gain appreciation to what efforts go into creating a festival for 10’s of thousands of people.
Some additional ideas and items that are great to have on hand or to invest in:
Travel johns- when nature calls in the middle of the night and you just can’t make it to the dark and scary porta pittys across the field. These are lifesavers
A beauty case– every festie gypsy that loves her trinkets, jewelry, beauty utilities, magic all in one organized way. Easy to travel with and fun to decorate.
A reliable tent- you need at least a double tent (if alone) or a 4 person tent if sharing to keep your items inside and secure. A bell or canvas style tent is an investment but hold up in some of the toughest conditions.
A blowup pool bed- Fill a kiddy blow-up pool with stuffed toys and pillows to make a comfortable retreat after a long night of partying.
A Jetboil– having a baby made this a necessary accessory. I can get bottles warmed in seconds. I take this compact kit with us on every camping trip because I can boil water for coffee, tea, dehydrated meals etc with this easy to use item.
Kiinde bottle system- if you are a mom with an bottle fed babe, I cannot stress how much of a lifesaver this system has been. No dishes, easily sanitized rubber nipples, easy prep and cleanup. When I want to prepare dehydrated food for my little one, the bags can be used to store food.
Hand sanitizer of all types- The hand gel, the wipes, disinfecting wipes, anything or if your a mom, everything.
Essential Oils– You’ll need this! Learn how to use essential oils from others in the communitiy, or just do a google search. everything from a scrap, acne, bug bites, respiratory and sinus issues, calming, energizing, theraputic. There are so many ways that oils can be of help.
What are your festival hacks? I would love to hear about what you do to create a comfortable campsite
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