I rolled over as my face smacked the side of the tent. The sunlight had warmed the nylon and my eyes stung from the brightness as I slowly opened them.
The heavy scent of old bananas suddenly wafted into the air. I pulled the hoodie of my Northface away from my eyes and looked at my feet. My boots were in the bundle of bananas, and had flattened them so they stuck to the bottom of the tent. The watermelon sitting next to them was also covered in banana, a few yellow smears stood out against its green skin.
My friend rolled over, crushing the 7 protein bar wrappers that were under her. My other friend’s feet stuck out of the one person tent, since he was too tall to fit inside.
I rummaged around, careful not to make too much noise to wake them up. I grabbed one of the Gatorade bottles half full of a clear liquid and opened it, thankful for water. When I brought it to my nose, the stomach-churning smell of cheap tequila suddenly hit me, making me gag. I closed it and threw it a few feet away from me.
A few minutes later, I was ripping my Northface off and pulling my boots off. It seemed to get 20 degrees hotter in the 5 minutes I had been awake, despite it being freezing cold all night.
My friends and I were the epitome of a camping disaster. Not only did our tent serve as a place to sleep, but it was also a place to pregame and also a place where we threw our garbage the entire weekend, since we apparently couldn’t walk to the garbage pail.
This is how NOT to camp at a camping music festival:
Mistake #1: Carrying all of your belongings in a plastic bag
The walk from the car, through security, and to the camp ground took us almost two hours. These two hours were spent holding a backpack, my hula hoop, a pillow, my sleeping bag, two towels, a Northface, and two plastic bags of canned chicken, canned tuna, bananas, protein bars, and Gatorade.
By the time I was halfway to security, both bags had ripped, I had lost a can of chicken, and I was holding each item by my fingertips. I thought my arms were going to fall off.
As I observed the other festival goers, I noticed they all had wheel barrows, where they stored all of their items. Bring a wheel barrow. Or a cart. Or anything to hold all of the miscellaneous items you miraculously decided to bring with you to the festival.
Mistake #2: A one person tent for three people
Although we kept each other warm each night, there was no room for anything else- like sitting up or rolling over. We met someone who had an 8 person tent for 3 people, and met another guy who had a 10 person tent to himself.
We got a lot of positive, hilarious attention for our “cute tent” and the fact that we slept with our feet outside of the door every night. If you’re someone that can’t curl up into a ball and pass out instantly in the comfort of others touching you, then invest in a big tent.
I recommend researching online and reading reviews before you invest in a big tent. Also make sure you bring mattress pads, so you don’t wake up with a stiff back.
Mistake #3: Three phones, zero portable chargers
It’s more likely than not that the festival grounds you’re camping on don’t have outlets everywhere. That being said, invest in a portable charger, bring it, and use it sparingly. Our phones were dead a majority of the festival (which isn’t a bad thing, we just couldn’t take many pictures).
I met a girl who brought a power strip with her, found a lamp in the porta potty bathroom, unplugged it, and then shared the power with those who were lucky enough to pass her. I was one of them.
We spent two hours sitting on the bathroom floor, charging our phones, and talking about how we wanted Chipotle. This girl also got two free beers from someone who wanted to borrow her power strip. If you want to be a hero like this girl, then also bring a power strip.
Mistake #4: Cheap tequila, no chasers
If you’re drinking, make sure you bring a lot of Gatorade. We had Monster (not the best idea) which ran out quickly. This will also keep you hydrated throughout the day and give you the necessary electrolytes to dance until 6 in the morning.
Read the festival guidelines beforehand as well, to know how much liquid you’re allowed to bring.
Mistake #5: Bring a lot of food, especially if you’re on a budget
Although I still laugh about the fact that my friend ate an entire 28 ounce can of beans by himself for dinner, while I ate chicken straight out of the can, I still wish we had brought more food.
I spent $15 on a chicken sandwich and coleslaw for dinner one of the nights- it was ridiculously expensive. I ate protein bars and black bananas for breakfast and lunch, and splurged for dinner. Bring canned food, a lot of fruits that won’t bruise or spoil in the heat, and even bread for sandwiches. Food at festivals is expensive, so plan accordingly.
Mistake #6: Not making a meeting spot
No phones= lost friends. We lost one of my friends for a few hours one night, and found her in a new group of friends that had adopted her. That being said, the entire time prior we had had no way of contacting her and relied on pure luck to meet up with her again.
If you do happen to lose your friends, you should at least make a meeting spot where you can all meet up before the night is over. This will save you the anxiety and stress of having to look for one of your friends in a crowd of thousands of people.
Mistake #7: Not bringing garbage bags
Buy garbage bags so you’re not using your tent as a garbage disposal, shaking everything out at the end and then picking up the garbage like we did. This will keep your tent clean, organized, and save you the headache of having to clean up afterwards.
Mistake #8: Not bringing a canopy tent
So many groups had canopy tents with chairs, blow up couches, tapestries, even tables. This is where they all relaxed and hung out while they weren’t at the festival. My friend’s and I sat on the dirt outside of our tent, taking shots from the bottle and looking at the other festival goers and their intelligent preparedness.
Mistake #9: Not bringing toilet paper
I don’t need to get into details here, but the only bathrooms you’ll be using are porta potties (unless you’re VIP, they have toilets. I know this because I snuck into the VIP section just to use them).
Porta potties run out of toilet paper quickly. Don’t be that person shouting for help because your stall ran out of toilet paper. Be that prepared person who has the toilet paper ready.
Mistake #10: Carrying in a watermelon
For some reason, we thought we might want a juicy watermelon to treat ourselves after dancing in the heat all day long. We didn’t consider the fact that you had to carry the giant watermelon, in addition to everything else.
Mistake #11: Thinking about anything else except being at the festival
We had fun- a lot of fun. All of these mistakes entertained us for the four days we were at the festival, and we still laugh about them now. Don’t think about anything else except having as much fun as possible, there is nothing like being at a camping music festival!
Camping music festivals are all throughout the world, and I hope to attend some in other countries.
Do you have anymore tips for those attending a camping music festival?
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