From Bonnaroo to Sasquatch, music festival season combines some of our favorite things: art, style, music, road trips, and camping. This summer, we’re counting down all the ways we love festival season with the help of our friends and a few festival hacks.
Photographer Meg Haywood-Sullivan and naturalist Charles Post are camping enthusiasts—and that’s putting it lightly. From the wilds of New Zealand to their own backyard, the couple is no stranger to a night under the stars (er, rain fly). So when it came time to decide between staying at a hotel or pitching a tent when they joined us at Bonnaroo last year, it was a no-brainer.
“If you camp, you’ll really experience the festival through all its moods: night, day, dawn, and dusk,” says Charles. “If you’re camping, you’re bound to camp next to some lively folks, and the community that will become the patchwork of neighbors around your tent could make for some of the best moments of a festival.”
Besides, hotels are expensive and require that you drive in and out of the festival grounds every day—and there’s no fun in battling traffic after a long, hot day of being on your feet. Camping is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, to boot. We asked Meg and Charles to give us a peek into their ideal campsite and share their tips for building a home-away-from-home that’s festival friendly.
1. Find a level spot to pitch your tent. There’s nothing worse than lying down after a long day in the sun, and realizing you’re on a steep slope and rolling out of your tent door.
2. Keep your boots and sandals outside of the tent so you don’t track dirt and grime into your sleeping area. Keep an old towel, a tarp, or even a door mat outside of your tent so you have a dry place to slip out of your shoes, and store your shoes under the tent’s rain fly if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
3. Try to set up your tent during the day so you can find a shady spot. There’s nothing worse than slowly cooking in a hot tent.
4. Keep a cooler full of cold drinks by your tent. After two musical sets in the heat of the day, you’ll be glad you have a stash of cold drinks back at camp.
5. If you’re at a huge festival like Coachella, it can helpful to fly a flag or something that will catch your eye from afar—this makes the trek home through the sea of tents more manageable.
6. Keep the front hatch of your tent zipped up during the day to keep the bugs out!
7. Stash an extra pair of sandals and a pair of wool socks in your tent. Teva has the perfect sandals for a festival because they can handle whatever comes your way—rain, rivers, sand, rocks, cement, and silent discos. If you’re cold, throw some socks on and keep dancing. They’re so light they won’t weight you down after five days of music and camping.