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To Camp or Not to Camp

on August 29, 2014, 12:00am

Feature Photograph by Adam Gasson

Festival Tips is a breezy summer feature in which Consequence of Sound contributing writer and festival veteran Jared Lindzon offers up a new piece of advice that just might help you survive the grueling summer festival season. Good luck and Godspeed!

While some regulars will forcefully argue that spending those post-festival evenings in the onsite campgrounds is the only way to enjoy the full experience of the event, others might describe it as a deranged form of self-torture. Though camping might not be for everyone, it’s certainly a vital part of the experience to the thousands who choose to pitch a tent rather than book a hotel or find other arrangements offsite. In the end, it will come down to personal preference, so consider some of these pros and cons before deciding which you’d enjoy more.

Pros of Camping

Governors Ball Music Festival NYC

Photo by Robert Altman

  • The community environment is really what camping is all about. While you may make a few new friends in the lobby of the hotel or befriend your AirBnB hosts, the best social environment at any festival is usually found on the campgrounds.
  • The parties never stop, which can be a con for anyone that intends on sleeping more than a handful of hours at night. But if you’re one to come back from the festival craving more excitement, you belong on the campsite.
  • It could save money, assuming you already have the necessary gear. But for those without access to a tent, coolers, portable grills, folding chairs, sleeping bags, and everything else needed to spend the night comfortably under the stars, a cheap hotel could end up costing more or less the same amount.

Cons of Camping

Governors Ball Music Festival NYC

Photo by Robert Altman

  • You won’t sleep very much, if at all. Not only will your neighbors be partying at all hours of the night, but at most festivals, especially those in midsummer or south of the Mason-Dixon, the sunrise will turn your tent into a mesh sauna — making it impossible to stay inside without overheating. For those who have never heard 80,000 people wake up simultaneously, I can assure it’s not a conducive environment for getting back to sleep.
  • Camping also eliminates basic necessities like a clean toilet, shower, electricity, or air conditioning, but some people embrace the idea of being unapologetically filthy for a few days a year. If you’re a particularly clean person, stay away from the campgrounds altogether.

What About Glamping in a Safari Tent?

glamping To Camp or Not to Camp

Photo via Delaware Blogs

Staying in one of the pricey, festival-provided safari tents with all the amenities and fixings that come with it is either the best or worst of both worlds, depending on your perspective. Often referred to as “glamping” (i.e., glamor-camping), this option allows you to remain on the campgrounds and close to the action but without the solidarity of communal living. With amenities like showers, air conditioning, private washrooms, and even concierge services, staying in a safari tent can still provide that campy-feeling without the filth that comes with it, but at a cost that often surpasses that of a hotel.