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Ultimate Guide to Music Festival Camping

Three young women smile and pose for a selfie together. Music Festivals

Music festivals are the perfect way to knock several acts off your bucket list in a single stop. And whether you like to dance to EDM, headbang at a rock show or sing along to your favorite country hits, music festival camping can help enhance the experience by limiting your travel to and from the venue.

With diverse lineups and sprawling grounds, there is a music festival fit for almost everyone. Below, we will explore a few festival camping ideas to help you make the most of your next adventure. 

Preparation – Before the Festival

Once you find your dream lineup at a festival like Coachella, Sonic Temple, Rocklahoma or Bonaroo, it is time to start discussing festival campsite ideas with your crew. 

Understanding Your Budget

Most festivals offer both single-day and multi-day passes with the latter providing a small discount. For example, single-day Bonnaroo tickets start at around $175 per day and a four-day ticket starts at $340. Platinum tickets may cost up to $3,500 with added amenities. Overnight camping passes are often sold separately and paid in advance to ensure there is room for everyone to safely stay on-site. These prices largely depend on your preference to sleep in a tent, in your car, in an RV, or in an upgraded “Glamping” colony.   

Next, you will want to begin familiarizing yourself with the location, especially if it is out of town. If you need to book a flight or a rental car to reach the festival, it is best to do so as early as possible. Then, of course, you will need to budget for camping equipment as well as food and drink. We’ll dig deeper into that below. 

What to Bring for Camp

As the festival approaches, you will want to start monitoring the area’s weather to help you pack properly. Festival season starts in the spring and runs through the fall at locations across the country so there is a lot of variety in weather that will dictate your wardrobe and other needs like fans or heaters. If you plan to set up a tent, one Redditor suggested setting it up a few days before you leave and spraying it with a rain-proofing starch treatment.

Some campers prefer to sleep in their car with fitted cushions and blackout curtains rather than relying on a tent. Either way, consider packing lawn chairs or another seating option (ideally more comfortable than the hard cooler) to make meal times or connecting with other campers easier. 

Speaking of coolers, frozen water bottles are a great way to keep your food cold and help you rehydrate at the end of the day. Grab-and-go snacks like fruit, protein balls or premade sandwiches are easy to pack and save you from extra food preparation.    

Setting Up Camp

When planning your festival camp set up, the first priority should be finding a spot that is convenient to the restrooms or other resources you might need, but also far enough away to limit traffic. This will help you rest and recharge for the next day of music. Ear plugs and sleep masks can help as well.

Since many campsites will look similar, it may help to look for a quickly identifiable landmark or even bring something yourself like a flag pole that you can see over the line of cars and tents. Decorative tapestries are another easy way to differentiate your camp and create some privacy too while allowing you to show some personality. Lights, especially LED strips where you can change the color, or solar garden lights are other fun festival camping ideas.

If you plan to bring a camping stove or anything else with a heating component, make sure to leave plenty of room around it. This will minimize the risk of tents, tapestries or other supplies catching fire.

Tips for Surviving the Festival

The biggest tip for surviving festival camping is to do your research. Most festival websites will have maps of the festival grounds available several months in advance to help you plan. These generally include stage locations, camping options and instructions on how to find resources like restrooms and first aid stations. 

A popular add-on for festival goers is to reserve a locker within the festival gates. If you plan to do so, consider this option for the essentials and pack a small bag that adheres to entry policies so it is easy to grab and go when you arrive. This could include portable batteries for your phone, sunscreen, sunglasses, hand sanitizer and menstrual products. Water additives like LiquidIV or beverages like Pedialyte can help you replace electrolytes on hot, sunny days. 

Phone coverage may be spotty depending on the festival’s size, so if you are going with friends, it may be wise to adopt a meet-up spot in case you lose track of each other.

Tents in a row at a music festival.

Most Popular Camping Music Festivals

Although most multi-day festivals will offer camping, some of them are specifically known for it. Bonnaroo, which we mentioned above, is one of them. This annual festival takes place in September in Manchester, Tenn. 

Firefly, which is in Dover, Dela., and Rocklahoma in Pryor, Okla., are two more popular options in the fall. Coachella is one of the season’s first festivals. It takes place in April in Indio, Calif., and features some of the biggest names in music across virtually every genre. 

There are also several EDM and electronic festivals with camping like Imagine Festival in Rome, Ga., Lost Lands in Thornville, Ohio, and the Electric Daisy Carnival series which includes EDC Las Vegas and EDC Orlando. Country music fans should keep their eye out for options like Country Stampede in Topeka, Kan., and Stagecoach Festival, which follows Coachella in Indio, Calif.  

Music Festival Tickets

Now that you know a little more about festival camping, it is time to take the leap and get your music festival tickets from TicketSmarter. Choose from general admission or VIP tickets to see your favorite artists live at the next big festival.