Around here summer is in full swing. The days are long, the nights are warm, and I’m itching to spend every minute outside enjoying it.
Aside from running through the sprinkler (there is no age limit on fun) and stuffing myself with watermelon, one of my favorite things to do in the summer is listen to live music in the great outdoors.
Outdoor music is easy to find in the summer months, and there’s plenty of options: small towns with free music in the park, large cities with giant outdoor music venues, and multi-day outdoor music festivals where you can bring along your tent or RV and camp onsite.
This year we kicked off the summer music season with a four day Bluegrass festival in western Maryland called DelFest. It was our first time attending a multi-day festival with our RV, and I came away with a new found appreciation for my home on wheels (no port-o-let for me!) along a few ideas for what I would do differently next time.
If you’re considering attending a music festival with your RV this year I have 6 essential tips to ensure that you have a blast!
1. Arrive Early
At most festivals the RVs are parked according to the order in which they arrive. Arriving early is the best way to get that primo spot. While we were nowhere near the first ones to arrive at DelFest, we did mange to get there only an hour or two after the gates opened. As a result we scored a really nice spot on the edge of some trees with enough space to put out our awning and chairs.
Not a bad spot for our first trip to a music festival in an RV.
Our parking spot was also in a convenient location close to the action. A walk around the festival site confirmed that we had indeed gotten a great spot. Many of the later arriving RVs were either squeezed tight together in a dirt lot, or parked nearly a mile down a dusty, dirt road.
2. Consider Your RV Parking Options Carefully
Some festivals offer different levels of RV parking. DelFest had three levels to choose from, each a bit more expensive than the last. There was RV Dry Camping, RV Hook-up Camping (Electric only), and RV Deluxe Camping (Water, Electric, Sewer).
We choose RV dry camping. We have solar panels on our roof, and can easily manage four days without a water or sewer hook-up, so it didn’t make sense to shell out the big bucks for amenities we didn’t need.
If you have high power needs (such as wanting to run your A/C), or plan to bring along a gang of people who will all be taking showers in the RV, consider splurging on full hook-ups if they are available.
If there are no RV hook-ups available, be sure to arrive with a full tank of water and check a site such as sanidumps.com to find the nearest dump station so you can empty your tanks at the end of the weekend.
3. Know the Rules
All music festivals have rules. Some have more than others. DelFest didn’t have a ton of restrictive rules, and I for one felt that the rules they did have helped keep the peace and ensured that a good time was had by all. Do yourself a favor and find out the rules ahead of time. Most festivals will post them on their website. A few rules you might come across are:
- Generators: DelFest allowed RV generators during a certain time period, but other festivals do not. If you rely on a generator for power and arrive to find out that it’s not allowed, you may be in trouble.
- Entering and Exiting: The policy at DelFest was if you left the grounds with your vehicle, you were not guaranteed that your original spot would remain open. Other festivals may not allow you to leave at all.
- Prohibited Items: There are some items that simply don’t mix well with large crowds. Things like glass bottles, guns, fireworks, and pets. These items (and furry friends) are banned from most music festivals. Find out what the prohibited items are ahead of time. And please, don’t try to bring the dog or cat where he is not welcome.
- Campfires: Camping and campfires go hand in hand right? Well if you’re at a campground they do. But they might not be allowed at a crowded festival. DelFest did allow campfires, but they had to be in a contained portable fire pit and not on the ground. If wood fires are not allowed, consider bringing along a portable propane fire pit.
4. Meet Your Neighbors
Here’s the thing about attending a music festival with your RV, you’re going to have close-by neighbors. Space is at a premium and the RVs are guaranteed to be parked tight together.
You want to know the best way to deal with tight quarters? Make friends! Chances are if you’re all attending the same festival you at least share the same taste in music. Introduce yourself, offer to lend a hand with your neighbor’s set-up, or at the very least give a friendly wave.
We met all of our neighbors at DelFest and ended up having some great conversations, and even shared a meal with some of our new found friends.
5. Pack Smartly
Most RVers are pretty good at bringing along everything they might need – and then some. But when you’re attending a music festival where you may or may not be able to run to the store for forgotten items (see tip #3), it’s especially important to pack well.
Here are a few things you really don’t want to forget:
- Sun Protection: If it’s a multi-day festival and you’re sitting outside all day in the blazing sun, you’re going to need some protection. Pack extra sunscreen, a sun hat, and a sun umbrella.
- Extra Drinking Water: Even if you do have a water hook-up for your RV, it may not be water that you want to drink. Bring along a few extra jugs just in case.
- Folding Chairs & A Picnic Blanket: The easier to carry the better. We brought along some folding camp chairs and our picnic blanket that folds up into pouch with a handle. Both were well used.
- Easy Meals: Unless you want to spend all your time cooking in the RV (or a ton of money on sub-par concession stand food) bring along meals that are easy to prepare. Think sandwiches, salads, and quick items that you can throw on the grill.
6. Expect Noise
Remember, it’s a music festival, not a trip to the wilderness. Expect noise. Not only during the day when the music is playing, but also at night when people are hanging out around their camps. Music festivals tend to attract musicians who bring along their instruments and jam together into the night. If that’s not your thing at least try to have a good attitude about it. If you are a light sleeper, you may want to consider bringing along some ear plugs.
Get Your Groove On
With these six tips you are sure to have a great time attending a music festival with your RV. A little planning and preparation ensures that you can sit back, relax, and get your groove on. Oh, and don’t forget the most important tip of all – have fun!