Camping in Style: Essentials to the Best Festival Setup

There are quite a few things that I’ve learned from music festival camping. I am somewhat still an amateur festival goer having attended four music festivals. But one thing is for sure: having a comfortable and functional camp is crucial to my enjoyment! Each new festival brings forth new ideas (both original and borrowed). I would like to share what I have found to be my most crucial items for my campground.

A proper canopy
I’ve seen folks get those 10×10 canopies and then place a camping tent underneath for sun protection and privacy. It’s a pretty good idea but I think I LOVE my canopy. Unlike the flimsy canopies that can blow away (I have personally witnessed this on several occasions), the one that we decided on is a hexagon shaped canopy. It kind of looks silly amongst all of the square canopies; however, it has withstood 60 mph gusts of wind at Coachella. It also comes with a screen that is semi-private. The screen has two zipper doors and really only functions to keep out bugs, which brings me to my next crucial item:
UV mesh screening

These can be pricey. I tend to get an additional one every year to add on to the canopy frame. These screens come in a variety of sizes and I zip-tie them to the frame of my hexagonal canopy. They are a life saver when it comes to the heat! A 6x10ft screen rated at 90% UV protection will run about $35 but it blocks the sun and the heat while still allowing a breeze to flow through the canopy. My first festival I only had one of these screens, so as the day progressed we would rotate the screen to follow the sun.

Air mattress
You need an air mattress. I repeat. You need an air mattress. Do yourself a favor and save your back, all of your joints, and your sanity by purchasing or borrowing an air mattress. The one that I upgraded to is the Bentley of air mattresses. How can this be?! It comes with a queen sized cot and I also bring a foam topper! This makes me look super ‘Princess and The Pea’ and I get a ton of silly looks when I’m assembling my abode. Then on day two and through the rest of the festival it is a common occurrence to have random people taking daytime naps on my bed. On a side note, I am a very light sleeper. That being said I sleep with a sleeping mask and ear plugs. My sleeping mask was like $6 on Amazon and I plan on upgrading my earplugs this year from the foam ones to some boil and fit ones.
A battery powered fan for each camper
The Farm can get blistering hot. And humid. We saw people pass out from the heat last year. A fan can bring you relief during the heat of the day. We even came up with a little trick that makes it feel like A/C. You take your lightest piece of material (in my case it was a kimono) and soak up the ice water from your cooler. Then drape the material over your body while you are lying down and put the fan under the material. The fan catches the cold and blows it all over your body.
This is my favorite camping item and it’s only $8: A hanging shoe organizer with clear pockets
I actually came up with this idea myself after going to my first music festival. On day one you can find everything. By day two it seems as if a tornado has blown through all of your belongings and you say “Where in the HELL is my (chapstick, left shoe, sunscreen, hair tie, and on and on and on)?!” I hang my shoe organizer on the inside frame of my canopy by the front “door”. We keep a million little things in it. It is a miracle. It’s my favorite item because it saves me all of the frustration of losing items only to find them in the bottom of some bag once you arrive back home.
I hope this list is helpful to everyone. Just remember that you cannot go and buy all of these things at once (unless you can $$). Pick your first necessity/comfort item and go from there.

-Erica