This may be just as important as packing your gear properly: finding the best festival camping spot! Leaving early in the morning to be the first in line to get a nice spot at the campsite… sounds familiar? Thousands of people are doing the same. So what are the best places to set up your tent at a festival? And how do you handle this? I’m happy to take you through the best tips and tricks for finding the most enjoyable spot on the festival campground. This blog is handy for festival first-timers, but also for the people who go to festivals more often.
12 Tips to find the best festival camping spot
- Do not pitch the tent at the entrance
- Make the campsite stand out and recognizable
- Avoid pathways
- Take cover near a large tree
- Don’t buy the same tent as others
- Make use of a folding chair and car
- Bring a party tent for shade
- Choose high ground in case of hills
- Not too far from the sanitary facilities (or too close)
- Avoiding too much noise? Stay away from large groups
- Gather a nice group of friends to circle up
- Don’t be the last to arrive!
Tip 1: Do not pitch the tent at the entrance
A beginner’s mistake is to place the tent as close to the entrance or mainstage as possible. While walking to the festival grounds on the first day you might think: nice, this is not so far! But if you want to get some sleep at night or during the day, then you’ll have a hard time. All the thousands of people who walked into the festival, also have to pass YOUR tent back to their sleeping place.
So if you’d rather not hear drunken singing and yelling next to your tent, I recommend pitching your tent a few blocks away from the entrance. Especially since the parties often continue into the early hours.
Tip 2: Make the campsite stand out and recognizable
How to find your tent at festival? Something that many festival goers run into is not being able to find their tent again. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this! Make your tent stand out by decorating it with colored flags or lights. Or make a kind of flagpole that allows you to hang a flag very high up as a recognition point. If you want to make it really crazy, you can choose to tie an inflatable figure to your tent. Then your tent will definitely stand out. Our neighbors had put up a tall flag, very convenient for us!
Tip 3: Avoid pathways
I remember my first time camping at Graspop in Belgium, also my first time camping at a festival ever. We thought we’d be smart to strategically set up the tent at the edge of a pathway. This way we could quickly leave the tent towards the festival and we were also back in the tent in no time. What we forgot, was that all the other people obviously had to get to their tents too, drunk. During the first night, all the guy ropes had already been released by drunk people tripping over them, and during the second night I felt someone kick my head several times. This was the first and last time for me to sleep alongside the pathways.
In addition, all mud will gather at your tent on heavy rain days. You don’t want to get out of your tent to end up in a muddy trench, right? Finally, there is usually a lot of waste dumped along the pathways. So walking past some tents to your own clean, quiet campsite, is totally worth that little extra effort.
Tip 4: Take cover near a large tree
If you arrive on time, you have the chance to claim the camping spot near a large tree. If you spend some hours at the campsite you can sit in the shade with your chair. Try to set up your tent so that in the morning the shade of the tree falls on your tent. This will give you an extra few precious hours of sleep before you melt out of the tent.
But be careful not to place your tent directly under a tree, as you run the risk of branches falling on you, or worse, lightning striking in a possible storm.
Tip 5: Don’t buy the same tent as others
Probably everyone is thinking about buying a tent for the festival at about the same time of the year. This ends up meaning that there will be a lot of people with exactly the same tent that is on sale at that time. Avoid this by buying an eye-catching tent in time, or place your tent next to one that looks completely different. If this does not make it sufficiently recognizable, go back to tip #2 again. An eye-catching flag, balloons or flags will make your tent stand out.
Tip 6: Make use of a folding chair and car
Of course, to make your camping spot as pleasant as possible, you’ll need to bring some gear of your own. For example, use a folding trolley to easily transport all of your belongings across the field. Besides, sitting comfortably is really a must. You don’t want to get pain in your back from sitting on the floor. An extra tip: get a folding chair with a cup holder, especially comfortable.
Tip 7: Bring a party tent for shade
In addition to tip 6, to have the best festival tent set-up you should bring a party tent. On very sunny days, this will create a place with shade, or if it is raining, a place to take shelter. But beware, make sure that your party tent is well secured with guy lines and tent pegs. Otherwise, you’ll end up like the people in the photo below and your party tent will blow away! This is not only annoying, but also very dangerous for bystanders or passersby.
Tip 8: Choose high ground in case of hills
Are you sleeping on a site with hills? Then avoid the bottom of the hill and make sure you have as much high ground as possible. If it rains hard, gravity will cause the rain to flow to the bottom of the hill. The tents of unfortunates will overflow and the tent may even have to be evacuated in the middle of the night. Then walking up and down that hill will certainly be worth it.
Tip: in addition to high ground, it is also important to make sure you set up your tent on a flat surface. Avoid rocks or sharp objects.
Finally, it is important to make sure you sleep with your head up. Nothing is as annoying as crawling into your tent and then having the blood flow to your head when you want to sleep.
Tip 9: Not too far from the sanitary facilities
Just as it is tempting to sleep near the entrance, it is equally tempting to sleep near the sanitary facilities. You’ll want to get those nighttime visits over with quickly, but I’d recommend a reasonable distance from the restrooms. The camping restrooms are crowded places where things get dirty quickly. In addition, it sounds to me anything but fresh to fall asleep with the smell of… used toilets.
Often the sanitation facilities are on two sides of the festival grounds. Try to stand a little towards one side with the tent, or if the camping area is not too big, stand in the middle.
Tip 10: Avoiding too much noise? Stay away from large groups
Personally, I always find it incredibly enjoyable to sit down with a group until the wee hours of the morning, but I can imagine that not everyone wants to join in the all-nighter. Of course, there will always be some noise at a festival campground, but you can still find relatively quiet spots if you choose the spot carefully.
A big red flag is when you see 15 chairs and party tents standing together. Another red flag is when you notice that people have loud speakers with them. Find a spot near a quiet couple for example and avoid the party tents that are squeezed together. If noise is really a sticking point for you, I would really advise against sleeping at the campground. It will never be fully quiet. But hey, that’s part of the festival atmosphere too!
Tip 11: Gather a nice group of friends to circle up
Try going to the site together with a group of friends. This saves time lugging, plus you’ll have everything set up faster. Often it is a race against the clock as to who will have set up the tent the fastest for the best spot. For this reason I always take a pop-up tent with me so I can go straight into the ”attack” for the best spot.
In addition, with a group of friends you can place the tents in a circle, creating your own private space and preventing other people from coming in between. Put your friends’ chairs in a cozy circle between your tents and pull open that first can of beer!
Tip 12: Don’t be the last to arrive!
Anyway, you can’t do anything with all these tips if you’re the last to arrive at the campground. So make sure you are the early bird who arrives on time so you have the pick of the whole field. Keep in mind that there are traffic jams, it always takes just a little longer to get there. Good luck finding your camping spot at the next festival and enjoy!
Other festival tips: