Camping at a festival is like becoming a part of a colorful and vivacious village that only exists for a few days. It’s where friendships are made and adventures begin, where everyone is accepting of others and ready to have a good time.
A festival camping experience can be either the best weekend of your life or a frustrating hassle depending on the campground's location, weather, amenities and proximity to the stages, so we've broken down these elements and ranked the top 10 camping festivals.
Located just outside Peoria, Chillicothe is home to Summer Camp. As the name suggests, camping is a main focus of this event. The majority of the campgrounds are located within a forest and there are plenty of camp-themed experiences like Field Day and Counselors in Training contests.
Campers must leave their cars behind for the weekend, which can be a major inconvenience during bad weather. But the lineup can make anyone forget about the occasional storm. Three solid days of Moe and Umphrey’s McGee was accompanied by Thievery Corporation, Zed’s Dead, Griz, Gramatik and Diplo.
Camp Bisco was created by The Disco Biscuits in 1999. When it comes to camping, Bisco's website says it all, “camping is half our name and part of our culture.”
The Bisco campsites are open for four days, and although there aren’t many amenities to rave about, they are just a short walk to the main stage. Being close to the action is essential too, as Bisco hosts a star-studded lineup of EDM's biggest talent
With more than 18,000 people in attendance each day, Lightning in a Bottle continues to be a triumph for the Do Lab. All LIB festival passes included camping and the location is prime. Showers, fire pits and a dedicated host staff make for a choice campground. Not to mention, among yoga classes, speakers, and workshops, LIB is also rocked by a truly diverse lineup.
Firefly Music Festival made its debut in 2012 to rave reviews. Located in the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, its 87-acre festival site provides a tranquil and spacious environment for taking in great music.
Campers have a private entrance to the festival and can camp by their cars. There are also food trucks, cell phone charging stations, morning and late night entertainment, access to shower trailers and a General Store.
In terms of numbers, TommorrowWorld has everyone beat. It draws in around 130,000 people with over-the-top stage production and a 300-artist lineup.
The Dreamville Campgrounds served as on-site lodging and host 30,000 people all weekend. The campgrounds were filled with luxury amenities including a marketplace and a welcome party called “The Gathering.”
Why does TommorrowWorld come in at #6? The distance and cost. Walking from the campgrounds to the Main Stage took over half an hour and it costs extra to camp. It is well worth it, but much more costly than other festivals with similar experiences.
Summer Set Music and Camping Festival is located right next to the Apple River in Float Rite Park. The lineup features everything from hip-hop to indie jams, but an EDM-centric stage called “The Grove” and a list of after-parties increase the nightlife around the grounds.
Camping at Summer Set is a real treat. On-site accommodations are included in the ticket price and the amenity-rich campground is a short walk from the main stage. However, attendees can also choose to camp in Float Rite Park, where they can enjoy easy access to relaxing by or tubing down the river.
Coachella was a clear add to this list, especially after their successful format change in 2013. The lineup is legendary and now it can be enjoyed by twice as many people.
This year, a record breaking 20,000 campers per weekend enjoyed amenities like private showers, chair massages, wifi, phone charging lockers, recycling, a farmer’s market and general store. There are also a number of off-site and glamping options for those who want a more private experience.
Bonnaroo, one of the United States’ largest music festivals, hosted around 140,000 people this year and many of them stayed it what has come to be known as "Tent City." Tent City is like any ordinary city—with streets running east and west and avenues running north and south—except that it is made up of loving party people.
There are a variety of camping options at Bonnaroo: tent only, car, RV, rented tents, and VIP camping. Every mini city is close to a POD where there are bathrooms and fresh drinking water. The festival organizers even provide giant LED balloons to help guide the way back at night.
The sense of community at this festival is like none other. In a Bonnaroo Census, 74% of people said they feel like they are part of a community while at the festival and 80% said they make new friends. The only downside is the long walk to the main stage.
Sasquatch! Festival is one of many that is switching to the two weekend format—and for good reason. The festival was started in 2002 and in 2013 it sold out in 90 minutes. Every year, Sasquatch is hosted at The Gorge, a gorgeous amphitheater built into a cliff overlooking the Columbia River.
GA camping is included in the ticket price, but there are many opportunities to upgrade your camping experience with amenities like access to showers and a shuttle service. Upwards of 25,000 patrons camped in 2013, creating a thriving community, but a long walk to the stage areas is again an issue.
If you are into camping festivals with a wide variety of performances, Electric Forest is for you. A collaboration between jam-band giant Madison House and Insomniac Events, this festival can satisfy almost every EDM fan.
Camping is included in the ticket price, and campers can catch free shuttles to the resort's full water park during the day. The normal campground has all the standard amenities, but the highest VIP package, known as the Back 40 Good Life package, has private pool parties, catering, free alcohol, special viewing sections, golf cart transportation, and restaurants.
All of that, and so much more make Electric Forest the #1 camping festival in the US.