Tips for a first-time music festival attendee?
June 22, 2015 10:20 PM   Subscribe

I've never been to a multi-day music festival, but this fall's Basilica Soundscape in Hudson, NY looks like it might be perfect- the price is right for camping, it's not terribly far away or hard to get to by Amtrak, and it won't interfere with my school schedule. What would experienced festival-goers recommend? Has anyone been to previous Basilica Soundscapes?

I'm planning on camping (a $55 fee, versus who knows how much for a motel or Airbnb or something), and I'll be taking at least some of my own food to avoid paying high prices in town or at the staging area. I'll be traveling alone, bringing nothing more valuable than my phone, and keeping anything I can't afford to lose in a lightweight backpack on me at all times. Beyond that, I really don't know what I'm doing- Basilica haven't posted any guidelines, and I haven't been camping since I was a Boy Scout.
posted by Merzbau to Travel & Transportation around Hudson, NY (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wet wipes, headlamp, and glow sticks to stick on your tent in memorable configurations/colors so you can find it in the Sea of Tents. Oh, on a recent camping trip we fell in love with these inflatable, solar-powered LED lanterns. Freeze bottles of water and use them to keep food items cold in a cooler and (of course) for drinking.
posted by rtha at 10:47 PM on June 22, 2015

I went to Basilica Soundscape and had a pretty nice time. I have no experience camping offsite there -- if you look around and book early enough, you can find more traditional lodging for not that much more, though, and you'll probably be closer to the venue and find it easier to just walk around the town. I brought some Quest bars for the same reason but ended up making my meals a mix of those and some of the cheaper local options.

Bring an umbrella. Really. Even though the festival itself is indoors, you will be outdoors for a lot of the time you're there. I got caught in a downpour when I went to check out an art installation on Olana, but the umbrella saved me.
posted by mirepoix at 11:43 PM on June 22, 2015

Unless it's utterly prohibited by the rulebook as a thing you can bring in, buy a camelback type bag. Even if it's a super crappy $25 one from big5.

Buy the biggest capacity one they sell. If that's a stupid oversized bag, buy the big bladder and stuff it in the small bag.

Hell, buy two of the $15-20 ones and put both bladders in one bag. Several of my friends have done that.

I have never, at any kind of festival had any single item that increased my enjoyment, general health, or experience as much as a camelback and staying actually hydrated. Carrying a water bottle or pulling it out of your bag is annoying and you wont actually do it(or wont do it enough). You don't even need to use your hands to drink from a camelback if you have the hose wedged in the right place.
posted by emptythought at 3:08 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Earplugs. TP and handsan. A hat that'll keep sun off of you. A printed laminated schedule with every show you want to catch clearly marked on it. Possibly make it separate for each day and small enough to wear on a lanyard. A decent wad of cash not in your wallet in case you lose your wallet. A beefy battery that will charge your cell phone a few times.
posted by Candleman at 4:48 AM on June 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

Basilica Soundscape is a small "festival", most of the advice for bigger music fests doesn't really apply here. I did send you a memail with a lot more detail, but the short list is: bring cash, the onsite food is cheap enough and good (food trucks), the bar onsite sells beer/wine/sake and is cash only, other bars are within walking distance and take cards.

The campsite is maybe 10 miles from the venue, or it was in the past, there are shuttles back and forth, I stayed there and had my own car so was not at the mercy of the shuttle schedule. It's a nice bare bones type campground, there are shower/bathroom facilities but no store or anything, it's on the side of a golf course. Hotels in town are expensive, it's not likely you will get any cheaper accommodations. Try airbnb for a room downtown if want to be within walking distance of the venue, but book it quick.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 7:27 AM on June 23, 2015

Also, there are outlets on poles at the campground, for charging your phone and inflating your air mattress. I remember that parts of the tenting area were uneven, so def bring an air mattress.

There is a bodega within walking distance of the venue on Warren Street if you need any supplies before taking the shuttle back to the campsite.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:33 AM on June 23, 2015

Try airbnb for a room downtown if want to be within walking distance of the venue, but book it quick.

I found my room through a website of Hudson Valley B&Bs, and it was only about $100 a night and in walking distance of the festival, although I took a cab back late at night. I realize "only about $100 a night" sounds crazy, but there are places that will try to gouge you for much more. You do have to book quick if this is something you want to do. (Not saying that camping is bad, but you'll be at the mercy of the weather and you won't be that close to the festival site.)

Nthing what someone said above -- this is a really small festival and the music is all indoors, so a lot of the rules for stuff like Coachella won't apply.
posted by mirepoix at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2015

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