Depending on the experience that you are going for the decision between doing a weekend festival in a hotel or a camp site might make a world of difference. First and foremost I want to write a disclaimer because regardless of what may come from this writing, I want to make clear that I have done both the fancy hotel experience and the hippie one with nature camping experience. I have loved both equally, but differently.
You need to know that It will be crowded. We are talking about one of the nation’s most diverse festivals. If you go into any music festival thinking people will regard your personal space… you are simply wrong and an opera house may be more appropriate for that sort of experience. No, but seriously, if the idea of this makes you cringe… but you really like music but truly hate crowds and hassle, it might be worth the splurge and book a hotel.
The upside? Your personal space, clean towels every morning, the luxury of access to a shower, the comfort of coming home to a bed after raging for about 6 hour on average every day and most importantly the free continental breakfast every morning. If you know you won’t have a good time unless you have one or any of the above luxuries mentioned, go ahead and book a room. However,considering there’s a substantial price difference, I personally pity anyone staying at a hotel because you don’t get the privilege of literally being surrounded by a huge after party right after the fest ends each night.
Camping will be hectic, it will be dirty, you will probably lose about fifty percent of your belongings and by the time it is over you won’t want to interact with another human being probably for the next month, but I truly think this is the best way to immerse yourself in the full festival experience. There is an eclectic energy about it. People are so nice and so highly spirited that you begin to meet and have conversations with people that you never thought you would. Most of the friendships I have taken home after the bass at the main stage is turned off and all the lights go off were because I was camping next to someone who sparked a conversation and ended up inviting me over to their campsite for hot dogs.
If I had to choose one item to absolutely not forget if camping? Toilet paper. Trust me, people will fight you for this. Also be sure to bring a towel to sit under a tree (if you are camping good-luck trying to shower) & catch some shade, sunscreen, BOTTLED WATER, shoes, ziplock baggies for your phone in case if it rains, TP, trash bag/poncho/umbrella, portable cell phone charger, hand sanitizer (LOTS of hand sanitizer), & money.
My ultimate advice
Try both! you might think of yourself as a hotel type of guy/gal or a strictly campsite body, but the truth is both of them have their perks and they both render different festival experiences. Regardless, remember to be keep an open mind and respect for everyone you meet. You never know if the person next to you with his hands in the air used his entire year’s’ savings to experience that moment. When it comes to these events there should be one underlying purpose for it only – to celebrate music.