Vast crowds beneath vast skies at All Good—a music festival and campout.
If you need more than just bird- and cricket-song at your campsite, you’re not alone. Warm-weather festivals that mix music with camping are so popular that sites often sell out months before the summer solstice. In the spirit of these events, Rand McNally partners with the Travel Channel in support of their new series, Rock My RV with Bret Michaels, featuring the legendary rocker and RV aficionado and a team of designers making over-the-top motor-coach mods.
Catch the show on Sunday nights at 9/8c on the Travel Channel, enter to win a tricked-out RV at TravelChannel.com, and check out our list of summer music fests. Too late for this year? Start thinking about next year—when you might just show up in a rockin’ new rig.
Rockin’ in June
Bonnaroo. During this four-day festival (June 13–16, 2013) in Manchester, Tennessee, fans rock out to concerts on a beautiful 700-acre farm. Big names like Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bjork, and Wilco make it a sell-out. An on-site newspaper and offerings like yoga classes make it more of a community than a music fest. Other attractions include a classic arcade, music technology exhibits, and a “silent disco” in which partiers wear headphones so they can groove late into the night without making too much noise.
Camping Scene: With 80,000+ campers each year, camping is truly part of the experience, and, given the steamy weather, RVs are a good idea. Highlights: 20×50-foot RV sites; no hookups; well-equipped rental RVs with hookups in RV Oasis area; decent-size tent sites; great amenities for all campers; myriad package deals; group and family camping areas.
Firefly Music Festival. The 87 acres that encompass Delaware’s Woodlands of Dover International Speedway is home to this three-day festival (June 21–23, 2013), which hosts the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Vampire Weekend. Between shows, head to the Hammock Hangout for nap; wander through the nightly Pathway-area light show; catch a movie at the outdoor cinema; or play vintage games in the Arcade. Did we mention the craft and food vendors, beer hall, and hot-air balloon rides?
Camping Scene: There are some great RV packages (book early, as RV sites tend to sell out), but there’s a tad more emphasis on tent camping. Highlights: 25×45-foot RV sites, some with hookups; 10×30-foot tent sites; camping-equipment rentals; good campground amenities for all; glamping options with fancy tents (beds, linens, and other comforts) and access to special, air-conditioned lounge—among other perks.
Groovin’ in July
High Sierra Music Festival. OK, so yeah, it’s a music festival. But it’s a music festival with an ultra-family-friendly, northern California vibe. On five stages over four days (July 4–7, 2013) you’ll hear plenty of roots, R&B, rock, and other (often genre-defying) bands. Headliners in 2013 include Robert Plant, Primus, and Moe. Among other highlights are the Family Stage and Family Lawn with storytellers, puppet shows, and other activities for kids; babysitting services; and the on-site Grizzly Radio, a station with festival-oriented broadcasts. And, of course, both the grounds and the town of Quincy are surrounded by mountain scenery.
Camping Scene: According to festival organizers, camping here is a “cozy” experience. Highlights: 125 RV sites measure 20×35 feet; water and power hookups; lots of nearby campgrounds that accommodate RVs; no set tent-site sizes; family camping area; standard campground amenities; many package deals.
All Good. Approaching its second decade, this four-day event (July 18–21, 2013) has been held in several locales—from Maryland to Virginia to West Virginia—though most recently has called Thornville, Ohio, home. There are craft and food vendors, to be sure, but the emphasis is on the music, particularly folk and jam but with considerable rock, reggae, bluegrass and other styles thrown in as well. Headliners to look for include Further (a band featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, formerly of the Grateful Dead), Pretty Lights, Primus, and Yonder Mountain String Band.
Camping Scene: This is billed as a “festival and camp out,” so . . . you get the idea. Highlights: versatile mix of packages and add-ons offer varying amenities; 294 20×40-foot RV sites; no hook ups; almost 2,800 tent sites in an array of sizes; glamping options with decked-out tents and other perks.
Jammin’ in August
Oregon Jamboree. It’s a sure bet that you won’t miss a minute of all the country music performed by the likes of Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, and Dwight Yoakam at this three-day festival (Aug. 2–4, 2013). The 22 shows that take place on two stages are also shown on three jumbo screens set up throughout the grounds. Vendor booths and beer and wine gardens help to keep you refreshed. There’s also an on-site Kids Zone and an arts-and-crafts festival at the nearby high school. The backdrop to all this? The town of Sweet Home and the Cascade Mountains.
Camping Scene: There are plenty of spots for your rig, with about 10 RV-only and 7 RV-and-tent campgrounds (just 2 tent-only grounds here, folks). Highlights: RV sites measure 20×40 to 25×50 feet; some on grass, others on gravel/pavement (hookups—not so much); tent sites run 20×30 to 25×40 (you can rent a portable toilet just for your site—quick, while supplies last); festival shuttle to/from farther-flung grounds; standard campground amenities.
Rockin’ the Rivers. If you’re a fan of classic rock, this three-day (Aug. 9–11, 2013) event in Three Forks, Montana, is for you! Organizers warn you to, “Start stocking up on your sleep now. You’ll need it in August!” That’s when you’ll be sitting in a natural amphitheater, listening to Tesla, Warrant, Trixter, Rick Springfield, Saving Abel, and others perform good old-fashioned rock and roll day and night—some concerts don’t even begin till midnight. Getting sweaty while dancing to your favorite song? No problem. For a few bucks, cool down and wash up in the mobile shower truck. Just be sure to BYOT (bring your own towel).
Camping Scene: Both tents and RVs set up in the 1,200-site Rockin’ Neighborhood, where quiet hours don’t begin till 3 am! Highlights: 20×40-foot uneven sites; RV generators allowed only in certain areas; limited site amenities; standard campground amenities; lots of rockin’ fun.