10 Tips to Survive Music Festival Camping (Watershed – Gorge, WA)

Watershed is in 10 days (Weekend 1) or 17 days (Weekend 2)!! For those of you who don’t know what Watershed is, it’s a 3 Day Country Music Festival at The Gorge, WA. The Gorge also has a few other music festivals such as Paradiso, Sasquatch, and “Labor Dave Weekend” (Dave Matthews Band). Last year was my first year attending and I had a blast! I was nervous to go because I’ve heard several horror stories about music festival camping. However, Adam & I figured out several ways to beat the heat and have a great time. Here are our Top 10 Tips to Survive Music Festival Camping:

  1. Bring a Canopy

    This seems super obvious, but it is definitely a must have! Most festival camping venues, including the Gorge, are like a desert! A canopy will give you shade and act as the living room of your campsite. You can hang blankets around the sides to block out the sun, and set up your table to eat & play games. Also brings chairs, so you actually have a place to sit/eat when you’re not at the venue.

  2. Drink Tons of Water

    The temperature can get past 100 degrees, so staying hydrated is super important. Drinking alcohol all day in the heat is a recipe for heat stroke! Water will be your best friend to keep you going through the whole weekend. Plus, there are many health benefits of drinking water 🙂

  3. Upgrade Your Campsite if possible 

    At The Gorge you can upgrade to Premier, Big Rig, or Terrace camping. I have only stayed in premier camping, but I can say without a doubt it’s worth every penny. It’s $100 more than standard camping, but if you split the campsite between 4 people it’s only $25 extra dollars. In Premier the size of your campsite is 18’ x 40’, while in standard it’s only 15’ x 25’. There are nice bathrooms and free shower stalls open 24/7 and you can take as long of a shower as you’d like *Take a shower early in the morning if you don’t want to wait in line*.The icing on the cake for premier camping is the shuttle that takes you to the festival entrance! If you’ve ever been to The Gorge you’ve probably experienced the long miserable walk from the campsites to the venue. I’m not quite sure how long the walk actually is, but i’m guessing it’s over a mile. In premier there are shuttles that come every 10-15 minutes and takes less than 5 minutes to get dropped off at the venue.

  4. Drink Pedialyte

    In addition to staying hydrated, drink Pedialyte! Supposedly Pedialyte can “cure” a hangover. According the Pedialyte website, “Pedialyte helps prevent dehydration and quickly replaces fluids, zinc, and electrolytes”. We bought these single serve packages and they were great. Every morning we would grab a cold water bottle and mix it with Pedialyte. I also packed them in my bag for the concerts, and I would try to drink at least 1 during the last couple performances. I’m not going to lie…. During watershed we start drinking around noon-2PM and don’t stop until we fall asleep (sorry mom & dad lol). I’m not a scientist, but I DID NOT get a hangover during watershed, so in my book it’s a proven fact that Pedialyte prevents hangovers.

  5. Buy Cool Towels

    Cool towels were a life saver for me during watershed! Cool towels are these little towels you get wet and put around your neck, arms, etc. They stay pretty cold when they are wet, but they aren’t soggy like a regular towel. The heat can be miserable, and I don’t think I would have survived and came back this year if I didn’t find ways to stay cool and shower. We originally brought cool towels that were purchased from Costco, but ended up buying new ones from the vendors at the campsites. They were 10x better than the ones we originally bought from Costco. They were much colder and did not dry out as quickly. I believe these are the cool towels we got at watershed.

  6. Bring a Kiddie Pool

    We bought this pool from amazon and loved it! It was easy to blow up and saved a lot of space in the car. The kiddie pool is perfect for dipping for feet in when you’re hanging out at the campsite. We cleaned the pool out every day and then filled it up with the cooler ice water from the previous day.

  7. Bring a Portable BBQ if possible

    Thankfully, Adam already has this portable BBQ. Last year we cooked hot dogs and burgers on Friday, chicken & beef skewers for lunch on Saturday, and more hotdogs on Sunday. We also had tuna, chips, and granola bars to snack on whenever we came back to the campsite.
    **Being able to cook chicken & beef skewers on Saturday was amazing. Hot dogs are the easiest food to cook on the grill and they don’t go bad if they aren’t super cold the whole weekend. However, I don’t think I could eat hotdogs for 3-4 days! We made the chicken & beef skewers the night before we left and put them at the bottom of the cooler under all the ice. This kept everything fresh, so we could eat them for lunch Saturday morning. A good lunch was exactly what we needed to give us enough energy to survive the busiest day of the festival. Plus, it’s way cheaper than buying fast food from the vendors for every meal.

  8. Don’t Buy Ice At The Campsite

    Every morning we drove to the gas stations at George to get ice. It was nice to ride in a car with AC each morning and get away from the campsite. If you buy the ice at the campgrounds its much more expensive and the ice will melt by the time you walk all the way back to your campsite. Save yourself the trouble and just get ice at the gas station.

  9. Claim Your Spot At The Venue

    Each day you should decide if you want to be in the pit or hang out on the hill before you get to the venue.
    *The Pit – If you decide to go in the pit for the day bring comfy shoes, eat a good brunch, drink a ton of water, and go the the bathroom. Once you’re in the pit it’s hard to get out. Also, Stand your ground! Not everyone in the pit is super nice because they are all trying to get as close to the stage as possible. Be prepared to get pushed around a bit, but don’t let the huge guys shove you around!
    *The Hill – If you decide to stay out of the pit, you’re most likely going to be on the hill. Make sure to bring a blanket and set it down as early as possible. It’s okay if you leave your blanket in the same spot and walk around, I doubt anyone will steal it. Just try to find some landmarks, so you can remember where you left the blanket. I personally prefer the hill because I can lay down, enjoy the view, get food, etc.

  10. Get Decent Sleep

    *Earplugs – If you’re like me you have to work on Monday because you already used a vacation day for Friday. I don’t want to be a zombie at work on Monday (that’s just unprofessional), so getting a decent nights sleep is important. If you are in standard camping it can be really loud and people play music all night long. Always bring earplugs (we bought these ones) because you never know how rowdy your neighbors will be. Maybe you will end up being the rowdy ones, but it’s good to have them just in case.
    *A big quilt or emergency blanket – the sun rises super early and your tent will be unbearably hot before 9 AM. Last year I put a big quilt over the top of our tent and it did a great job of reflecting the sun in the morning and keeping our tent cool. I’ve also read you can put an emergency blanket over your tent the reflect the heat as well, but I haven’t tried it yet.

    Other Essentials: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, portable battery, Bluetooth speaker, chairs, wet wipes, flag (to easily identify your campsite).
    Hopefully this helps with your future music festival camping. I’m thinking about posting a more detailed post about food & drinks for watershed. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. XOXO


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