Sunday, August 10, 2008

Guide to the Blue Skies Music Festival: Things to Acquire and Bring

I realized yesterday that I should expand on "Step 2: Pack for Blue Skies" from the previous chapter of this Guide to the Blue Skies Music Festival.

Blue Skies is not wilderness camping. You drive your vehicle to the unloading zone, you load your stuff into a huge cart, you push the cart to your site, unload, and set up. At the end of the weekend, you reverse the process. This means that you are limited only by your budget and how much you can fit in your car.

Here are things I bring:

4 festival chairs - for watching performances, 1 chair for me, 3 for people who want to sit with me. You can usually buy these at the Ottawa Folk Festival.

A Gazebo - It is much easier to put up a gazebo than a tarp. And the gazebo is more likely to withstand a heavy wind. If you still want extra tarpage, the gazebo is a good thing to anchor to.

A cardtable - To go under the gazebo. Used for dining, playing cards, and holding musical instruments.

4 folding chairs that came with the cardtable - Not only good for sitting at the table, guitar players and accordion players don't have to fuss with the arms that come on lawn chairs.

A 6-person tent - The number of people that can actually fit comfortably in a tent is the number of people the tent is rated for divided by 3. A 3-person tent is comfortable for 1 person. Mine is comfortable for 2.

An air bed with legs - the legs allow you to level the bed and to store things underneath the mattress.

An electric pump with a rechargeable battery - to inflate the air mattress.

Solar-charged garden lamps - for illuminating tent cords that people would otherwise trip over in the dark.

Things that others bring that I endorse:

A hammock - You can almost always find a place to string up your hammock and they're just plain fun.

A prominent flag, banner, or other distinctive marker that can identify your site to friends who want to visit - I keep meaning to make a combined flag and fiber-optic lamp pole.

A set of shelves - Some use milk crates and boards. Others have nice folding shelves. Sweet.

A tent with a screened-in porch: These give me tent envy.

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