Camping at Strummit
As told by Rick Preciado, a 13-time attendee and String Summit Ambassador
As someone who has been to 13 of the last 17 String Summits (and doesn’t plan on missing another one)—I have camped in a tent under a tree, in the ADA camping area, and currently, in the RV area.
I have a 17-foot travel trailer I tow from Missoula, Montana, to Hornings Hideout which takes me a full day. But I don’t rush it—I like to get there early before the gates open, get out, stretch, meet new friends and reconnect with old ones.
Now, let me give you a little insight as to what to expect if you’re in an RV.
If you’re in RV camping, you can expect a rather uneven, sloping campground. Bring good wheel chocks, stabilizing blocks and jacks. You can expect about 10 to 15 feet on either side between you and your neighbors. It’s cozy and a great way to meet people. If there is more than one RV in your group, try to arrive together as you can’t save spots.
The RV campground is a 5 to 10-minute walk from the beautiful natural amphitheater. The terrain is hilly and as my friend and fellow ambassador Anj posted previously, wheeled carts are a big benefit. I have a collapsible wagon that I use to load my low back chair, recording gear (I’m a taper), small soft-sided cooler with snacks (no outside alcohol or glass), camera, a tapestry for ground cover, sunscreen, a water bottle and anything else I can think of so I don’t have to make too many trips back to camp.
The lay of the land.
As you walk from RV camping to the bowl, you’ll pass the turnoff for the Cascadia and Troubadour stage. These are more intimate stages where the first sets of the day usually begin; it’s also a nice spot to grab a coffee and a pastry. If you’re into yoga, this will be the place for your morning moves. And this year it looks like there will be some late night sets as well.
Next turn will be to the left, this is the kid’s activity area with the lake located behind it. It’s close enough to the bowl that parents can still hear the music while they take part in activities with the kiddos! Don’t forget, there will be a kids parade so you’ll want to spend some time getting all those little costumes in order.
The “Bowl” is the main stage. It’s down in a hollow with a sloping hill up to where you’ll find the merch tent where you can pick up all the latest swag from your favorite artists, as well as String Summit merchandise. You’ll find cool clean water fill stations from Klean Kanteen, first aid if needed and booths set up by many of the sponsors. If you’re a friend of Bill, this is where the back porch, a group for festival goers in recovery, is located as well. The Tweener (formerly Penelope Peacock) stage is located in this area also. This is where the “tweeners” will play while they ready the main stage for the next act and you don’t want to miss it! If you are standing in front of this stage you’re right at the beginning of vendors row where you’ll find some amazing festival food and beverages, as well as handmade arts, crafts, and clothing.
Now let me tell you a little bit about the ADA camping areas. Due to the lay of the land, the areas set aside for ADA camping are rather tight, and space is limited. They are very close to the main stage, however, so you don’t have to travel far for music. ADA porta-potties are available and you’ll be close to first aid, food, water, beer and ice. In the past, power has been available for those that require it. The camping here is relatively flat, so if you have mobility issues you can still get around. Even if you stay in the camping area, you can still hear the music.
When I attended my first Strummit (the second annual) I was a bit younger and didn’t think about having a difficult time getting around. I pulled up in my truck, unloaded a small pile of essentials and headed up into the trees to find a good flat spot, set up my tent and only returned to it when I needed to sleep or eat. Now, after some joint replacements and the usual aches and pains that go hand-in-hand with being a person of vintage persuasion, I try really hard to make it easier on myself.
Here are a couple of pro tips:
- Get yourself ready for the terrain at Horning’s. It’s a lot of ups and downs—walking sticks can help.
- Think ahead and make sure you have everything you need before you head out for the day. Ride the shuttle, it was new last year and was a great benefit for just a few bucks.
- Bring or borrow a small wagon.
- Hydrate! Sunscreen! The climate is usually very pleasant but can be anywhere from hot and dry to cold and rainy so be prepared for anything.
- Wear a hat with a bill and good sunglasses—the evening sun sets behind the stage.
- Plan on being out of touch, for the most part. There is some cell service available if you need it but I suggest just turning your phone off and leaving it in your car, you meet the best people when you don’t have a phone in your hand.
- Have fun, meet new friends, and by all means if you have extra, share with those that don’t have enough.