The RVers’ Guide to Music Festivals

Are you a music lover and RV enthusiast? Why not combine the two passions and hit the road ? What better way to bring your love for music and your enjoyment of the RV lifestyle than to take your rig to any one of dozens of music festivals dotting the country.

The most promising music festivals for this project are the outdoor events with camping on-site or nearby, of course. Some of them will have local RV parks; with others, you may have to improvise a bit to get there.

Rather than just give you a generic list of festivals to consider, we thought you might enjoy having the tools to look up upcoming fests yourself. When you start planning your dream music festival RV adventure, the first place to visit is www.MusicFestivalJunkies.com. Event planners all over the world use this valuable online database to advertise their own festival or event. You can search the following fields:

1.Month
2.State
3.Type
4.Region
5.Genre

Yes, there are some shortcomings with the site: There’s no separate listing for some very obvious popular categories, like jazz, blues, Irish/Celtic, Latin/salsa and folk. But many of those festivals will be listed in the site even if they’re not categorized under their own separate genre in the ‘search’ field.

That said, here are some highlights for this year from around the country, which we selected based on musical talent and RV accessibility.

The Strawberry Music Festival – Tuolumne, CA, Sept. 1-4th, 2016. This one is for Yosemite National Park fans. So far organizers have confirmed Leftover Salmon, The Del McCoury Band, Los Lobos, The Brothers Comatose, Ruthie Foster, and more. While the Monterey fest is for serious music fans, Strawberry has tons of recreational opportunities nearby. For parking, admission ad other info call 209-984-8630.

UTOPiAfest– September 29 - October 2, 2016, Utopia, TX. UTOPiAfest is a unique campout festival in Utopia, TX. Billing itself as the ‘ultimate music and camping experience, the festival planners promise “mind-blowing musical performances and West Texas Hill Country sunsets. Presented in a natural amphitheater on the 1,000-acre Four Sisters Ranch (between Garner State Park and Lost Maples), UTOPiAfest is a true alternative to the large multiple-stage festivals that often favor quantity over a quality audience experience. With only two stages and only 2000 tickets being sold, fans will have plenty of space to dance and enjoy full sets by world-touring bands from a variety of genres. UTOPiAfest is thoughtfully designed to allow creativity, music, and new friendships to flourish in a unique and intimate setting. BYOB, free camping, free parking, free activities (disc golf, yoga, silent disco, kids workshops, etc.), no musical overlap, no lines, free water, located in a beautiful natural amphitheater.

Utopia is three hours SW of Austin and 1 1/2 hours NW of San Antonio. There’s no GPS there, and it’s out in the sticks, so there isn’t much else going on nearby. But organizers plan to have a lot of food trucks there if you don’t want to cook in your RV. RV passes are required. No pets.

Backwoods Music Festival – Stroud, OK, Sept. 2-4, 2016. This is another RV-friendly music and camping festival in the middle of the Heartland. The Backwoods camping and music festival is a must see three day music and art festival. Eight years in the making, the festival started as a gathering of local artists and musicians in the woods. Today, top touring names and headliners grace multiple stages at Backwoods.

The festival will have art installations by festival famous artists, and places to “hang out” built in the middle of the woods. Secret passages, lights, sounds, and visuals throughout the forest bring a new magical experience. Bring your hammocks and relax in the shade, or layout in the sun on a towel to tan, all while listening to the best in indie, jam band, and electronic.

Located on Route 66, festival goers travel this historic road across the country to reach Backwoods, be it from one end in Chicago or the other in California.

Multiple stages including a stage with a 7,000 SF air conditioned covered dance floor and other artistically built magical venues located in the middle of the woods, crank out the music daily from the early afternoon until the wee hours in the morning.

The Monterey Jazz Festival – Monterey, CA. September 16-18, 2016. One of the great ones for serious music fans. This one will have 500 world-class artists on eight different stages. You can get some general information on parking restrictions here.

Austin City Limits - Weekend 1: September 30 - October 2, 2016 Weekend 2: October 7-9, 2016. Another great one for serious music fans. There’s no camping in the park. It’s in downtown Austin. There are plenty of RV parking areas just outside of town, though. More information on camping/RV facilities here.

Be sure to check the festival organizers’ websites for ticket prices and specific information. Each of the above festivals we selected are relatively RV-friendly except possibly for the Monterey Jazz and Austin City Limits festivals. If you go to these, be prepared to find alternate transportation to the stage areas from your RV campsite.

As always, drive safe, and have fun!

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