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Rural Music Festivals: Making Your Dollar Stretch and Your Freedom Soar

- Ethan F

One of the most beautiful things about living in the United States is the sheer number of small time music festivals–they make for affordable getaways.

Many of the larger festivals are fun too, but if you’re like me, and you don’t have over $500 to spend on travel expenses, then you might want to look for a local venue, preferably one where you camp overnight for a couple of days.


A large gathering of festival goers prepare for the night activities.

A large gathering of festival goers prepare for the night activities.

You can go to a four day festival for the ticket price of $50. Though this doesn’t include camping expenses, $50 for a four day campsite is cheap, and you get music and festivities to go with it.

I camped in rural Pennsylvania for a festival hosted by Stirfry music productions. The campsite was situated on the side of a hill, and the different stages sat in various sites throughout, some on cleared crests overlooking the rest of the campsite, some on the edge of a lake with mountains rising beyond it.

A group takes some lounge time between music sets.

A group takes some lounge time between music sets.

The people you meet at these types of events could turn into lifetime friends, especially if you look for festivals within the same area. One of the patrons told me that most of the patrons that were there often traveled as a large group, not necessarily together as one wagon train, but they would always end up at the same local festivals. They had built a strong community and weren’t shy about inducting new members.

The live music plays deep into the night; but many festivals have a noise ordinance, allowing campers to get some rest when they need it.

I will say that if you’re a night owl you might get more bang for your buck; the campground transforms in the evening. Explore the moonlit woods as a jam band guides you to their stage. Stop at different camp sites for a midnight drum circle. Collapse with your fellows around a bonfire (everyone is usually willing to share).  Discover the evening magic of these small festivals, the unforgettable feeling of freedom and the mingling of nature and music.

Their website seems to be down at the moment, but you check out Jambase for great music events.




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