Packing for Preddyfest Bluegrass Festival
Great minds think alike, and my dad and I were thinking about the same thing at Christmas: Preddyfest! We gave each other Preddyfest survival kits. Camping at Preddyfest, free with a 3-day festival ticket, is definitely roughing it, but since the annual bluegrass festival has evolved into our combination family reunion/vacation, we have packing down to a science.
I should say we had it down to a science. The first ten festivals were scheduled in August, and last year's June event still managed to coincide with record-breaking 100 degree temperatures in Franklinton, North Carolina. I have a separate wardrobe of halter tops and shorts I probably wouldn't be caught dead wearing anywhere but Preddyfest. Staying cool definitely outweighs staying attractive in that kind of heat!
Scheduled for Memorial Day weekend this year, the 12th annual event promises cooler weather. Some of the items in our "survival kit" might not be necessary (hand-held fan, sweat towel, and spray bottle for cold water to squirt at each other).
Combining efforts definitely makes life easier, and we start planning who will bring what months in advance, especially the food.
My dad has the big fancy camper, so he and his wife provide much of the standard camping supplies, cooking utensils and electricity. Julia and Stephanie also usually borrow a popup camper, and they kind of go crazy with necessities like ashtrays and fancy wrought iron hooks to hang the citronella laterns. But on just her second year in the party, Deborah has everything else anyone might have forgotten. The joke so far this year has been to check with Deborah before running to the store - herbs and spices? Check. Extra bungee cords? Check. Portable potty? Check.
She's not sharing the potty very generously - only the girls can use it, and only in emergencies. But since Preddyfest provides the cleanest portable toilets I've ever seen, and since we all remembered baby wipes in our survival kits, I don't blame her.
Speaking of trips to the potty, a pocket-sized flashlight is a must for dark-time relief. It works best if the flashlight is small enough to hold in your mouth so your hands are free to manage the wipes and travel-size hand santizier.
Much of what you need to pack for Preddyfest coincides with any good camping trip packing list: a tent, air mattress, linens, extra tarps, folding tables, a hammer and hatchet. Everyone brings chairs, and you want to have plenty in case your campsite turns out to be a popular jam session location. But since you want folks to be able to sit and play music, folding card-table chairs work better than the typical bag chair or other styles with arms.
It's always a good idea to have a first aid kit handy, but for Preddyfest, you'll want to pack extra Goody's or B.C. headache powders. That cold beer tastes really good while you're listening to Bluegrass, but the pickin' lasts into the wee hours of the morning, and a tired hangover is a sure thing before the long weekend is over.
Plastic cups are required for alcohol - no bottles allowed. And rock salt in the cooler will help keep that beer iced longer.
Did I mention beer? We pack coolers and coolers of beer.
Finally, and most important, pack your instruments! Even if you don't think you are good enough to play with anyone else, it's handy to have an extra guitar or banjo at your campsite. When a jam session forms, passersby stop to listen, and here and there a picker might be talked into joining if you put an instrument in their hands. And if you drag out your bass and pluck just a little, a friendly veteran player may appear to give you a few tips and encouragement.
Twenty of Thirty
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