Camping is part of the fabric of Firefly. Do you have to camp? No, but it is part of the experience. Whether it’s for the times of stumbling into a random party, making friends at nearby campgrounds, or just being able to walk to the festival early in the morning, camping is part of what makes Firefly….well Firely. It’s just part of the experience that you will understand once you go and camp. This article is our Firefly camping extravaganza. There is a lot to plan with camping, this article goes into everything you need to know to successfully camp at Firefly. Let’s get to it.
The first step in camping is choosing the camping package you want. There are tons of options for camping at Firefly. If you want basic tent camping they’ve got that. If you don’t want to have to bring camping supplies you can do that. If you want to bring an RV you can do that too. First let’s list all of the camping options with their prices.
Ok so as you can see there are a ton of options here. Generally these boil down to three different categories of camping – Tent camping, RV camping and Glamping. Here’s what each of these categories are.
Firefly Tent Camping
This is exactly like it sounds – you can a campsite and you set up your tents for the days of Firefly in this area. This is what Firefly includes with tent camping.
Note that Firefly states you can fit up to six people in these campsites but I assure you this will be uncomfortably full. I really recommend not going with more than four people in your campsite. Four people is snug, six is really crowded and uncomfortable.
So within tent camping there are several different options. Here is each option of tent camping.
Premier Tent Camping – This tent camping package is $249 and is labeled as Wednesday tent camping. If you do this package you MUST arrive at Firefly on Wednesday. You can begin arriving at noon on the Wednesday before Firefly (6/14 for Firefly 2017). The whole point of premier tent camping is you secure a good spot in the campgrounds as they are located closer to the entrance to Firefly. There is no difference in terms of amenities between Premier Tent Camping and General Tent Camping. This is a common confusion at Firefly; you are not getting any VIP perks with Premier camping, it just puts you closer to the entrance. This is a huge perk though: from the back of the general camping area to the entrance can be well over a mile so don’t discount this perk.
General Tent Camping – This is the $199 Thursday tent camping package on Firefly’s website. You can begin arriving with this camping package at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. Again, the only difference from premier is you will be in a lot further away from Firefly. You get the same aforementioned perks. You should arrive as early as possible Thursday as you will get a better spot the earlier you arrive.
Carefree Camping – This is a nice option if you are flying into Firefly and can’t bring your camping gear with you. It’s also nice if you simply just don’t own camping gear. Here’s what’s included with the $499 Carefree Camping package:
Essentially this is for those of us that don’t have camping gear and want to still get to enjoy the camping experience. The campsites are located between the general camping area and the RV camping. You do get a preferred check in at the Dover Casino, so be sure to not get stuck unnecessarily in the general camping line. The Carefree Campsites are snug with just enough room for your tent and your car.
Single Day Camping – Note that you can also purchase single day camping passes for any day of Firefly for $89 + fees. This will be a pass for the general tent camping area.
The earlier the better. As I mentioned you can arrive at noon on Wednesday for premier parking. Be there are noon if you can, and if not get there ASAP. The longer you wait the greater the chances you get stuck in awful traffic and end up with a shitty camping location. You can arrive for general parking at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday (right after midnight) and I assure you there will be a ton of people there to secure a good spot. Make arrangements to get there as early as possible.
Firefly is really awesome at making sure you get assigned campgrounds next to your squad. The only thing you need to do is make sure you get in the car line next to each other. When you go through the checkpoint just explain you have X amount of campsites and they will assign you adjacent spots.
Generally they are not bad; the festival realizes there will be nearly 100,000 people coming for Firefly and if they did a 100% thorough check of every vehicle people would be waiting until Saturday to get in. That said, you do run the risk of getting the one scrupulous police officer who will search your whole vehicle. This is atypical but you have been warned. Usually they just do a quick glance and let you in, so just don’t be obvious about it and keep illegal things out of sight.
Whew, that was a lot of info – and that was just tent camping! Onto Glamping, which is Firefly’s moniker for fancy camping. Glamping is essentially camping for those of us who aren’t about that camping life. Again there are several different levels of Glamping packages. Here’s what each Glamping package includes.
Anyone who purchased a Firefly glamping package can begin checking in on Thursday. This means you can start checking in just after midnight. There are limited glamping sites so it’s not as big of a deal to arrive ASAP if you purchased a glamping package. All of the glamping sites are near the Firefly entrance, so you won’t get stuck with a long walk regardless of when you show up to Firefly.
Glamping is fairly new at Firefly, but it did sell out for basic and premium packages in 2016. It seems reasonably priced when compared to a hotel or Airbnb so it seems this likely continues going forward.
As usual there are plenty of camping options for RV attendees as well. Here are the different RV packages at Firefly:
General RV – This essentially lets you bring your RV and get a camp site to park it. This saves you the hassle of setting up a tent and just lets you use your RV as your residence for the Firefly weekend. This package does NOT include a power hookup. Also, general RV camping arrives with general tent camping beginning on Thursday of Firefly weekend.
Premier RV – Premier RV parking comes with three different packages: no power, a 30-Amp hookup and a 50-Amp hookup. Each premier RV package includes the following:
Note you must arrive on Wednesday along with premier tent campers. RV camping is given a private area away from general camping and provides a short walk into Firefly.
We finally made it through all the camping options at Firefly! As you can see there really is an option for every budget and every personal preference at Firefly. Let’s get to some practical tips for camping at Firefly. We will begin with a camping checklist and then go onto general camping tips.
Kitchen / Food
To wrap this up I will go over some practical tips for camping at Firefly. These are lessons learned from experience; some of these are from Firefly and some are from camping at festival in general. Hopefully they help to improve your experience at Firefly.
Firefly Camping Tip #1: Get There Early
I know I have mentioned this, but I want to reiterate it. If you get to Firefly late you can end up with a spot in the back of general camping, which can put you at a 20+ minute walk to the Firefly entrance. This may not be a big deal early in the day, but at night it’s pretty rough.
Firefly Camping Tip #2: Upgrade to Premier Camping
If you can afford it ($+50) and get the day off of work I really recommend just upgrading to the premier camping to secure yourself a good campsite at Firefly.
Firefly Camping Tip #3: Bring Plenty of Shade
I had a tarp on our Firefly camping checklist, but in general be sure to bring plenty of shade. Use whatever you need to (Umbrella, tarp, etc.) to give yourself some shade as Firefly days can be long with a lot of time in the sun. Make sure you aren’t just baking in the sun at your campsite by bringing plenty of shade.
Firefly Camping Tip #4: Bring Everything Possible
If you do forget anything you should be able to purchase it at The Hub at Firefly, but it’s going to be pricey. By pricey I mean rolls of toilet paper are $5, so save yourself some cash by making sure to bring everything you will need with you to Firefly. Once you enter the campgrounds you can only exit by foot, and this is going to be a really long journey on foot to the store. Double check you bring everything with you so you don’t need to purchase it at Firefly.
Firefly Camping Tip #5: Pace Yourself
I recommended earplugs because the Firefly campgrounds are pretty much a 24/7 party once the festival gets going. It’s easy to overdo it. Remember you paid a lot of money for Firefly passes to see some music so don’t overdo it in the campgrounds and be sure to pace yourself.
Firefly Camping Tip #6: A Table is Well Worth It
This sounds pretty simple but a table in your campsite makes a huge difference. It prevents a lot of constantly bending over to grab things, which will really save your back later in the weekend when you have been standing at music stages for hours. I will never go without at least a basic table again.
Firefly Camping Tip #7: Pedialyte and Hydrate
Fuck Gatorade, get yourself some Pedialyte. I actually starting using Pedialyte at Coachella to recover between the days and now it is a festival staple for me. In general though be sure to be constantly hydrating. As I mentioned the sun can sneak up on you and it’s easy to forget to drink enough water and hydrate.
Firefly Camping Tip #8: Bring Rain Gear Just in Case
The weather can vary so be sure to bring some gear just in case it rains. At the very least bring some tarps to cover your campsite and a poncho so you don’t get drenched.
Whew, I’m exhausted from writing this so I am sure you are exhausted from reading it. That is your giant guide to Firefly camping. I really tried to answer any question you would have about camping at Firefly, but if I missed anything please feel free to email me and ask – I will be sure to respond to you ASAP and will add your question to our guide to improve it. Firefly camping may seem overwhelming, but it’s really not too bad: just do some planning beforehand and you will have a blast!