The Ultimate Festival Glamping Setups
From music lovers sitting around in the mud to a see-and-be-seen extravaganza punctuated with fancy, corporate-sponsored soirees, pricey swag bags and gourmet meals, it’s clear that times have changed for festivalgoers.
There has been plenty of hubbub in recent years around the gentrification of Burning Man, where participants create a pop-up-city in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. Organisers bill Burning Man as an event “dedicated to community, art, self-expression and self-reliance” and a “crucible of creativity” where all are welcome. But although the event started out as free in the early 1990s, the majority of this year’s tickets will go for nearly $400. Many longstanding Burning Man participants have declared that the Silicon Valley elite are ruining the spirit of the no-money-exchanged gifting philosophy at a gathering where attendees used to pitch a tent or show up in a jalopy of an RV. These days, more and more millionaire entrepreneurs are spending heavily to erect lavish tents complete with foyers, fountains, chandeliers, catered meals and even this ridiculous rolling wooden yacht.
Since there’s probably no going back at this point, here’s a peek at some of the VIP camps, packages and perks the one percenters in the US get to enjoy during festival season.
VIP packages at Bonnaroo include access to preferred camping and parking, exclusive courtyards, lounges with attendant-staffed bathrooms, charging stations and 24-hour Wi-Fi (because you can’t miss a moment on Instagram). There’s also access to special stage viewing areas, but for those who can’t tear themselves away from the comfy lounges and drag themselves to the actual performances, there are live feeds of the sets for VIP viewing pleasure. People who purchase VIP tix (sold only as pairs for $1,600) also get access to events sprinkled throughout the weekend including a pre-fest party the night before festival kick-off, a Gospel brunch and daily morning yoga.
But the aforementioned price assumes you’re just bringing your own lame tent. You’ll have to pay extra for Bonnaroo’s punny Le Bon Tents, with the most basic-level version (for those “balling on a budget,” touts the description) costing $575 and shooting up from there, with VIP ticket holders getting the option to rent a 2-person luxury tent with actual windows, a tarp floor, attached shade tent, cooling units, power strips and daily ice for $2,150. This year, cabanas have become the festival’s newest high-end offering. The hard-wall structures have actual lockable doors and come with cute front patio and lawn chairs for just under $3,000.
Festivalgoers can also buy meal plans and join a “Southern Heritage” dinner attended by Bonnaroo founders and mystery guests, where every course will be sourced from within a 200-mile radius. And at just $50 a person, it suddenly sounds like a bargain.
Backwoods Camping and Music Festival
A festival called Backwoods that takes place in the middle of rural Oklahoma may not sound like it attracts a crowd who requires fine linens and white-tablecloth dinners, but the market is clearly there.
This year organisers have added an Ultimate VIP package in addition to the existing VIP package, and it’s limited to just 250 of the anticipated 10,000 attendees. The offerings include nightly dinners with artists in attendance along with pre-show performances in a private lounge, hop-on/hop-off golf cart service around the venue, private viewing areas and a helicopter ride for a literal bird’s-eye-view of the fest. The package price is a reasonable $399, but if you want to go with glamping option—which will ensure there’s a comfy tent with beds, pillows, linens and lights in a special shaded area upon your arrival—it’ll cost you $1,600 per pair for a two-person tent. (Two VIP tickets are included in the price.)
The Ulimate package also gives you access to a lodge, pool and other facilities at nearby Tatanka Ranch. And speaking of the ranch, groups of four can also rent cabins with private bathrooms, showers and a “VIP lake” there for $4,000.
The Governors Ball Music Festival
While there’s no camping at this urban music fest, there’s still a chance for VIPs to elevate themselves via private cabanas that can accommodate you and 19 of your closest friends. The cabanas provide a stellar view right next to the main stage, beverage service, concierge service, catered light bites, swag for every guest and access to massage therapists—for when you strain your neck while trying to see if the guys from De La Soul look any different these days. Prices—which include 3-day VIP passes for all cabana guests—have not been released to the public, but use of a cabana for all three festival days has gone for around $30,000 in previous years. So just make sure everyone PayPals you first.
It may attract a slightly different crowd than the famous festival that took place on the same fairgrounds six months earlier, but Desert Trip—now known affectionately as “Oldchella” thanks to its lineup of senior legends like McCartney, Dylan, and the Rolling Stones—is offering some pretty luxurious packages for those making the pilgrimage. For music lovers looking to live the good life without ever leaving festival grounds, you can stay in a two-person fully-furnished Safari tent. The package includes queen beds with luxurious linens, wood flooring, plug sockets, air conditioning, a dedicated security team, and shuttles on standby to whisk campers to and from the stages. Plus there’s breakfast, late-night snacks and access to the festival’s VIP lounge—all for a cool $10,000. The sticker price includes two reserved floor seating tickets to all three days.
But for those willing to blow a chunk of their retirement savings for something even more exclusive, the festival is offering “The Resort at Desert Trip.” The $35,000 deal for two people is billed as an “all-inclusive oasis” that includes a private air-conditioned yurt with a king bed, private bathroom and a shower. Beyond the high-end accommodations, the package features over-the-top additions like a fridge stocked with whatever you want, maid and turndown service, spa treatments at a nearby resort, a personal concierge and golf cart driver, access to a house car, and a complimentary bottle of bubbly—all along with two 3-day passes for reserved floor seating.
As for food, the offerings are about as gourmet as they get with daily food-and-drink experiences (tickets range from $142 to $199) featuring a culinary lineup of heavyweights including Michael Mina, Marcus Samuelsson, Scott Conant, Ludo Lefebvre and many more. Plus there are tastings of craft beer, wine, or cocktails depending on the day. The other coveted culinary experience will be the fabled Outstanding in the Field, a travelling outdoor dinner series that offers farm-driven multi-course dinners created by different well-known restaurant chefs from around the country, with a different lineup each night of the festival for a mere $255 per diner.