Experiencing The Camaraderie Of The Campground
This way, you can fill yourself with beers and wine throughout the day and simply stagger back to your tent. But it also provides for a nice post-event party to have a few nightcaps with your new best friends, that being the other campers.
This is what a friend and I have done while attending the Temecula Wine & Balloon Festival (May 31-June 2 in 2019).
Since I’m from the territory of the Smoky Mountains, I consider myself somewhat of a camping outdoorsman, tho the actual times I’ve been camping probably equals the number of beers and wines I drink during the Temecula festival.
At the very least, I have down the basic required camping skills: I know how to pack a cooler and pitch a tent.
A Fun & Casual Event
In Temecula, the place where we have pitched our tents is a beauty – right next to the blue water of the Lake Skinner reservoir. The spot has been provided by Melody Brunsting, the festival’s unique PR person. Melody’s assistance is necessary because the camping spots sell out when they go on sale three months before the event (so plan ahead!).
I say she’s unique because Melody is not like any PR person I’ve ever met – myself included, because I also do public relations for a lot of events.
Melody has a Temecula-ish “go here, I’ll meet you there and come over for beers later” approach to PR. This suits me perfectly, as well as the festival itself. It certainly sets the mood for the event, that this is no hoity-toity affair, but one that’s as casual as the surrounding landscape.
Upon arrival, bouncing along a dirt road on the edge of the lake, my friend and I put down and secure our tents. Then we grab a couple of beers out of the cooler and sit on a picnic table to eat a sandwich.
At about 2, we head into the festival, which is perfect timing. We’re never rushed but also don’t have “down time,” by arriving too early. We’re constantly on the move, talking with people (okay, mostly girls!), hitting some wine tents, having beers, listening to music, going to the area selling a bunch of merchandise and talking with people (okay, mostly girls!).
At dusk, we grab beers and marvel at the hot air balloons gathered in the large open area as they fire up their “engines” and shoot flames into the balloons. This is called the “Balloon Glow” and it’s awesome, especially if you’ve never been up close to a hot air balloon.
Then we go over to the concert and rock the night away. Our objective is to meet girls and take them back to the campsite and in this quest we have succeeded once in two attempts.
Another cool aspect of a campsite at festivals – and one of my favorites of it – is the camaraderie you get with other campers. I simply grab a couple of beers, walk around and join other campsites. People are out by campfires and welcome fellow “campers” to join them.
Most of these people have motorhomes so I hesitate to mention I’m just in a tent, but I never show up empty handed, an important party-crashing move that will welcome you pretty much anywhere.
Eventually, as the flames burn out in the campfires, it’s time to get back to the tent.
At Temecula, in the morning we are awoken early by the sounds of a guy making announcements over a distant loudspeaker. So we peek out of the tent and see dozens of hot air balloons filling up the cloudless blue sky.
It’s a spectacular scene that makes you take a deep breath and want to scream out “I’m so glad I’m here!!!”
But of course, you say that softly to yourself because, well, we’re campers and have to respect our fellow campers.
Even though we’re in a tent.