Just so you know, this is going to include a lot of stuff from What Planet Is This?! Presents: Regina Folk Fest Survival Guide 2012. You’ve been warned. However, I feel that it’s important to re-iterate some points and there are a few things that I missed last time that I hope to get to.
Each year at the Folk Fest I see new faces – not just people I’ve never met, but people who look like it’s definitely their first time at the Folk Festival. I love that look! I means more people are interested in good music. However, if you’re not familiar with this particular festival, there are some quick and easy things you might not think about until it’s too late. Hopefully this helps somewhat.
RFF is small. Quite small, actually. Compared to Edmonton Folk Fest’s 105,000+, for example, Regina seems miniscule at an overall attendence of around 20,000. There are no over-nighters in tents or campers, there is no official parking, and things wrap up pretty quickly around midnight downtown (though the after-hours stuff at the German Club goes until around 3:00 AM and is a super-fun good time, if you can handle it). Instead of the wild and rowdy atmosphere of some of the larger festivals across Canada (as wild and rowdy as a folk crowd can get, anyway), RFF is pretty tame. It feels like spending a weekend with a few new friends, sharing some good times, good music and perhaps a bit of nice wine.
So, with that in mind, the first thing you need to bring is a calm, happy, well-meaning, ready-for-a-great-time state-of-mind. Really. I mean it. Bring a good attitude and you will enjoy every moment of this festival.
Aside from that:
You might think it’s cumbersome, but trust me, you’ll regret it if it’s not there. Check out some of the snapshots I’ve taken over the past few years (opens in new window):
This year, I’m bringing a standard 35mm film camera, a mini fisheye 110 film camera, and a 1930s 120 film format TLR camera. I’m told cameras are tiny now any have computers in them. I call that Devil’s magic! Don’t trust it.
2. Something To Sit On:
The ground is wet. Even when it looks like it’s not, it is. I bring two garbage bags topped with my now sacred ritualistic light cloth. Not sure how to describe it best, but it’s light and it’s soft – not quite a blanket. Perfect for the occasion. When I get home each night, I lie everything flat to dry and reuse them. At the end of the festival, the garbage bags are still perfectly usable and the not-quite-a-blanket goes in the regular wash. :-]
If you’re there for the weekend, you’re going to want a lot of stuff. I use a small, lightweight cloth backpack that I picked up at the Folk Fest a few years ago. No need to bring something gigantic. Just enough for what you need.
Rain can be very unpleasent when endured for several hours. Trust me.
5. Water Container:
Like I said last year, never buy bottled water. The Festival kinda provides an ample supply of free potable water. Bring a reusable containter and you’re set.
Just a bit to snack on – sandwhich, apple, granola, whatever. Festival food is expensive. This can help.
I’d like to stress that while you can naturally totally ignore everything I’ve mentioned here, this is the one thing you can truly do without. I’ve gone to the festival for years without spending a dime. There are so many free shows on Saturday/Sunday that you can have a perfectly great time without seeing the mainstage once. Like I said, the food is overpriced, so bring a snack from home and you’re set. If you want a little bit of everything from the festival, though, be prepared. The arts market is big and tempting and you know you’ll end up buying recordings from every artist you liked at $15/$20 a pop.
I was going to add more to this (and maybe I still will, using the magic of cell phones – I have one of those now), but it’s late Thursday night (Friday morning) and tomorrow is going to be the start of a long great weekend.
There is extra bike parking downtown during the festival. Bring it down. There’s even a valet service provided by Bike Regina. 😀
Things you need to leave:
NOTHING!!! Don’t be like some dopey people and leave trash all over the place. Be better than those people. Pick up after yourself and pick up any stray items of refuse you find lying around. It’s just what you do to not end up in the land of garbage.
Don’t forget what Fred Penner said…