Back for another year, I present to you, the must-know, go-to, can’t-folk-without, WPIT?! RFF Survival Guide!
I’m a long-time Folk Fest-goer and after years of bad and good ideas, I’ve come up with exactly what you need to get your folk on in Regina.
Forgive me while flat-out quote a tiny bit of last year’s guide…
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.
From there, in order of importance:
1. Bring a real camera, if you’ve got access to one. Your cell phone will do, in a pinch and will work for those shareable moments, but to bring home some good memories, even an inexpensive digital camera can be your best friend! Personally, I’m a film guy.
Trust me – easily worth the extra baggage.
2. I haven’t listed this in previous Survival Guides*, but only for the same reason I haven’t listed underwear – sure, you don’t need to wear it, but it just makes good sense. If it’s available to you, bike it! I switched from bus to bike last year (because I bought my first bike in over 15 years), and I see no reason to turn back!
Okay, if you live in Moose Jaw and drive in for the festival, you get a pass.
*Actually, I added this to last year’s guide, last-second, probably after biking the first night.
3. One of the things that makes RFF my favourite festival is that they supply free drinking water! All you need is something to refill and you’re set. Do not buy bottled water.
4. You might not think it, but the ground is wet. Even if it’s been 30 degrees all day, it’s still wet. I lay a couple of garbage bags on the grass and top it off with my favourite thin blanket (it’s actually a sarong that a friend bought me when we were in Greece). Properly stored, this takes up very little room.
5. I bring these two bags each year. One holds festival essentials (as listed here), the other holds festival incidentals (records, festival merch, etc.). Pack light. You may be able to make due with just one.
6. You just never know when the weather is going to turn on you. Better safe. If you bring a big camera bag, like I do, don’t forget a separate plastic bag just for camera gear! Made that mistake once.
7. Admittedly, I don’t do a very good job of this. I blame myself for not being organized enough to prepare something in advance. Just keep in mind that festival grub tends to be pricey.
8. Let me stress that I have gone to many a Folk Fest without spending one thin dime. If you bring a snack, you don’t need another thing. However, if you do want to indulge in some of the goods the festival has to offer, bring some fat stacks. I budget in advance for Folk Fest, partly because I’m nuts, but partly because if I totally indulged (LPs, three festival meals a day), items from the arts market, etc.), it would be perfectly possible to spend $1000! Set a limit. Stick to it. Personally, I tend to give priority to records/CDs.
And there you have it: camera, bike, water bottle, something to sit on, backpack, rain gear, snack, money.
If I weren’t wearing a bike helmet, I’d be wearing a hat, as well. Sunscreen isn’t a bad idea either.
Did I miss anything? Let me know by leaving a comment below this post.
Also, send me a shout if you want to meet up in the park! I can’t guarantee I’ll check my phone often, since I’ll be enjoying the shows, but I’ll try.