Thursday, June 20, 2013


Ah, that magical time of the year: Festival, or "Festi" season.  This week I'm not going to talk about gigs for the week because really all I have on the docket is Project Earth.  I'm pretty stoked to be heading down to the beautiful Harmony Park to play music.  I'll be a special guest with "Smokin' Joe" Joe Scarpellino as well as some very special acoustic style jams with i like you later Saturday night.  If you're heading down (or "heading home" as they say), come find me!  However, if you haven't heard of Harmony Park, Wookiefoot, or much about that last paragraph, it's cool.

SO!  Being Festi season and all and with this weekend being my first of the year 2013, I wanted to share some of my favorite festi or camping hacks.  I've seen many more via pinterest and whatnot, but here are some I like and would LOVE if you'd comment with your own.

FIRST of all...packing
At Harmony Park, you park your car and then have to walk in to find your campsite for the weekend.  Portability is key.  I have observed people with Radio Flyer wagons (genius!) and other such wheeled thingies, but here is what I do when I'm there solo.  When Johnny's with me, we pull out all the stops with a camp stove, screen tent, a pop-off camper, and sometimes portable air conditioner and shower.  It sounds luxurious and it is by Harmony Park standards, but in real life, it's pretty interesting!  No matter if I'm solo or duo, my cooler on wheels is great.  It's a little big for just me by myself this weekend, but hey, it makes great campsite seating too!!  Especially if it's going to be hot, I freeze a gallon jug of water to keep it my food cold and I can drink the water as it melts.  Not as soggy and very useful!  I also freeze any meat that will be used the 2nd day and by day 2 it'll likely be thawing and good to go by dinnertime.  I haven't decided if I'm bringing it this weekend, I like to try to keep it healthy and not only eat vendor food, but it may be a dry good weekend this time around.

Get it in there!!!!
While in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad for the summer.  I picked up this awesome REI backpacking backpack for that adventure, thinking the wheely suitcases you usually see would be awful on the cobblestones of the old cities.  Fast forward 8 years (WHAAAA???!?!?!? THAT WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO?!?) and this pack is still just right. 

When flying solo, I get to use the little tent I bought back in 2009 when I had just started playing music.  My little REI half-dome has been many places - just big enough for me and my fiddle.  The bonus is that it is small enough to fit in my backpack alongside my sleeping pad.  I have seen a camping hack where they use those colored padded floor tiles used for kids rooms.  Good idea!

This weekend, I'll only be there 1 day if that.  With John out of town for work this past week, I kind of want to make the trip back, but since i like you has a late set, perhaps I'll stay.  We'll see.  All excuses aside, here I've packed my pjs (since that's all I'll really need) in the flap pocket.  I roll EVERYTHING whenever I travel.  It saves so much space and when you're going humid places like a music festival, laying stuff out in your tent will steam the wrinkles out.  Besides, have you ever been to a festival?  I think wrinkles are the last thing on people's minds!  Not pictured is the side pockets - If staying longer, there are spots on the side to put more clothes.

I actually don't have a sleeping bag that I can find.  I know there's probably a bunch at my mom's house, but they're pretty bulky.  I usually bring a thin fleecy blanket and a quilt made by my high school friend, Naomi.  The quilt I put down, sometimes doubled and it gives extra padding.  The fleecy blanket gives just enough blankety goodness when its a hot summer night.  Again, rolled, the fleece fits in one of those side pockets.

Bonus!  I managed to cram the quilt into the bag as well!!  DONE!  Backpack now contains all shelter, bedding, and clothing needs.  There isn't any swimming options so no swimsuit, but I would recommend a microfiber towel and a plastic bag in case you pack up with it still wet.  Toothbrush and stuff will go in the pocket on the very top - accessible but separate.

 I can't take credit for the solar lights.  Someone in the God Johnson crew had these last year - they're a MUST if you want to save people from tripping over your tent lines or if you want to be able to see when getting into your tent way late.  Yeah, I know true festi people go to sleep after the sun come back UP, it's ok.

I would be lost without my Jetboil!!!!  I asked at REI for the easiest way to make coffee when camping.  Coffee + Karen = happy fiddler.  I LOVE this contraption, shown in assembly order.  The orange thingy folds out and the fuel snaps in to be stabilized.  The metal piece screws on the fuel and with the turn of a nob and the flick of a lighter, you have a cooking element!  You put water in the canister and it boils SO FAST even when you watch it.  You'd be amazed at what you can make with this and water.  Coffee with the Starbucks VIA things, oatmeal and cream of wheat (a favorite breakfast of mine), pasta, ramen, anything you make with water!  John and I will do the Velveeta shells and cheese because you just make the shells and dump in the sauce, the possibilities are endless!!

I did lose the cover for it and another piece that I don't usually use :-(   However, it still can be used as a REALLY BIG coffee mug which is a necessity some festi days!

HEY!  It has a handle!!  You know how they say if it fits, it ships?  If it has a handle it sips!!

It is also pertinent to have proper beverage attire.  A koozie can let you express yourself and keep track of what's yours.  I need to personalize mine, but I'm kind of biased....this one is really cute!!

When it comes to camping and festivals, I do love some time to relax.  I would HIGHLY recommend a hammock!!  Everyone in i like you has an ENO one that is so great!!!  They are so easy to put up - all with carabiners.  I have a double + so it's big enough for 2 with some room to spare.  I've used it and John took it to summer camp, but we have yet to use it together!!  I hope to change that in 2013!  Check out all the band member's hammocks!!  This was from Plunderfest last year :-)

I have other upcoming things too - 6/27 with my sweetheart Johnny Kozak as our duo, "The Twin Cities" with Jason Dixon at Turtles in Shakopee.  Come see us sing together!!

Then on June 29th...ONE WEEK FROM NOW I get to make my debut with Jerry Vandiver as the fiddle player with the One Match Band!

Cool video, eh?  Jerry gets to MN next week from Nashville and I'll be rehearsing all these songs I've been listening to and working on by myself.  Time to get my country fiddling on!

6/30 with The Big Adventure at the Nomad with our good friends Black Market Brass!!!  I'll sing for you!

i like you. wil be playing Park Rapids on the 4th of July and the Gnome on the 7th.  OK, it's getting late - I have to get out to the Cabooze to go see Arthur with Hyentyte!!  bye!

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