I recently returned home from what was sadly my only camping festival of the summer – FARM Fest (which apparently stands for Future of Artistic Revolutionary Minds, so I learned when I saw it on my bracelet). At a fraction of the attendees of other festivals, FARM was easily the smallest festival I’ve ever been to, and in that sense it was a true learning experience for me. It was both interesting and refreshing for me to see the difference in how things are run on a smaller scale. Let’s see how it all went down!
Negligible all around. While most festivals make you wait hours and hours to get in with your car, we waited about 10 minutes in the car to pay for our parking spot. Security then involved some staff asking us if we had any glass bottles in the car, which we did not, and then we were on our way to park and unload our things. It was so quick it was almost magical.
FARM is also the first festival I’ve attended where the camping was part of the actual festival grounds, so there were no additional security checks when you wanted to go see music. You weren’t allowed to bring alcohol up to the main stage so there was a staff person checking for that, but the fact that you could bring your beers to the other 2 stages was a huge bonus and something I hadn’t experienced anywhere else. I cannot stress enough how nice it was to not have to go through security from camping to the music, because it meant you could return to your campsite at any time to grab a sweatshirt or even just sit down for awhile.
The chillest of hippies. Many many dreadlocks. Everyone is friendly and barefoot.
The Fun Stuff
As a low budget festival, FARM doesn’t have rides or any of the crazy stuff that other fests have. What they do have, however, is a lake, which is really nice for cooling off during the day, or wading in at night while you listen to music from the main stage (this is very similar to the setup at Camp Bisco, though Bisco’s wave pool is obviously artificial). FARM also has a ton of really talented artists doing live painting, which was fun to watch.
If you’ve ever read any of my festival recaps, you know that I’m pretty adamant about festivals making it easy for attendees to get water. The one huge downfall of FARM for me is that they don’t provide free water. You’re expected to bring your own, which everyone did, and while it turned out fine because we had plenty to go around, I was still sort of shocked when I learned from FARM veterans that there would be no water refill stations available. Though a random staff member did hand me a bottle of water as I walked past the medical tent, so I guess they do try to make sure people are hydrated at least a little bit.
Teeny tiny! You could walk the whole thing, camping included, in just a few minutes. My favorite kind of layout because you don’t tire out your legs just trying to get to the stages.
FARM is in South Jersey, so…get thee to a car. Super easy, assuming you live relatively close by, which I do.
You can go to FARM on the low low. I paid a whopping $90 for all 3 days of the festival, which is less than what I’ve paid in the past for a single day ticket to other fests.
Overall, I would say that FARM Fest can be characterized as having a general lack of rules and structure, which is pretty fun, but can also be a bit of a struggle for those who are used to the bigger festivals. The schedule wasn’t released until 2 or 3 days beforehand, which is absurdly late, and while there were supposedly a ton of workshops, the only thing I ever saw was some type of nature walk. The festival grounds were way too dark at night and things were on the whole pretty disorganized. However, I think this is really just how it goes with the small festivals, and it’s a pretty worthy sacrifice for the freedom and friendliness of such a small camping environment. I’d absolutely attend FARM again – at $90 for a ticket, you really can’t go wrong.