Last weekend I traveled to a little town near Albany for Disc Jam, a new festival for me (yayyyy). It was a new experience not only in that I had never attended this fest before, but in that it was my first time volunteering at a festival, something I’ve often thought about doing but never actually did. Let’s talk festival deets and then I’ll discuss my volunteer experience. Heeeere we go!
Disc Jam is a festival of only around 2,000 people, by far the smallest I’ve ever attended. There are no lines for anything, ever, anywhere. Instead of waiting in your car for hours to get into a parking lot, you just…pull into the parking lot. It’s a magical thing.
Cool people abound! The tiny festivals tend to attract the most down to earth, friendly people. Everyone I met was great. A+ festival friends.
If you play frisbee golf, which I certainly do not, that’s a big deal here as they have a few tourneys throughout the weekend (hence the “disc” in “Disc Jam”). They also have really incredible art on display, and I would have bought a million pieces if I had both money and space on my wall. I had to settle for just looking at it.
Disc Jam has an unofficial/official symbol of a pineapple, for reasons unknown to me. In addition to pineapples showing up on festival art, the edge of the main stage is lined with pineapples. People take them, cut them open, and make fabulous fruity drinks out of them. I got back to my campsite one time and my friends passed me a pineapple where they had used a knife to chop up the inside into tiny pieces and poured tequila in it. I actually hate tequila (but will tolerate it in margaritas) but this was so fabulous and summery.
There was one free water station, or so I heard. I also heard that the water from it tasted terrible. I do not know this to be true as I drank out of bottles the whole weekend (sorry, environment!).
The festival was tiny and we were able to hear the main stage pretty clearly from both my campsite and my perch at the box office, which was my volunteer job for the weekend. Everything is so close to everything else that I didn’t get nearly as sweaty or tired as I do at other festivals. There was one stage in the woods which was very reminiscent of Electric Forest (which I am leaving for in FOUR DAYS!!) and super cool.
Friends with cars are cool! It was a little under a 3 hour drive from NYC. I cannot imagine that there is any type of easy public transportation there.
I think the festival cost, at most, $180 for the weekend if you bought your ticket at the super last minute. And that’s for FOUR DAYS. (I have now capitalized “FOUR DAYS” twice in this blog post.) Super duper cheap.
Volunteering was an interesting experience. I initially signed up because I wanted to go to the festival but had no one to go with, and so I thought this would be a good way to meet people. I ended up having a whole Disc Jam posse and so while I was still happy to go to the festival for free, I didn’t really feel like I needed the volunteer experience anymore. I had 6 hour shifts in the box office but there wasn’t all that much to do, so it was a lot of sitting around and then making the occasional ticket sale. My shift was from 9am to 3pm so while I didn’t miss any music I wanted to see, I did miss a lot of sitting around doing nothing at the campsite, which is, in all honesty, some of the best parts of camping festivals. I did meet some great people volunteering, but I think in the future I would stick to volunteering only for more expensive festivals. Saving ~$150 was not entirely worth it, but it was a fun experiment, at least.
I would absolutely go back to Disc Jam in the future, especially if the lineup is ever as great as it was this year (more on that later). First camping festival of the season = success!