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Camping should be first come/first serve!

Posted by Kind Herb 
Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 05:19PM
First I want to say that I appreciate all of the hard work and effort that went in to make this event possible. Without all of the staff and volunteers, SNWMF would not exist.

However, I feel that whomever is in charge of Camping, put unneccesary stress on themselves and their workers, by not making camping first come , first serve.

If people are going to take off of work on Friday, if they are employed, and sit in the parking lot for hours before the gates open, then that usually means that they don't want to camp right behind the stage in the shadeless area, and are going to do whatever it takes to get a shady spot.

Even if that means driving through the camping ticket line, multiple times, getting refunds, and generally slowing down the process. I don't know the lady in the shorts who was in charge of camping personally, and I am sure she is a nice woman, but it was sort of a guilty pleasure for my friends and I, and everyone else I know to make their lives a little harder. I mean we have been waiting for hours, what is another 1-2 more? And I get to spread the love on to some of the staff? Oh yeah! I spoke to some of my friends, who managed to get a great spot, and they said they ended up driving through the line 3-4 times, and then waiting for another hour or two up front.

We sat in the day parking lot watching all of the cars turn around, try and wait at the gate to the closed camping area, and all of the staff that had to stop what they were doing to tell the cars to move. Some heading back into camping and others getting refunds, and waiting in the day parking lot.

And all of this could have been avoided had they just opened up the best camping spots first. Reward the people who get there early!

Open up the left lot with all the trees and shade first! Then once that is full start directing people to the back lot. And once that is filled, then you can start putting people in the right lot with trees, a.k.a. the staging area before the gates open.

This would only make the camping/parking scene a whole lot nicer and easier for the staff members as well as the campers.

Please pass this on to those in charge. Much thanks!

See you next year,

Kind Herb

"Every time I smoke the herb that's the time I enter
into channels where unpolluted inspiration come from."

--Peter Tosh
jb welda
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 05:23PM
i think next year there shouldnt be any refunds.

one love
jah bill
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 05:36PM
We showed up early - followed directions, and managed to have camp setup (with the shade that we had brought) by noon - even with the many smoke breaks. I even had to pull aside to get my ticket, yet we all kept together. Also - right behind the stage is great - you can hear the artists from there when you are fighting heat exhaustion! Sounds like you need to invest in some shade tarps...
Sis April
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 06:19PM
Ya know- the RV parking area was a nightmare.
InI arrived at 6:20 am and parked in holding camp RV section. Maybe 10 other rigs before InI. Then they let all the tent campers go in first, including all the new folks that were just rolling in. InI waited until literally 11:45 before InI could get in. Then half way down to RV camping, InI got halted and had to wait for atleast 30 minutes while all the parking crew folks gathered in circle for a nice heated argument. So that was real nice to be greeted with, ya know. Then those folks split up InI 2 buses and tried to get I to park in the freakin baseball field while I other rig was in hookups camp. Remember, InI buses were both together before they cut us off! So InI have to talk to about 10 parking folks- all strung out and pissy- before I can get to my spot that I pay $150 to have. Them folks tried to ship I to the baseball field for $150!!!!!!! they told I- NO REFUNDS. Cha
So I humble suggestion is this:
PAY AN ORGANIZED AND EXPERIENCED PARKING CREW TO DO THE JOB RIGHT. No more volunteer business in the parking lot!
And I must say there was not one single parking attendant that was even slightly curteous or respectful. Serious bad vibes there and trust I, I am not the only one complaining about the parking nightmare.
Yes- FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. People that put in the energy to get there and get set up nicely should be able to do so without hostile volunteers pushing InI around.
Also- this one parking lady (tennage girl, really) was trying to tell the ashiki drummer for Ras Michael that he could not leave the parking lot!!! I was like "Girl! That's the drummer for Ras Michael! let the man through!" I guess that got her attention- she let him pass but was fighting him for a full 10 minutes before InI came along.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 06:34PM
Im so glad Im not involved in that mess...the bad vibes associated with that kind of stuff is not the way I want to start my festival off.

I know of one guy with an RV who suddenly left his off-site camping spot at about 11pm thursday nite and managed to get his motor home in sometime that evening. He obviously must have had an insider there in the RV volunteer crew who was helping him out.
One of the obvious problems with a volunteer crew directing parking...my take is volunteers are not suitable for all operations and this appears to one of them.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 06:49PM
Wow - sorry you had so much trouble Sis April! I know you were there early - I passed you on the way back to Melones after I ran to the bank. I am reminded of when I spent the night near will-call at ROTR. We sat for like 3 hours while they let the freeway people in first - saying that they had to keep the freeway clear (like the line wasn't there the entire day!). They could have cleared the lot I was in, in like 10 minutes, but some confused person made us wait... parking/directing should definitely be more organized - not something they figure out the day of the show!
Rich "DJ Spleece" Moore
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 06:54PM

Parking and traffic direction was especially bad this year, my ONLY complaint of the entire show.

My wife was driving us in and knowing already exactly where I needed to go I told her, "roll up the windows, don't stop, and just drive."

One lady was actually yelling at us, and that was after showing a backstage/ press pass and a vip camping pass. What kind of vibe is that to show up to a festival and have some angry person scream at my wife, TWO YEAR OLD and myself, who I guarantee has been to more SNWMF than this 'volunteer.'

Many stories from others in my crew (some of which came only for single days) had awful parking experiences as well.

Please hire someone for these positions next year, if you guys can!

Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 06:58PM
Those volunteers didn't know there ass from a hole in the ground.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 07:03PM
I pulled up in my RV at 2pm on Friday. There was absolutley no line. We pulled right up and paid our remaining $75 for our hook up spot and were led right in toa great spot. The whole process took about 20 minutes.

In my opinion it is not the volunteers with the problem it is when people attending/camping the festival can't follow simple rules or guidlines. They always seem to think they have some special situation that allows them to completely screw up the whole process.

Kind Herb is exactly the kind of person that ruins it for everyone else by thinking that the rules and procedures don't apply to them.

No one guranteed you a tree to camp under or the pick of the spots because you got there at 6am. Pay your fee and go to your spot. If there is no tree there bring your own shade.

I must have seen 20 arguments because people had RV reservations and decided that all of there friends could bring there cars down and park next to the RV thereby blocking other RV's from getting to their hook ups.

It is the attendees who ruin the camping not the volunteers or staff. Big up to SNWMF crew for putting up with all of the bullshit.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 07:11PM
I think there was a serious lack of communication between the volunteers. I didn't care what spot I was getting, and I got turned around twice because the volunteers seemed to not know the difference between "day parking" and "camping". I think I just ran into a couple of "diamonds in the rough", if you know what I mean. Boy were they rude too!!
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 07:15PM
Believe me I knpow that many of the volunterrs are not given good instructions as to what they are supposed to be doing and what the rules are. However, having dealt with it first hand I do know that it does not matter what you tell people, the campers try to find a way to do whatever they want to do.

I personally believe they should hire professional security and parking people to handle everything.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 07:23PM
I think they should have patrons that don't think they're the only ones on the planet. This coming from one of the guys that was taking your money.
Sis April
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 07:46PM
Yes- I fully agree. Festival goers can get so pushy thinking their situation is more important then the common. But really- I was always more than polite and loving to all folks- especially the volunteers. There was serious vibes and it wasn't from my end- truly.
But regardless of where the fault lies- a paid parking crew would eliminate so much confusion and strife on EVERYONES end!
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 08:40PM
I arrived at 12:30. Pulled in, paid my $30 and got a really good camping spot. Everyone was very nice to me. No problems what so ever. There was no line at that time either. I feel like I really lucked out this year. I hope my luck will still be with me next year too because what the rest of you had to witness or go through would be a really downer way to start the festival.
Does anyone know WHY they keep the lights on all night? I felt so bad for those having to camp in the baseball field. It looked like a tanning bed. I made a mental note to bring extra tarps next year in case I get a spot there.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 09:18PM
To all,

I am just offering a suggestion to help improve the process for next year.

Never did I raise my voice to the volunteers, or call them any names. I was as polite as possible to everyone I encountered, as were my friends.

My basic argument is this, just like seats to a general admission concert, camping should be first come first served.

I did bring a shade structure, as did my friends, but having a tree makes a camp that much better and cooler.

My friends and I have been attending SNWMF for years now. This was my 3rd in a row, while it was the 5th for my friends. We have camped all over and we like the shady tree spots the best.

As for procedures that apply or not, I ask you what procedures? I didn't snake a RV spot or try and reserve a huge spot for a small number of friends.

I didn't want to get a refund for camping, but that was the only way they were going to let us out of that area. So we complied. I never demanded a refund or asked for one. They told me that I couldn't leave the area with a camping ticket so that was their solution not mine.

No matter, whatever they decide on, we will all have to deal with that when the time comes.

See you next year!

Kind Herb

"Every time I smoke the herb that's the time I enter
into channels where unpolluted inspiration come from."

--Peter Tosh
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 09:45PM
I had a lot of people airing their gripes to me about how things were done last year and I would have told them to go home had I not been representing the festival. Then there were those who appreciated everything we were doing and offered me some herb or water as a thank you. Thanks to all the nice people that come with understanding. Why would you come to a killer festival like this just to start it off with bad vibes? It's not the workers with the bad vibes. Granted there are isolated incidents and people are people after all, but they wouldn't be there if they didn't want to. If some of you knew what it takes to make this thing happen, you might show a little humilty and respect to those that are trying to provide you the best experience possible. To expect preferential treatment without actually needing it, i.e. alter-abled parking, you're just plain being selfish and spoiling it for the rest of us.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 09:48PM
If any of you were wondering, I was the guy wearing the grey adidas shorts in the middle row of the camping line from 7 - 12 in the morning. I'll bet a few of us from the forum crossed each others paths and didn't even know it.
Sis April
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 09:55PM

See- really- it wasn't cool the way these parking folks were firstly shining the public, then being snotty asses with some serious ego/power trip to every common festival goer with the simplest of questions and then screwing up and sending mass amounts of cars into full parking areas (only to be turned around by the next round of parking attendants) and then fighting amongst themselves for DAYS while the whole line up is halted, breathing diesel exhaust and whatnot in the heat.....
no one I saw was asking for preferential treatment. Just a simple place to park the damn RV! Shade? trees? that is luxury. Seen. no one I saw was expecting squat but an organized parking crew to aid the major flow.
Seriously folks- Paid parking crews are worth the money and I give thanks to the attendants that volunteer. BUT- if InI can do a little something to conquer the caos then it must be done. Seen. Plus, we all know this venue brought in some serious CASH and can definately afford a freaking parking crew.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 22, 2004 09:56PM
Kind Herb you ask what procedure? Well the first procedure is to lead a line of cars into a camping area and fill that one first leaving rows for people to drive through. You do that until all lots are full. The main difference between that and your reference to general admission concert is that we are talking about cars tha will be parked for camping leaving fire lanes, etc. not people running up in front of the stage at the beginning of a concert.

Can you imagine the mayhem if you paid a fee at the gate and they just said go wherever you want. They have to try and fill it one lot at a time so that they can leave room for the aisles for emergency vehicles and to fit the maximum number of camping spots in a space.

I understand your frustration after getting there so ealry but they have to do it that way. I also understand that many of the volunteers are not as knowledgeable or understanding as they should be. But that is what we have to work with. Hopefully it didn't ruin your festival experience.

Maybe it will be tweaked and refined a little more next year. Let's hope so!
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 23, 2004 02:15AM
four twenty plenty and jjlab3 sound like they were probably 2 of the main people being rude about the parking, camping situation, there were many more. to say that we the patrons started this thing off with a bad attitude is ignorant. we were the people that were super stoked to be here, just made journeys from hell, and paid lots of our hard earned money to be treated like the paying customers that we were.
they were the ones out in the hot ass sun working for free missing the show, and in my opinion being very rude about it, in some cases. most everybody was righteous
but i agree there were some crappy parking people and obviously it should be first come first serve. my friends were there first thing and got shadeless area behind the stage, while all the weed dealers and glass salesmen were in the treed area. oh well i liked to be able to shop in the shade. lol.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 23, 2004 02:50AM
And I wasn't stoked either? Few didn't act that way. I can't speak for jj or most of the others, but I know I wasn't one of the rude ones and neither were the people in the immediate area I was in. I had my happy face going and regardless of what was said to me I did my best to smile and provide answers if I could. Maybe it was paid staff that you're referring to. They work damn hard to get this thing going and the time that those gates open is peak stress time. That being said, there were definitely some issues that need to be addressed and rest assured I'll make my suggestions. Don't even come at me with the ignorant talk until you've sat in my shoes. The ignorant ones were those that expected to get their way while IGNORING the fact that there were other people in line. The most important thing when those flood gates opened was to keep people moving and get them where they were going. There was one group that tried to sneak people in under some stuff two times yet I kept my smile and tried to offer solutions. I can't tell you how many people had their caravan separated and even though we were told that that was TS and to keep them going, we still did our best to accomodate. Why don't you give it a try next year dc and see it firsthand. Maybe you can help improve the situation. It was first come first serve. If you got there first you were served to the first area. Do you want it to be first come first choice? How do you suggest they do that? I know it was done differently this year and that the area everyone wanted to go to was the first area last year, but the staff in their wisdom did it the way they did. I think the fact that the shadeless area was the first to go is the real issue that caught people off guard. You expect to be rewarded a good spot if you're there early right? Sorry about that. That's just the way it was. Some felt they had to take it out on those that had no control over it. Worse were those that got here Thursday night, paid $20 to stay the night and sit in line and then another $30 the next day to camp for the weekend. My advice for next year, don't come on Thursday. We're talking about a small minority of the campers. Most did show patience and appreciation for our effort.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 23, 2004 05:27AM
My 2 cents:

I did the festival camping in marysville for many years and the first year at angels camp, only...never camped at rotr at the venue, although i used to go down there to just watch the show on friday morning as they opened the gates. And some show it was.

rotr has been struggling with a solution to this problem for over 20 years and snwmf over 10 years. I dont believe there will ever be a totally satisfactory solution...not when you just have open areas and no marked camping sites. rotr has minimized some of the problems by separating the cars from the camping...but in my view, that is unacceptable to not be near your car(to secure your valuables, etc.)

The first year at angels camp there was almost no order, therefore no fire lanes and no service access for the toilets in some areas.
I found the biggest problem was being separated from your friends
as sometimes you didnt reach the line at the same time. I dont really need shade but it is really important that I can camp next to my friends. After that first year, that was it for me, I now camp off-site.

I watched for awhile at the venue this year as the cars moved slowly up the hill from the main road next to the prime camping area that was to be filled much later. I saw people jumping out of cars and running over to the tree line, staking out large areas with whatever
they had, some just standing there hoping to hold an area under a tree, some had marked off huge areas with poles. I was thinking, this is a situation ripe for a big ugly confrontation; Can people really take that much area, who resolves all the disputes over camping space thats not marked? I have no idea how it all worked out, perhaps someone can elaborate. Anarchy is usually not a good thing.

As far as the RV parking is concerned, it seems to me that a solution can and should be worked out. I would think all the RV spots, at least with hookups, can be marked out in advance with chalk lines and a site number. Based on some scheme(lottery or whatever), you know what site you have before you show up so it doesnt matter when you get there, and all the parking crew has to do is direct you to your site.
Maybe Im missing something here, but that seems like an obvious solution to this first come not always first served madness Ive heard about for the last few years in the RV area.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 23, 2004 04:37PM
In response to DCSmoke I was not working at the festival this year. Just an attendee like everyone else. I had a wonderful expeirence arriving and checking in. Took all of about 20 minutes.

There are two sides to every story, just trying to explain how there will never be a perfect solution to the parking/camping problem and that many of the volunteers can be rude because of the fact that people just absolutley do not listen to the rules and feel like they are entitled to special treatment or to break the rules because the rules don't benefit them.

It will be this way again next year. It is sunny and hot. Deal with it. Get there at 2pm next year like I did. Everything worked out perfect.

His is another great idea. If you can run the parking and camping so much better step up and volunteeer or join the staff. I am sure we would all benefit from your expertise.
Re: Camping should be first come/first serve!
June 23, 2004 06:56PM
Rhythmwise, I made that exact suggestion about the RV area a couple of years ago. I didn't hear of any disputes over people taking up too much space though. As far as I know the RV spaces were assigned with a few left over in case those with reserved spaces had there hookups on the wrong side. Then they were moved to an unreserved space that worked for them. There was however an incident in the RV area which I will not elaborate on. I can only say sorry to those that witnessed it. I was not there at the time, but I was the guy driving around in the cart Friday night helping the RV coordinator resolve the problem. Hope everyone was satisfied. I plan on making a couple of suggestions for that area too.

The parking situation is one that may never get resolved. It's just difficult logistically. I do however agree that those there first on Friday should be exposed to the best camping area and get their first choice in that area. How that will be received I don't know.
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