Friday, March 23, 2007

Dancin' Dave's Festival Camping

We were sitting in our camp site recuperating from last weekend’s bluegrass festival when we saw the big suburban pulling a large utility trailer with Dancin’ Dave’s Festival Camping scrawled across the side in script. I knew Springfest was going to be a big festival when I saw him arrive. I had never met Dave before, but I knew him from his contributions and promotions on the mailing lists of Merlefest and Grey Fox. Dave provides a service unique to bluegrass and Americana music festivals.

Dancin’ Dave rents on-site tent accommodations to people wishing to attend a festival who do not have camping gear and who don’t want to or can’t afford to rent a class C motor home to attend. Many festivals are held in venues where there are few motels available or the ones available are booked months or years in advance. They are often in rural areas, on farms, music parks, or campgrounds where the facilities are limited or non-existent. Through Dancin’ Dave a person or family can rent a bare tent or a full setup with tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and folding chairs at a range of prices from $200.00 to over $600.00 depending how elaborate the setup is and how many people are involved.

I strolled over to his tent and introduced myself, and, to my surprise, he knew my name from the e-mail lists. Dave was busy, but not too busy, putting up one of the Eureka tents he uses as rentals. He said he works seven festivals a year (Suwannee Springfest, Merlefest, spring and fall Lake Eden Arts Festival, Grey Fox, Floyd World Music Festival , and Magnolia Fest in Suwannee) and can handle up to about twenty clients. At this festival he pitches all his tents on one site, but at others, like Merlefest, he has clients at four different campgrounds. He has very little problem with his equipment being mistreated.

Dave is not only a festival entrepreneur, but he is a noted dancer, as his nickname attests. He has a laid back, easygoing approach to life. For a day job he works for his home town in northern Wisconsin, where he drives a snow plow. Because he’s been on the job for many years and works holidays and vacation periods he builds up lots of comp time, which enables him to get away for the festivals he works. Since most of the work takes place before and after each festival, he is free to enjoy the music and get plenty of dancing during the festival itself.

You can contact Dancin’ Dave at:


If pulling a trailer half way across the country to attend one of the festivals he serves seems like too much of a bother, or even if you want to meet a guy whose zest for life enriches the experience of those around him, you might just give Dancin’ Dave a call.

1 comment:

  1. Please give Dave my regards, and his wife, too (whose name escapes me now). We used to visit with them in the two or three days before Merlefest, and enjoyed his company. Thanks, Ted, for putting him in the blog.