Ah, summer: the smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of cicadas. It’s a time for fireworks and family reunions, picnics and barbecues. It’s also a time to sweat your bojangles off as you boogie down to your favorite bands with thousands of your ripest friends.
Such is the scene at summer music festivals around the country. And while there are countless festivals to choose from, we’re partial to those that offer camping. Even better? Festivals that make their home in remote surroundings, where sudsing up in nature’s bathtub is part of the whole experience. Check out five of our favorites—and don’t forget to pack the Dr. Squatch.
Wakarusa – Ozark, AR – June 4 to 7
Set atop Mulberry Mountain in Arkansas’s rural Ozarks, 11-year-old Wakarusa combines some of the biggest names in music with outdoor activities aplenty. After morning yoga with Alice Steuerwald, cool off and freshen up with a dip in the Mulberry River. Or, strike out on your own for a hike and some fishing in the foothills. On your way back to camp, fill your tote bag with fresh, local produce from the on-site farmers market. And when the sun goes down, get down with it to bands like Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The Roots, Thievery Corporation, and Portugal. The Man.
Dr. Squatch Essentials: Both muggy and muddy, Wakarusa calls for a strong exfoliant. Be sure to pack a bar of Pine Tar soap, made with oatmeal for extra exfoliation.
Telluride Bluegrass – Telluride, CO – June 18 to 21
The venerable Telluride Bluegrass festival, set in a box canyon in the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, has been bringin’ the stringin’ for 42 finger-pickin’ years. And this year, the country’s largest bluegrass festival is back to its roots, offering camping at a variety of sites within seven miles of the music. When you aren’t stompin’ a foot to Greensky Bluegrass and Ricky Skaggs, find a swimming hole on the San Miguel River Trail, which can be accessed from side streets around town.
Dr. Squatch Essentials: Cool Fresh Aloe soap—you’ll need it for that high-altitude sunburn.
High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA – July 2 to 5
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, HSMF is all about good vibes and community. During the day, this family-friendly festival features music, games, arts and crafts, parades, and performances for all ages, while nightfall brings jam bands such as The String Cheese Incident and Umphrey’s McGee to the stage. Even deeper into the evening: intimate late-night shows of the funky, electronic sort. But the real highlight of High Sierra is its location. A quick 15-minute drive from the festival fairgrounds (hint: Google “Oakland Feather River Camp”) puts you at a secluded beach and swimming hole—the perfect place to clean up after a game of silent-disco kickball at sunrise.
Dr. Squatch Essentials: Eucalyptus Greek Yogurt soap—made with shea butter, Greek yogurt extract, and Eucalyptus oil—is great for hydrating in dry climates like the Sierras.
The Pirate Party – Lolo Hot Springs, MT – July 31 to August 2
Pirates, music, mountains, hot springs? Now that’s a parrrty! An hour’s drive from the heady college town of Missoula, this buccaneer-themed festival attracts a younger university crowd that gives double meaning to the term “pirate’s booty.” The music skews toward EDM, but reggae, dub, and jam music are also part of the lineup. Plus: fire dancers! During the day, take a soak in Lolo Hot Springs or explore one of the many nearby hiking trails that crisscross the Bitterroot Mountains. And don’t forget your frolf discs: There’s an 18-hole disc-golf course on-site.
Dr. Squatch Essentials: Would a pirate bathe with anything other than Bay Rum soap? Make like your favorite peg-legged captain and soak yourself in the tropical scents of crushed cloves, cinnamon sticks, pine needles, and citrus.
Bear Creek Music & Art Festival – Live Oak, FL – October 1 to 4
This is the funkiest happening east of New Orleans. From Galactic and Soulive to Dumpstaphunk and Victor Wooten, this North Florida festival is all about drums, bass, and brass. Oh, and a whole lot of dancing. When you’re not sweating it out at one of several stages, make your way to nearby Suwannee Springs for a swim and a bath.
Dr. Squatch Essentials: In a place that produces the majority of the country’s oranges, you’d better come prepared with a bar of Cedar Citrus soap, made with cedarwood, rosemary, and orange.
Feature Image per: Eva Rinaldi, “Future Music Festival 2013” CC 2.0
Banner Image thanks to: Benko PhotographicsLast modified: November 19, 2019