At Carspring, we’d love to have our own cars with us when away on vacation. The reality for most of us is that we need to hire a car, use
At Carspring, we’re getting ready for the upcoming festival season. Usually, we write about cars and how amazing they are. Today, though, we’re going to tell you about the time when you need to leave your car at home. You might imagine that a long road trip with your friends would be the perfect precursor to a weekend of booze, potions, and powders. But driving to festivals is not as rosy as you might think.
Between our team we have attended all of these 5 top festivals (hard work, we know) and we thought we’d set the record straight. Taking your car to a festival is not always the best option. For some, you’ll have to drive hundreds of miles to get anywhere close. Parking can be a problem, too. And then there’s the issue of who gets to be the ‘lucky’ designated driver. No one wants to have to deal with a moody mate when you’re trying to get messy on the final night.
Even if you think that you’ll need the car to haul camping stuff, booze, and food to the festivals, realistically, it doesn’t make any sense. Your food sweats, your drinks gets warm, and even if you decide to bring ice, it’ll melt pretty much straight away. And when it comes to camping gear, you’ve travelled before, right? With most festivals, you can also hire or even buy your equipment on site. We may be petrolheads here at Carspring, but when it comes to festivals, we say leave the car at home.
Instead, there are far more sensible, misery-free ways to experience these 5 festivals NOT to drive to…
1. Boom Festival, Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal
|Boom Festival - Driving Facts|
|The best way to get to Boom||BOOM Bus from Switzerland, Belgium, Madrid, or Portugal|
|Number of people||30,000|
|Cost for driving under the influence||Severe fine, licence withdrawal, or imprisonment|
|Waiting time||6-8 hours|
Rocking up in a gas guzzler is no way to arrive at an eco-friendly festival. It might be in the middle of nowhere, but taking a Boom Bus from Switzerland, Belgium, Madrid, or Portugal is a much better way to get to Boom. As festival-goer Matthew Wise says, “the bus is certainly the simplest and most hassle-free means of getting there.” Boom puts them on for good reason too. In 2016, 800 tonnes of CO2 were saved from people not using their cars. Alternatively, you could even cycle. In the past Boom Festival has allowed cyclists in for free. Plus, it’s well in-keeping with the festival’s eco-conscious mantra.
Even if you rocked up in a car, you’d end up spending a whole day waiting, melting inside a hot metal box. With an 8-hour drive, and as Reddit user alechko says, a “6-8 hour wait” at the gates, it’s definitely not the way to start the party vibes for the weekend. After the festival, you will have major issues finding your car too. With Boom being so dusty and hot, you can’t even see the colour of each car at the end of the festival, never mind the license plate. Plus, with the bus taking party-goers directly into the festival, you won’t have to queue up for ages to pitch your tent. And, you’re more likely to meet some cool new people if you travel by bus!
2. Fusion Festival, Larz, Germany
|Fusion Festival - Driving Facts|
|The best way to get to Fusion Festival||BASSLINER bus|
|Number of people||70,000|
|Cost for driving under the influence||Minimum €500 fine, 1 month license suspension|
|Waiting time||6-24 hours|
Fusion Festival is Germany’s techno paradise. Set up in a former military airport, it’s one of Europe’s counter cultural-events of the year. The ethos is to experience over its four to six days a different way of living. With avant-garde art, vegetarian food, and no pre-released setlist, you’re not encouraged to star hop. Instead, free your mind and let Fusion seep its magic through your synapses.
With this in mind, it’d seem a bit pointless bothering with driving to Fusion. Especially with group train tickets on offer from Hamburg and Berlin. You can also catch the BASSLINER bus, which links the festival with dozens of German cities. Hell, you could even try to hitch a ride if you’re feeling adventurous. Whatever your method, it’s sure to be better than waiting a minimum of 6 hours (and sometimes up to 24 hours) just for the car park. And with the festival getting busier each year, it’s getting harder and harder to find a parking spot. So much so that it contributed to Fusion being cancelled in 2017. So plan ahead, and in 2018, leave the car at home.
3. Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, UK
|Glastonbury Festival - Driving Facts|
|The best way to get to Glastonbury Festival||National Express|
|Number of people||175,000|
|Cost for driving under the influence||3 months imprisonment, £2,500 fine, driving ban|
|Waiting time||5-12 hours|
Forget waiting in car parks. When it comes to Glastonbury, not only should you take part in the festival’s eco-conscious mantra, you should also avoid the stress out of driving. Especially as you’re unlikely to be in any fit state to drive, either coming or going. Plus, with parking fees costing £45 for the weekend, it won’t be cheap either. And as the GlastoEarth blog suggests, “the roads around the site got very congested with traffic at a standstill.” We’ve personally experienced waiting times of 5-12 hours. Avoid the car at all costs.
There are two better, easier ways to get to Shangri La. The first is to take a train to Castle Cary, a 6-mile trek from the site. Fortunately, organisers put on a free bus service, so you can vibe all weekend. The second is to take a direct National Express coach to the site. With services from all across the country, it’s the simplest and easiest way to get to one of the world’s best, and most famous music festivals. We’ve tried both the car and the coach, and trust us, the coach is way way easier.
4. Rainbow Serpent Festival, Victoria, Australia
|Rainbow Serpent Festival - Driving Facts|
|The best way to get to Rainbow Serpent Festival||Charter Bus from Melbourne|
|Number of people||Unknown|
|Cost for driving under the influence||Heavy fines, loss of license, in some cases imprisonment|
|Waiting time||4-10 hours|
When it comes to the weird and wonderful, the Rainbow Serpent Festival is up there with the best in the world. With art installations, holistic healing workshops, and leading trance DJs, it’s a unique experience. As with most of the festivals on this list, Rainbow Serpent has an eco-friendly image. So driving there is not the thing to do if you want to keep to the ethos of the week.
Despite the festival’s amazing reputation for chilled out vibes and amazing music, the festival has had its controversy with drivers. In 2016, one in 250 drivers leaving the festival failed a drugs test. Hardly a surprise, but you don’t want to be one of those ending up behind bars. Leave the car at home, and get a charter bus from Melbourne. It’s cheap, eco-friendly, and will save you time, money and effort. With queues of anywhere between 4-10 hours for the car park, taking your car is really not worth the stress.
5. Burning Man, Idaho, USA
|Burning Man - Driving Facts|
|The best way to get to Burning Man||Burner Express Bus from San Francisco or Reno|
|Number of people||60,000|
|Cost for driving under the influence||10 day mandatory jail sentence, up to 1 year|
|Waiting time||12 hours+|
A festival in the middle of the desert will never be the easiest place to get to. Especially when 60,000+ people are trying to get there at the same time. As blogger Kiersten Rich suggests, “Wherever you come in from, be prepared for traffic. Getting in and out of Black Rock City can take anywhere up to 12 hours (or longer).” In other words, get the Burner Express Bus from San Francisco or Reno instead.
Burning Man is one of the craziest, unique festivals on the planet. Forget bringing money, as the only way to get stuff at Burning Man are through playa gifts. You might think you’d need the space of a car to bring enough gifts to go around, but there are other ways to share the love. One person came up with the amazing idea of bringing bicycle repair tools. Not only do they take up next-to-no space, it helped out loads of people over the course of the festival, repairing many of Burning Man’s bikes.
Yet another reason to leave the car at home is the fact that fatalities have only occurred at Burning Man when a car has been involved. Amazing when you consider the heat and drugs consumed. Leave the car at home, chill with beers on the way there, and post-festival hippy potions on the way back. Take the bus, or hitch a ride, bring smaller things to trade, save some money, and get down and dirty in the desert.