Pack your bags, it’s nearly time!

The thought of FPF being only days away fills us with excitement, but also with that sense of dread – it’s time to pack all the things!

Where do we start? What do we bring? What do we leave?

We’ve compiled a list of ‘ne-fest-ities’ (festival necessities, see what we did?) to help your packing process. Get those bags filled, and we will see you on Friday!!

We are getting our ne-FEST-ities piled up now!

WHAT TO BRING

Camping gear – Be sure to check off our comprehensive list of camping supplies here.

Reusable water bottle – FPF is committed to being a low waste venue, and our newly updated Hydration Station (THANK YOU, Mechanical Designs of Virginia, Inc.) is conveniently located near the food vendors and Merch Shack. Be sure to bring a reusable bottle or two (but no glass please!). Many campers bring large camping bladders to fill each day for water at the campsite.

Bug spray – most of the camping areas are wooded, and Spirithaven Farm has an immense amount of water, which means an immense amount of insects! Keep yourself protected with a quality insect repellent.

Sunscreen – you will be soaking up a lot of rays walking around the festival grounds. Keep your skin its best by applying a safe sunscreen a few times a day!

Rain gear – Some people bring a stuffable poncho, some grab their favorite rain slicker, and some kill two birds with one stone and bring a folding umbrella – rain protection AND a sun shade! No matter what you choose, be sure to pack rain gear, just in case!

Rain and cool weather gear is always in style! Front Porch Fest 9/17- Photo by Roger Gupta

Layers – the weather at the foot of the mountains can fluctuate wildly, so be prepared for heat AND cold. Pack a few pair of wool socks and a light sweater.

Comfortable shoes – the terrain at Spirithaven is rough, with gravel, dirt roads, and the occasional spiky plant on the path. Keep your feet cool and protected with a pair of comfortable sandals, and bring an extra pair of shoes in case of rain.

Washcloth & eco-friendly soap – there are not public shower facilities on site, so be sure to prepare for a few “festival baths.” We love a spray or squirt bottle of water, a fluffy washcloth, and a bar of biodegradable soap.

Electronics – the service on site is very spotty, so your phone may only serve as your camera for the weekend, but there are a few places to get a text message out, and don’t forget to bring a solar charger for your devices!

 

Reusable bottles for the whole family are a necessity at Front Porch Fest!

For the kids – bubbles, glow sticks, extra clothes, sun hat, water bottles, plenty of healthy snacks

Cash – Cellular service is poor at the farm, which means most vendors prefer cash to credit. There is no ATM on site. Be smart: keep your cash secure in your campsite/car, and only carry small amounts on your person.

A good attitude and an open mind – FPF is a great place to meet like-minded people, reconnect with old friends, and take in the amazing energy from music, laughter, and nature. Bring your smiles and your hugs, and don’t forget to pack your best dance moves!

What to leave at home – large amounts of cash and other valuables, pets, weapons, open flames, charcoal grills, white pants (it can get pretty muddy out here!), and negative vibes.

 

Where You Lay Your Head… Camping and Lodging Options to Enjoy FPF10

Music festivals are, for many people, like mini-vacations; all the fun of getting away from home without travelling for hours or even days. The positive, cash-saving benefits of a small, grassroots festival like Front Porch Fest are almost endless, but a big question first time festival-goers often struggle with is, “Where will I sleep?” Unlike the beach vacation you planned, festivals don’t have a strip of hotels and houses at the doorstep, so what are the options?

The first choice for most festival patrons is, of course, tent camping. Here at FPF, tent camping is included in the price of your weekend pass, and we have both field and woods camping available. All of our camping sites are close to the main festival ground, and there are no limits to how large you can make your tent estate! Our woods campsites have several foot bridges that connect to the parking area, and we often have volunteers with vehicles helping to move campers in on Friday morning and early afternoon.

New this year, FPF is offering car camping. We are very excited to be able to expand our camping experience into this category, and have had a good response to our limited number of spaces. Car camping includes a 20’x20′ space for (1) car, (1) tent, and (1) 10×10 canopy. Cost is $40, plus the cost of your weekend general admission or VIP ticket. Again, car camping spaces are located convenient to the main festival grounds, making it easy to pop out to your campsite for a rest or refresh.

VIP tickets at Front Porch Fest include access to our shaded, well groomed VIP camping area. These spaces, just like all of our camping, is first come, first serve, but there is plenty of space for all to enjoy. VIP camping also has a few shaded relaxation spots hidden away, and a wonderful view of the small stream that runs along the camping area and out into the parking lots.  VIP tickets include meals in our exclusive kitchen, camping, Thursday entry and VIP party access, beer tickets, and a swag bag, all for $225 per person.

 

In addition to tent camping, some festival patrons bring their “home on wheels,” as Front Porch Fest offers on-site unplugged RV camping. With an RV pass, you have space for your camper, one vehicle, and usually a pop up or two. RV passes are limited, but are a very affordable $80 with the purchase of your General Admission or VIP weekend pass.                                        

 

But what if “roughing it” is not your style? You like a shower every morning; you prefer lounging in the AC to falling asleep to the sound of the crickets? If that sounds like you, Patrick County has several lodging options that are guaranteed to keep you dry and comfortable, but also an easy drive away from the festival site.

Uptown Suites in Stuart has been a sponsor of Front Porch Fest for several years, and offers beautiful suites at affordable prices, walking distance from restaurants and shopping, and only about ten minutes away from Spirithaven Farm, the home of FPF.

Front Porch Fest also works with Primland Resorts, which is a bit further away from our site but offers amazing lodging options and also spa, golf, and other amenities, giving you the option to turn your festival weekend into a full-week getaway, experiencing all the best that Patrick County has to offer.

Wherever you choose to lay your head, you are sure to have a fabulous festival weekend. Join us this Labor Day weekend for a mini-vacation that will cap off your summer in style!

 

 

 

Why Volunteer at Front Porch Fest?

This week, the FPF team is gearing up to launch our annual volunteer drive, so it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit one of our popular blog posts from last year – Why Volunteer at Front Porch Fest?

Like most festivals, FPF thrives on its volunteer workforce. Of the millions of people that attend music festivals each year, many have never volunteered, so why should you? It’s simple!

As a veteran volunteer explained, “You’ve not fully experienced a festival until you’ve worked behind the scenes, witnessing all the planning, the manual labor, and the tedious detail that are involved in getting this amazing weekend off the ground.”

As a volunteer, not only do you get a look behind the curtain, but you also get to be a part of the Front Porch Family. “I’ve volunteered before at FPF and enjoyed it very much – great group of people to work and spend time with.” We love our volunteers and as one volunteer mentioned, they love us too: “Loved volunteering with FPF! Excited for round 2.”

The Front Porch Fest staff is always thankful for ticket holders, who come and have a great time, dancing until the wee hours of the morning, setting up brilliant campsites, and sharing the magic of the festival scene with their children. However, we’re also especially grateful for the volunteers. They give their precious festival time to the inner workings of the fest, helping to create the magic that everyone on site enjoys.

This year, we invite YOU to join the Front Porch Fest volunteer team! In return for two 5-hour shifts, volunteers receive free weekend admission, a unique T-Shirt, an invitation to the after-party, and a peek behind the scenes at inner workings of our amazing festival!

To sign up, fill out the application at frontporchfest.com/volunteer.

A Look Back… FPF in Review

 

With the 10th annual Front Porch Fest rapidly approaching, I sat down with the festival founders to reflect on the last 10 years. We discussed how the festival has grown over the past decade and highlights from each year.

Front Porch Fest (FPF) was created at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Patrick County, Virginia. In 2008, it started as a gathering of friends and family; a going away celebration. Bands played on the porch of the house and friends sat together on blankets around a small fire pit enjoying the music. A seed was planted that night and in 2009, the first annual Front Porch Fest was established.

Front Porch Fest’s first home was on a private property bordering the Dan River in Danbury, NC. It started in 2009 as a Saturday-only event and 4 bands took the stage in its inaugural year. The cost of admission was extremely affordable – bring a few cans of food to donate to the local food bank. The festival featured local bands with a strong fan base and the attendance was excellent for a tiny festival off the beaten path.

In 2010, the festival was lengthened to two days and the humble posters boasted over a dozen bands. The small volunteer force stepped up its efforts and created amazing temporary infrastructure on the property.  Along with a various landscape management projects, two stages were built, several thousand feet of bamboo fence were woven by hand, and a breathtaking VIP oasis was created on the edge of the Dan River. The work ethic that allowed FPF2 to be a success carries forward to this day. Even as a festival that is well established, FPF maintains its homegrown feel and the spirit of the original event. This is due to the dedicated volunteers who do the work as a labor of love, and many of whom attended that first party on the original porch.

FPF3 in 2011 featured one of the biggest changes in Front Porch Fest history – the move to the current festival location in Stuart, VA. With the growth seen in 2010, it had become obvious in the previous year that the small rectangle of land on the Dan River would not support this growing festival. When the opportunity to relocate to Spirithaven Farm was offered, festival producers jumped at the chance. This amazing property has an energy that can be felt from the moment you descend into the valley and it offers solitude but also proximity; the secluded farm is just a ten-minute drive from downtown Stuart, VA. Spirithaven offered a permanent stage and a covered pavilion, as well as established parking areas and numerous other amenities. Front Porch Fest staff helped in constructing a second stage and Spirithaven and Front Porch Fest began to grow together. Now, the infrastructure at Spirithaven supports numerous events throughout the year.

One of the most memorable changes for FPF4 was the addition of a beer tent, where festival patrons were able to purchase beer and wine by the cup. This addition was well received its first year and has continued to add value to the festival experience at Front Porch Fest. As the festival has grown, the beer tent idea has grown along with it. Over the years the site has seen an evolution of the idea and today the entire festival site is fenced as one large “beer tent” allowing patrons to enjoy their beverages throughout the festival grounds.

2013 was another milestone year for Front Porch Fest as the nonprofit parent organization, One Family Productions, was granted 501(c)3 status. From the small seed of “charging” admission with non-perishable food items in 2009 came a new organization with the mission of promoting and supporting community enrichment and growth by creating events that are accessible, innovative, and engaging. This non-profit status has enabled the festival organizers to benefit local charity organizations in an even greater way, and has led to One Family Productions partnering with other events to broaden the community impact.

This broadened community impact came into focus in a new way in 2014, when the 6th annual Front Porch Fest was able to donate funds to three local organizations. In addition to continuing its partnership with Patrick County Community Food Bank, sizeable donations were also made to Caring Hearts Free Clinic and the Patrick County Skate Park foundation. FPF has a lifelong partnership with the Food Bank and the Caring Hearts Free Clinic has continued to partner with One Family Productions for events throughout the year.

In 2015 FPF further solidified its regional impact by creating a formal partnership with Rooster Walk, a festival based in neighboring Henry County. One Family Productions began hosting the VIP area at Rooster Walk in 2015, and 2018 was the fourth year of that partnership. By creating this affiliation, both festivals are able to tap into the attendance base of the other, and ideas, projects, and resources are shared among each other.

In 2016 Front Porch Fest maintained its growth pattern, and also made strides in becoming a more environmentally conscious festival. For several years FPF had offered water stations to discourage the use of single use products, and had partnered with Klean Kanteen beginning in 2014 to bring stainless steel pints into the beer pouring areas. In 2016, disposable cups were not available at the pouring tables, and food vendors were no longer permitted to sell single use water bottles. The water station was improved tremendously and the Green Team continued its long tradition of separating recyclables, compostables, and true trash. These efforts to “green” FPF are refined and expanded each year as the festival grows.

FPF9 showed that One Family Productions was continuing to make its own place on the festival map. The producers and staff of the festival really honed in on what makes FPF what it is – the small, grassroots feeling, the family friendly environment, and the high quality of musicians. Front Porch Fest appeared in the Blue Ridge Outdoors “Festival Guide” for the fifth time, and the staff of FPF pursued other festival connections to promote their ideal of festivals supporting one another.

FPF10 will take place on Labor Day weekend 2018, August 30th to September 2nd, and is already shaping up to be the best year yet. The producers shared with me a few of the many surprises they have in store for the festival’s 10th year, which they are calling “Homecoming.” I will highlight that part of our chat in coming weeks, but in the meantime, check out the FPF website and Facebook page to learn more and stay up to date with Front Porch Fest!

 

Our Top Ten MUST HAVE Items for Front Porch Fest

Reusable water bottle – FPF is committed to being a low waste venue, and we provide drinking water in the main festival area. Be sure to bring a reusable bottle or two (but no glass please!).

Bug spray – most of the camping areas are wooded, and Spirithaven Farm has an immense amount of water, which means an immense amount of insects! Keep yourself protected with a quality insect repellent.

Sunscreen – though we have covered areas in front of our stages, you will still be soaking up a lot of rays walking around the festival grounds. Keep your skin its best by applying a safe sunscreen a few times a day!

Rain gear – Some people bring a stuffable poncho, some grab their favorite rain slicker, and some kill two birds with one stone and bring a folding umbrella – rain protection AND a sun shade! No matter what you choose, be sure to pack rain gear, just in case!

Layers – the weather at the foot of the mountains can fluctuate wildly, so be prepared for heat AND cold. Pack a few pair of wool socks, a scarf, and a light sweater.

Cash – Cellular service is poor at the farm, which means most vendors prefer cash to credit. There is no ATM on site. Be smart: keep your cash secure in your campsite/car, and only carry small amounts on your person.

Comfortable shoes – the terrain at Spirithaven is rough, with gravel, dirt roads, and the occasional spiky plant on the path. Keep your feet cool and protected with a pair of comfortable sandals, and bring an extra pair of shoes in case of rain.

Camera – aside from the music and other events at the festival, Spirithaven is a beautiful property with lots of amazing views. Keep your phone or camera on hand in case you happen to run into the resident peacocks!

A good attitude and an open mind – FPF is a great place to meet like-minded people, reconnect with old friends, and take in the amazing energy from music, laughter, and nature. Bring your smiles and your hugs, and don’t forget to pack your best dance moves!

 

Benefits of an Unplugged Festival

When you reach the top of the Spirithaven driveway, and perhaps even sooner for some carriers, your cell service will drop. Though you may find a few pockets on site that give you a bar or two, for the most part you’ll be out of touch with everyone, which isn’t a bad thing. Over the years, we have come to discover that there are many advantages to being truly “unplugged” at the festival, and we’ve rounded up our top benefits to share with our followers.

  • No one from work is calling you. Well, maybe they are calling, but you aren’t answering. Don’t worry, you can return those calls on Monday. Or Tuesday. Enjoy yourself, and relax in your freedom from that tether.
  • You’ve been given the gift of being truly present. So much of the time we are looking at social media memories, or glancing at our calendar to see what’s happening next week. When you lose that ability, you gain the ability to enjoy what’s right in front of you, right at this moment. It’s freeing and exhilarating.
  • Guess what’s right in front of you? The natural beauty of Spirithaven Farm. When you are in the moment, you’ll probably notice that butterfly fluttering nearby, that bud about to burst into flower, and might even see a toad cross your path.
  • You can enjoy some true solitude. Find a quiet spot, bring along a notebook and a pen, and see what happens. Many of us haven’t written or sketched in a long time, and being untethered to social media can spark creativity in an environment free from judgment. Explore that.
  • You get to become part of the creative team. When you are not truly present in a moment, or an event, you are in “consumption mode.” At Front Porch Fest, we want our festival goers to facilitate in the creation of the event. Staying unplugged and disconnected can help craft the experience for everyone.
  • You can make real connections and true contact. With the distraction of technology gone, you are free to truly connect with other festival attendants. You might find common interests while exploring the site, you might just bump elbows and share a smile while dancing, you might find a moment of connection in conversation while waiting for your favorite band to get started.

At Front Porch Fest, we believe the small moments of connection and being fully present are gifts – one we’re always excited to share with all of you each year. So set your out of office and get ready to unplug this Labor Day Weekend at FPF9!

Must See Views at FPF

One of my favorite things about Front Porch Fest is the location. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge, not far outside the town of Stuart, but far enough to seem remote, Spirithaven Farm has a powerful energy and no shortage of beautiful sights. As you enjoy the music and the other events, make some time to seek out these MUST SEE VIEWS at Front Porch Fest.

The glider deck – located behind the food vendor set ups, the glider deck was erected to overlook the Dragon Pond. Take some time to try out the vintage rockers and gliders, and see if you can locate the friendly dragon while you search the waters for fish and frogs. For a real treat, upgrade to VIP to get access to the breathtaking garden behind the Dragon Pond, complete with swings and twinkling lights in the trees. It’s so tranquil you’ll almost forget you haven’t had a shower in two days!

The Pavilion Hill – when you leave your campsite, climb the hill behind Spirithaven stage and stand near the tree line. From here, you can take in a view of the whole festival, as well as the natural beauty of the property.

Magical Bridges– The wide bridge between the parking area and main festival ground spans over a lovely little creek where you can often see wildlife, and will definitely see flowers. There is also a lovely footbridge connecting the parking area to the wooded camping areas. If you have VIP access, you’ll also have the opportunity to cross a sweet covered bridge, but be sure to watch for trolls!

Pavilion Gardens – the property owners do an amazing job keeping the area around the Pavilion alive with native flowers, so be sure to walk around and take note of all the work they’ve put into the gardens. There’s some repurposed tire steps, vegetables and flowering herbs, and sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to see a beneficial reptile or two.

Children’s Area – stand outside the Pavilion and look up toward the children’s area. The hill is alive with flowers, and you can watch some of Front Porch Fest’s youngest get into art and nature. Just the sight of that playground causes all levels of joy.

Porch Stage Sound Mound –there’s a cool little view standing just behind the sound mound and looking toward the glider deck at night. The way the lights are run on the fence, the Peace Garden, and the lights from VIP – the perspective is unique and makes it look like it’s all terraced.

Join us Labor Day weekend for Front Porch Fest 9, take in all Spirithaven has to offer, and share your favorite view with us!

– Kristin Hylton

Why Volunteer at Front Porch Fest?

While looking over the Front Porch Fest website, you might have noticed a tab for festival volunteers. Like most festivals, FPF thrives on our volunteer workforce. Of the millions of people that attend music festivals each year  many have never volunteered, so why should you? It’s simple!

As a veteran volunteer explained, “You’ve not fully experienced a festival until you’ve worked behind the scenes, witnessing all the planning, the manual labor, and the tedious detail that are involved in getting this amazing weekend off the ground.”

As a volunteer, not only do you get a look behind the curtain, but you also get to be a part of the Front Porch Family. “I’ve volunteered before at FPF and enjoyed it very much – great group of people to work and spend time with”. We love our volunteers and as one volunteer mentioned, they love us too: “Loved volunteering with FPF! Excited for round 2.”

The Front Porch Fest staff is always thankful for ticket holders, who come and have a great time, dancing until the wee hours of the morning, setting up brilliant campsites, and sharing the magic of the festival scene with their children.  However, we’re also especially grateful for the volunteers. They give their precious festival time to the inner workings of the fest, helping to create the magic that everyone on site enjoys.

This year, we invite YOU to join the Front Porch Fest volunteer team! In return for two 5-hour shifts, volunteers receive free weekend admission, a unique T-Shirt, an invitation to the after-party, and a peek behind the scenes at inner workings of our amazing festival!

To sign up, fill out the application at frontporchfest.com/volunteer.

Considering a festival with kids? It doesn’t have to be scary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that more and more festivals are billing themselves as “family friendly,” but as a parent, the very idea of a weekend outdoors, away from home and unplugged, with small (or medium) children can be very daunting. But the truth is, festivals with kids aren’t challenging at all, especially with a bit of pre-festival planning. Our Front Porch Fest staff is seasoned at bringing kids to festivals, and we rounded up some of their best advice.

Planning and packing for the festival

  • Pack fewer toys than you think you need – kids will find all sorts of interesting items (and friends) at festivals, and the more toys you bring, the more potentially get lost. Limit the packing to a small sack of toys, and any special item your child needs to sleep. We often buy some inexpensive small toys to take with us, so no one is too sad if something gets misplaced.
  • Pack more clothes than you think you need – kids get FILTHY at festivals. Mud, dust, food – everything seems to stick to them more than it sticks to grown-ups. Pack a few pairs of lightweight shoes unless you are comfortable with a barefoot baby.
  • Unless the festival is on level, paved ground, skip the stroller. Even the most rugged stroller will become cumbersome after a few hours of trying to navigate festival paths and crowds. Bring a carrier for your baby or toddler, and consider a garden wagon – but that can get tiresome pretty quickly too!
  • Create a “panic plan” with your children and any adult care providers that will be with you. Children sometimes lose sight of their grown-ups at festivals, and it’s good to have a plan. For our family, that usually means if we can’t find each other, we head straight to the children’s area.
  • Scope out the children’s schedule and policies on the festival website before you go. Some festivals will allow your child to be unattended in the kids’ area, some won’t. Plan your days around activities your kids will enjoy, and be prepared to spend a good portion of the day in the kids’ area. Compare the kid’s schedule with shows you know you don’t want to miss, so your family can take in everything the festival has to offer.
  • Essentials for festivals with kids: hearing protection (there’s plenty of affordable options on Amazon), a lightweight blanket for sitting at stages, a small umbrella to use as a sun shade, a reusable water bottle, sun screen, bug spray, wet wipes (baby washcloths and a spray bottle of soapy water are an eco-friendly alternative), a head lamp for each person, extra socks
  • Bonus items you might want to pack: bubbles (and more bubbles), glowsticks (great for keeping track of little ones in the dark), temporary tattoos, battery operated twinkle lights for your tent, walkie talkies for keeping in touch at camp and on the grounds

 Arriving at the festival and set up

  • Arrive during daylight hours so your child can see the lay of the land.
  • At the front gate, ask for a kid’s wristband if you aren’t given one. Write YOUR name and contact info on the band before putting it on your child. If you get separated, your child’s wrist (or ankle) will carry the information needed to help reunite you.
  • Consider packing a “landmark” to set up at your camp site. This can be a tall flag, a special banner or light, or even a tapestry over the side of your tent.
  • Keep plenty of heat-stable snacks on hand (granola, bars, sandwiches, healthy crackers, fresh and dried fruit, nuts and seeds) – kids expend a lot of energy at festivals and need to refuel more frequently than at home.
  • Plan plenty of rest times. It’s easy for kids to get overwhelmed at festivals, and there is almost nothing worse than trying to escort an overstimulated child back to camp.
  • Have a bedtime plan before evening arrives, but be flexible. It can be difficult for kids to get to sleep easily, but if they know what the festival bed routine will be, it can make things much easier for everyone.
  • Use glow sticks or bracelets to help keep track of your children in the dark, and to make them more visible to other adults. I’ve seen parents stick glow sticks into ponytails, attach them to baby carriers, even line the edges of blankets with them to help kids stay safe.
  • Most of all, relax and enjoy yourself. Kids love to have fun at festivals, and other festival goers love to see them having fun. Let them be kids, and watch them grow with a love of music and festival fun.

 

Volunteer Application live!

Come join the family this Labor Day weekend at the 9th annual Front Porch Fest by volunteering! Check out the volunteer information page for details on how to lend a helping hand in exchange for a free weekend pass.  Meet new people, be apart of the magic that goes into putting on a grassroots event and enjoy a weekend full of awesome music; come volunteer with us this Labor Day!

 

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