Pitch-A-Tent is almost here, and I’m super excited for it. Last year was a blast, even though it did rain a little, it didn’t dampen my spirits. This year, the organizers of this auspicious event have moved the date of PAT up in the year, for better weather and less rain. For many, this will be their first year of PAT and I’m more than thrilled to have a bunch of old and new faces joining us this year. Adventure, music and magic always lie in store at PAT.
If I could describe Pitch-A-Tent, or PAT for short, I would say it’s a mini local-Electric-Forest-ish type of event. It’s held in Flagstaff on private land, and is very secluded. The sky above you feels like an endless stretch of blue, so close you feel like you can practically touch it. Fluffy white clouds look like delicious cotton candy, dotted here and there in the sky. Wide open grassy spaces lie around you, open and inviting.
There are normally two to three stages, and last year, there was also a chill out stage section, where there were things to lounge on, and brightly colored carpets and woven tapestries all around. Another stage was decked out in white tarp, and was covered to protect the decks from inclement weather. The main stage is a large open space, the equipment is covered and there are lights and lasers at night. Each stage has their own unique look. Various kinds of decorations, including Salvador-Dali-like clocks, draped down cheerfully from tree branches. There’s always a small Hammock village every year, close to the stage where you can curl up in and dreamily swing, while looking at the stars and lights in the trees. I’m stoked to see how the sets and decorations will be like this year!
I would say PAT is not for anyone who’s high-maintenance in the least. It’s a camping festival, and you need to come prepared. I say this with certainty–the first year (2016), my boyfriend and I came inadequately prepped for the event. We didn’t bring enough food so on the last day, we were left with measly granola bars. I’m used to having hearty meals as I love to cook so needless to say, I was pretty hangry the final day when we were packing up to leave! Looking back now, we probably could’ve ventured around to ask other campers to share food with us, but we didn’t think of it at the time. Geniuses, haha.
Getting into PAT is a little bit of a trek so be prepared. You don’t necessarily need a four-wheeled drive to get up there, though it’s better on your car–you just need a car with good ground clearance. Drive in the lower gears at certain points and don’t take cars with thin street tires. You’d want thicker tires to avoid bulges and punctures from the rocky ground on the way there. My boo and I got a tire puncture on the way driving back in 2016. It was super dark as we drove up on our first year late Friday night and we felt a bit helpless and lost. It honestly felt like we were driving forever and we weren’t sure we were even going the right way. Fortunately, we saw someone who was driving ahead of us and asked them for help. We were on the right track, to our relief. If you’re unsure of where you’re going, don’t hesitate to ask people around you (hopefully for your sake there will be! :P). The second year we were even more fortunate, as we drove up during the day, we saw some people we knew on the way there, so we just tailed them up to the campsite, hooray!
It’s a B.Y.O.E event…Bring Your Own Everything. This means you’ll need a camping gear: a tent, flashlights, lawn chairs and/or a large towel/blanket you can set on the ground if you want to sit and chill with your friends. Tarps, foldable tables and lawn chairs are your friend.
There are a lot of places around the area to camp, so pick a good spot, and let your friends know where you are so you guys can squad up. A good landmark is a brightly-colored flag or item to let them know if they’re driving around trying to find you. If you have valuables like your phones, laptops, I’d advise you to leave them in the car. Cell phone service is so-so up there (I have T-Mobile) and sometimes, I think phones can really distract you from the experience anyway. If you do want to bring your phone around with you though, please ensure your pockets are deep and hopefully, zippered! If you’re running around, your phone can drop out of your pocket. There have been some reported cases of this in the past.
Fanny packs or a little backpack/satchel thingie would be advisable, so you don’t have to waste time going back and forth between your campsite/stages if you need something.
Staying hydrated is SUPER important. In the forest, time can fly by, but you’ll need to remind yourself to drink LOTS of water. I’d advise you to bring two to three gallons of water per person. If you’re the type to guzzle H2o, more so the better! Hydroflasks and Camelbaks are smart, so you’ll always have water with you.
It may feel cool out, but the sun can be a lot more vicious than you’d expect. Sunscreen is your friend! Bring comfy clothing for being in the forest for a few days, (not just cute rave-y clothing) just to be prepared. At night, layering is recommended if you want to be warm and comfortable. I always bring jackets, leggings, thick scarves and blankets. Spirit hoods and furry hats are great for the night to protect your ears from the cold, while during the day, I’d advise wearing a hat/cap.
Bring coolers and ice, I recommend two large ice blocks and two coolers per tent. You can pre-make sandwiches/wraps and put them in the coolers.
Last year, I made a bunch of chicken salad wraps before the trip and they were yummy and didn’t need heating. I also made a simple gumbo stew for a group of us (prepped and diced all the veggies and meat beforehand, so just dumped it all in pot with water and seasoning). Bring a camping stove if you can, or if you don’t have one, someone there will be bound to have one you can ask to use. I had a cast iron pan I brought and things to cook for breakfast like eggs, etc. You can bring generators as well, if you want to. They will have food vendors there so bring some cash and your debit/credit cards. Last year’s there was a simply delicious pizza vendor, along with a frybread vendor: some yummy options if you don’t wish to cook.
Be courteous and treat others’ things if they were your own. If you’re using someone’s stuff, return it in the same way you received it (or maybe in even better/cleaner condition!). Clean up after your own messes and be considerate. This applies to trash as well. Bring a bunch of trash bags, the more the better. Paper towels are advisable to clean up spills, etc. Toilet paper is ABSOLUTELY essential. There will be Porta Potties there so you don’t have to worry about having to pee/poop in the forest grounds. I brought a can of air freshener last year too, and it helped a lot. If a stall smelled, I would just spray it in there, get out, wait a little for the scent to be less overpowering and it would be fine.
Bring toiletries (DO NOT forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash!). Gum and mints are also helpful to keep your breath nice and fresh. Bring deodorant, and body spray/perfume/cologne–B.O. begone! Unless you have purchased a Glamping package (which comes with usage of a proper bathroom and shower), there is no proper shower there except a wooden, kinda-open, makeshift one. Bring towels (face and regular–preferably microfiber), shampoo, soap, facial wash, and your bathing suit in preparation for the non-Glamping folks. According to the organizers, they will also be working on a coin-operated shower too, so hopefully we peasants (haha, I kid! xD ) will have two options, especially if there are more people than last year.
Bring alcohol. Costco vodka handles are your best bet (I’m bout that #Asianthriftylife haha!) and in case you didn’t know this, you’re able to go and buy alcohol at Costco EVEN if you don’t have a Costco membership. All you’ll need is to tell the entrance guy/girl checking for your Costco cards that you’re there to JUST buy alcohol. Sadly, you can’t buy any other thing there if you don’t have the card, but the alcohol selection in Costco is pretty cool and it helps you save money too! Bring solo cups and beer pong balls if you wanna play beer pong and fun board/card games too. Don’t forget your chasers. Sadly, there will be NO alcohol of any kind for sale there so don’t say you weren’t warned.
It’ll be dark at night (obviously) so bring sturdy flashlights and wear glow sticks too, if you want to make yourself more visible. Don’t worry about it being too dark, in the forest and leading to the stages, there’ll be lights and your lanyard will have a little map of the grounds as well.
Bring wet weather clothes and raincoats in case it rains, and sturdy shoes. I’d advise you to bring shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty in. Rain boots/galoshes are great too. Sports shoes and hiking footwear is advised. The forecast appears to be good this year but it’s always good to be prepared.
Photo above: My boyfriend channeling his William-Tell-ish vibes in the forest with his hiking boots and raincoat.
Bring earplugs. If you wanna curl up in your tent to sleep or protect your ears in general from being harmed by loud music, they’ll be your saviors. Trust me.
Some campsites got super creative last year and hung up some beautiful tapestries and little twinkling fairy lights. I loved walking around at night and seeing different campsites. What a great way to express yourself! Costumes are encouraged and each day/night has a different theme for the raver in you to go crazy! This list of themes is included in the event info. If you so wish, you may dress as you please, if you don’t want to wear a costume, that’s totally cool too! Only one thing to note–no nudity please.
In case you’ve forgotten any essentials like lip balm, chasers, etc. there’ll probably be a store set up there for you to purchase things you might’ve forgotten. Bring CASH. I’d say like $100 or more, in twenties and some small change just to be safe! If there are items for sale there, debit cards may not be accepted. From what I recall, last year, many vendors DID allow debit cards, which was nice. I hope that will be the case this year as well.
Unfortunately, your furry friends are NOT allowed.
Every year PAT gets bigger and better. The organizers always try to take into account feedback from past-year attendees to improve PAT every year. Last year there was a glitter and body art booth run by my dear friend, Amber, who runs Ace’s Barbershop and Hair Salon in Chandler. I got my arms marbled eyebrows and hair glittered, with my hair braided with colors. With my dramatic eyelashes, I felt like a woodland fairy princess and loved the pink in my hair. I wonder what they’ll have in store this year and can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with.
Photo above: Me after being all glam-ed out and feeling sparkly!
Now, on to my favorite part of Pitch-A-Tent, the music!!!! It’s such a blast. There are all kinds of local djs, playing all day into the wee hours of the morning. Some djs also fly from out-of-state to join us. There’ll be all kinds of genres featured too, so there’ll be music for everyone to enjoy. This year the lineup is bigger and better than ever. The three main headliners, Cazztek, Fritz Carlton, and Option4, are sure to put on a fantastic performance. I’ve had the privilege to meet Option4 personally, and he’s a great and humble dude who throws down some fire house music. I can’t wait to see the others!
I am so proud to see so many of my talented dj friends on the lineup this year, with many making their public debut as well. Shady Park Treehouse Sundays will be doing a takeover, along with OCTIV Entertainment, The House Connection and Mad World Productions, to name a few. Each of these brands will have mini-takeovers where various artists connected to the brands will play.
I wish I could elaborate on the sound and personality of many of these djs (who are also my friends) but then this article would be a mile long, haha. All I know is, your ears are in for a musical feast! Bring your comfortable dancing shoes and groove with me! I will be singing this year too, so I’m thrilled and honored to be able to share the stage with some of AZ’s finest and more! Last year I was able to sing a song on Lujan’s set and it was so much fun. You can go and dance and make a ton of new friends and listen to a variety of music at any of the stages you choose.
According to the event program, this event will run from Friday, June 22nd from 10am to Monday, June 25th 6am. You can arrive later on Friday/Saturday and leave earlier/later if you wish to help pack up the campsite. One-day tickets are also available but they are for Sunday only. GA tickets are $139.30 and Sunday tickets are $44.28 online, after fees. At the door they will be $140. Car passes will be $15 and RV passes $50, with full-service RV packages for $300.
Due to the organizers’ wishes to keep this event still somewhat private and not too public, this year’s ticket link will only be available to those in the PAT Facebook group–which you’ll have to join by filling out a form. In past years, you had to know someone from the previous year’s PAT for the link. This year, it’ll be more open, but still slightly controlled, to keep out riff-raff. The funds for the tickets go towards the sound, lighting, road development, safety and more. In order to provide the best experience for everyone, your contribution is essential to make this event fun and well-run for everyone!
There has been a few events leading up to PAT so far. This year there will be better roads, new artists, more art cars, more vendors, fire pits, camping locations, a bigger comedy show, more surprises, etc. You can expect bigger sound, bigger stages, more themes and more LED walls for your entertainment. Yoga is featured every year, and lasers too!
It’s important to note that PAT has a very strict LEAVE IT BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT policy. This means you have to respect the forest and everything you bring with you must leave with you, with NO EXCEPTIONS. It’s not just a party, it’s an understanding of being a part of nature and respecting it as such. This goes for how you treat other campers–be respectful and kind. Share with others if you’re able to, and you’ll find it returns to you in kind.
If you see a fellow camper who needs help/medical attention/water, please assist. We are a family and it’s so important for us to look out for one another. Speak out/up and tell someone in authority if you know someone is in trouble/causing trouble. The staff will help you handle the situation, should it get out of hand. They will not hesitate to escort anyone off the property if people don’t comply with the PAT rules.
The vibe at Pitch-A-Tent is truly special. Everyone you meet is normally friendly and inviting. Most people are very generous with what they have, and helpful. I make new friends every year I go. Go with an open heart.
Weapons are NOT allowed, along with amplified sound to be used for any kind of performance. This is to ensure that it won’t interfere with the music at the event. No bad vibes, drama, fireworks are allowed. No ATV, buggy, or recreational vehicles that are not the organizers’ are allowed. Be respectful and courteous to the staff! They are the true unsung heroes, as they’ll be working long hours and in unpleasant conditions to ensure we have the best time ever. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask the organizers/people around.
This is a Rain-or-Shine event with no refunds for inclement weather. PAT ultimately, is what you make of it. Come with a good attitude, and you’ll find it’ll do so much more for you. Good vibes and happy smiles are firmly encouraged! Bring your creativity and lots of hugs and expect to have a blast in the beautiful Flagstaff forest.
Photo above: my beautiful friend, Alex and I being silly for the camera. Needless to say, the photos in this post were the only three photos I got from the event. Yes, that’s how much fun I had, haha.
If you have any personal questions about PAT, feel free to message me personally and I’ll try my best to answer them.
Singer at Drip Drop Records. Writer/Editor for Rave Hard Radio.
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