Campsite Challenge
11th Annual

Campsite Challenge

Campsite Challenge

Campsite Challenge

With more than 2,000 campers in Lyons this weekend (more than doubling the size of our town!), it’s vitally important to be mindful of our camping footprint. In collaboration with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and Eco-Products (suppliers of free compostable bags for your campground compost), we will again be rewarding campsites that excel in creative, sustainable camping.

All entrants are eligible for random daily prizes, while campsites that excel in achieving the highest levels of the Leave No Trace philosophy could win FREE camping and 3-day passes for next year’s Festival!

2018 Winners

Congratulations to the 2018 Folks Festival Campsite Challenge winners, from Colorado Springs, CO (and other places, too!). For their efforts, they will receive a pair of 3-day passes with camping for the 2018 RockyGrass.

Here’s what last year’s winners have to say about their unique camp set-up…

Campsite Challenge

Our camp was an amalgamation of four households from Colorado Springs to Scottsbluff NE. We had large 10’ x 10’ canopy surrounded with three shared tents. Under the canopy was a small square table with camp chairs for gathering and a long rectangular table - with a small companion table - for cooking, washing, and general prep/storage. We used under table storage in plastic bins to organize our stuff and to locate our trash, recycling, and compost bags/bins - the latter picked up at the LNT tent. To limit the amount of packaging we brought into Folks Fest, we prepared delicious homemade veggie-salads (quinoa and artichoke, cucumber & onion w/ mixed herb vinaigrette, hummus and crunchy vegetables, golden beets w/ goat cheese, homemade pickles, salt ‘n pepper garden tomatoes, etc). The make-ahead strategy reduces (a lot) the food items and waste you bring on-site - we ended up with one medium sized bag of trash - and it greatly reduces clean-up (wipe it, dunk it, dry it). We split about 50/50 making food vs buying from the vendors; the vendors are part of the experience! Prepping vegetarian meals was a thoughtful choice to limit our impact, if only for a few days, by choosing mostly personal garden or local farm raised items. Our winning suggestion was to bring a refillable/swappable propane tank and appropriate attachment to power our 2-burner camp stove - no small green propane bottle to throw away. Lastly, we really wanted to immerse in the Folk Fest vibe - I don’t think any of us left the campus once we arrived. I guess if there’s an overall suggest it is to prepare ahead, bring less, and immerse in the totality of Folks Fest - music, vendors, activities, and beauty.

How do I participate?

The contest is open to all campers in any of the Planet Bluegrass-managed campgrounds. To nominate your own campsite or one of your neighbors:

  1. Complete the 1-page campsite entry form at the Leave No Trace booth inside the festival. (Download a PDF of the entry form below.)

  2. Stop by the Leave No Trace booth each day to view all the campsite entries. Each day we select 2 winners (one chosen by our staff, one chosen at random) for daily prizes.

  3. Planet Bluegrass will select the grand prize winner after the campground pack-out is complete on Monday. The grand prize winner will receive on-site camping and 3-day passes for the 2018 RockyGrass.

How do I win?

We will be judging on three simple criteria:

  1. Cleanliness. Are you repackaging the food you bring? Are you keeping a tidy campsite? Are items secure and not susceptible to wind gusts? Are you safely disposing of cigarette butts?

  2. Sustainability. Are you separating your recyclables, compostables, and then placing them in the correct bins at the campsite waste stations? Are you reusing products (cups, utensils, water bottles, bags) instead of trashing them? Are you using any alternative energy sources to power your campsite? Did you bike or carpool to the festival; are you offsetting carbon emissions using wind credits or carbon offsets? Will you pack out as much as possible when leaving? Did you do anything to reduce your homes’ energy while attending the festival?

  3. Creativity. Does your campsite have a theme? Did you decorate your campsite with lights, flags, or banners?Are you utilizing any unique and innovative camping techniques? Are you cooking any creative camping recipes? Are you upcycling any items from home

What do I win?

Two campsite finalists will be chosen each day –- one random and one chosen by staff. Each winning campsite will receive a prize package including:

Planet Bluegrass will select the Grand Prize winner (of 2020 on-site camping passes!) after the campground pack-out on Monday.

Some Tips from Leave No Trace

  1. Before you arrive, repackage food into reusable containers. This will limit how much waste you bring to the fest and keep your camp that much cleaner.

  2. Re-use is the name of the game. Bring re-usable cups, plates, napkins, etc. This will reduce the amount of trash you generate.

  3. Good campsites are found, not made. Bring folding tables, chairs, or other amenities to make a comfortable camp. Remember to take everything you brought with you, and leave the area better than you found it.

  4. Establish a clean and green camping community. Work together with other nearby campers to share your resources and strive to Leave No Trace in a fun and festive manner.

  5. Secure your food. Human food is unhealthy for wildlife. Protect the locals and your food by storing all your food, trash, and compost securely in your camp.

For More Information

Share your thoughts about the contest, or even a little pre-contest “bet you can’t top our solar-powered strobing bluegrass baconizer” smack, over at the Festivarian Forum.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is an educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and active stewardship of the outdoors by all people, worldwide. Visit at or call 1-800-332-4100

Festival Partners