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Getting the Lay of the Land

In medieval times, roving bands of soldiers set up temporary camps as they traveled through the countryside from mission to mission. At Middlelands, you and your friends will be those roving soldiers, and you too will set up a temporary camp that will serve as your home base as you embark on your mission: having a fantastical adventure at the festival.

The camping at Middlelands has been carefully crafted to optimize ease, safety and, of course, pleasure. Our plethora of campsite options can accommodate any and every group size and type of outdoor accommodations, from tents to RVs to opulent glamping areas designed for kings and queens. Carpooling is encouraged, and each camping package becomes more affordable with more friends (to wit, there will be a single camper fee for those of you setting up camp solo). Whatever option you choose, all campers are encouraged to create a theme camp (think castles, dragons, feasts and throne rooms!).

It’s important to note that even if you’re not camping at Middlelands (campers will receive a special wristband), the camping area will be open to all festival attendees each day until 4am. Happily, the majority of the campground activities are open to one and all! From bonfires to stargazing, the camping areas will offer some truly unique activities and amenities that will surely elevate your experience.

Curious? Let’s proceed.

Weekend Warrior Activities

The woodsy welcome starts on Wednesday at 8pm with a bonfire for all of you campers with early arrival passes. Gather ‘round the fire and share your road trip tales with fellow travelers while indulging in every camper’s favorite dessert: s’mores. Guests will receive a kit complete with a stick, chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows, (but not Marshmello). This event is dependent on the weather, so keep your fingers crossed for a warm and starry evening.

Speaking of celestial bodies, Thursday night our friends from the Houston Astronomical Society will be on-site with their professional telescopes for a stargazing pre-party. The HAS team will give a laser tour of the constellations and other interesting occurrences happening up in the sky. This event coincides with the camping pre-party, kicking off with a bonfire lighting ceremony at Conqueror’s Court at 8pm. The fête will feature music and performers and will serve as an opportunity for you to get to know thy neighbors for the weekend.

Thursday night also marks the start of one of the most exciting elements of Middlelands camping: the Sound Camps. Set up in a distant region of the realm, in this area campers can set up their own DJ equipment (aspiring DJs can also rent gear at the festival!) and flex their skills like jesters performing for the king’s court. (Important: Anyone aspiring to host a Sound Camp must apply before the festival and can start the process by emailing [email protected].) There’s no sound curfew at the Sound Camps (quiet time will be enforced from 4–8am in the rest of the campground), meaning the music will be blasting 24 hours a day from Thursday through Sunday. These camps are built for the truly hardcore weekend warriors. Bring your finest dancing shoes, and catch the sets too special to make the official lineup.

Located central to the campground is Conqueror’s Court, which will serve as the central meeting spot and place-to-be for all Middlelands activities outside of festival hours. This area will be accessible 24 hours a day for campers, and non-campers are welcome to visit during festival hours and until 4am after each festival day. The amenities in Conqueror’s Court include restrooms and showers, medical services, charging stations, free water, lockers, the info and guest services booths, picnic tables, a bonfire, roving performers, and a plethora of incredible food options. The Farm Stand will bring its organic, sustainable, free-range and pasture-raised products to Conqueror’s Court. They’ll be offering freshly baked bread, meats to grill, and organic fruits and vegetables (all foods will need to be prepared to eat, so remember your propane grill and cooking supplies!). In Conqueror’s Court, lords and ladies will also find the bar area and 24-hour food trucks. And the general store will be selling all of the essential items you may have forgotten.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am, campsites can compete in the Battle of the Realms with medieval-style games—including tug-o-war, archery, bubble soccer, and more. Scores will be tallied, and the realm with the most points will be crowned champions! Hula hooping classes for beginners will also be hosted by Texas’ famous Hoop Sisters, while arts and craft sessions will allow campers to unleash their inner artists. Camping wristbands are required to get crafty!

The Enchanted Grove will host a variety of magical activities throughout the weekend. Put your mind in a serene place each morning with the guided mindfulness practices happening at 8am Friday through Sunday. These activities will draw upon a wide range of styles inclusive of both introspective and social forms of mindfulness. Each exercise will be followed by a discussion and exploration of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences within a safe, comfortable and compassionate environment. A mindful camper is a happy camper! These practices are open and friendly to participants of all backgrounds, beliefs and experience levels, so come one, come all.

Stretch out the kinks from the night before, and get your body primed for the day of dancing ahead with the yoga classes happening each morning at 9am and 11am. No mats are required, and all experience levels are welcome! The slightly more adventurous among us can learn the basics of slack-lining at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The friendly folks from Slack-Librium will be on-site to teach campers slack-lining basics and a few intermediate skills for the truly balanced. Multiple instructors will assist participants across various skill levels, so step right up and don’t be shy.

Also happening in the Enchanted Grove: movies! The best medieval films in history—including Braveheart, The Princess Bride, A Knight’s Tale, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Robin Hood—will be screened at 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday and 1am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check your program for exact movie times.

Remember, Conqueror’s Court, the Enchanted Grove, and the rest of the camping areas are open to all festival attendees each day until 4am. Huzzah!

Two-Wheeled Steeds

As the kingdom of Middlelands stretches as far as the eye can see, campers are encouraged to bring their bicycles! Prepare yours for the party by decorating it with streamers, fur, feathers, and anything else that will catch the eye. Middlelands will offer designated bike parking areas in Conqueror’s Court, at the restrooms and showers, the Sound Camps, and other high-traffic areas. Remember, bikes are not allowed in the main festival grounds, and lights are necessary for safe nighttime riding. Bring a lock!

Now for the Nitty-Gritty

Remember that you must be 21 or older to enjoy alcohol in the campground. A valid, government-issued ID will be required to buy alcohol, and IDs may be checked at any time.

No liquor is allowed, and each camper is limited to one case of canned beer or five liters of boxed wine. Glass bottles of any kind are prohibited (if they break on the ground, someone’s precious feet could get cut!). Also not allowed: weapons! As the kingdom of Middlelands is a haven of peace and love, there’s no reason why you would even need them. This rule applies to any item that could be perceived as a weapon. And be sure to take a peek at the complete list of prohibited and acceptable items.

We now also offer a gentle reminder that Insomniac is not responsible for any lost items, including bikes. Take good care of your things, and check the Lost & Found in Conqueror’s Court for any items that may go missing. Remember, any treasure you find on the ground belongs to someone else. They’ll be grateful to get it back, and you’ll surely score good karma points for returning it. Totems up to 10 feet high are welcome in the campground. Peep the list of totem regulations here.

We know you’re excited to arrive, and we’re excited to see you! Everyone with an early arrival pass can show up starting at noon on Wednesday, May 3. All others can enter the campground starting at noon on Thursday, May 4. Campers must arrive during check-in hours. This is important, as you will not be able to enter before or after check-in hours, which are:

  • Wed, 5/3: noon–8pm (requires Early-Arrival Pass)
  • Thurs, 5/4: noon–midnight
  • Fri, 5/5: 9am–7pm
  • Sat, 5/6: 9am–5pm

A Few Vital Things to Remember

When entering the campground: Everyone arriving must be 18 or older, and every car must have a camping pass. Upon arrival, you must present your camping pass and your event ticket. If your pass or tickets are at Will Call, just present your credit card and ID to pick them up at the camping entrance. Camping passes are good for the entire weekend, and campers may walk in and out between the festival and the campground. Remember that each car will be searched upon arrival, so leave your prohibited items at home (so we don’t have to confiscate them!), and bring only what you really need in order to expedite the process.

Finally, all campers must be fully packed and vacating the campground by 3pm on Monday, May 8. Your next journey awaits! For now, happy packing, campers. Your adventure in Middlelands is just around the corner.

The first-ever Middlelands takes place Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7, 2017, at the Texas Renaissance Festival Fair Grounds in Todd Mission, TX. For more information, visit the official website.

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