The First Timer’s Guide to Paradiso Festival: 5 Tips From Paradiso 2020
Paradiso has been on my list of dream festivals for years. As a Colorado native, attending Red Rocks shows was a normal part of my summers so The Gorge Amphitheater - the outdoor venue where Paradiso is held- has always appealed to me.
This year, I made the trek up to Washington to see how it compared to legendary Red Rocks. It did not disappoint, but there were a few things I wish I had known before going.
Here’s some tips and tricks for anyone dreaming of attending Paradiso in the future.
5. Get There Early
Whether you decide to come on Thursday when the gates open or Friday before the music starts get there early and I mean early. I ended up arriving around 9pm on Thursday night and sat in traffic for 4 hours before getting to my campsite. There were cars still coming in after 3am. That didn’t stop festival goers from bumping music and partying while they waited, but anticipate long lines all afternoon and night on Thursday. Arriving before the gates open on Thursday or early morning Friday will cut down entry time.
4. Opt For Higher Priced Camping Options To Avoid Long Walks
The event offers several different camping options - Standard, Premier, Gold and Terrace. I chose Standard because it was the cheapest and I’ve camped in GA before at other festivals.
Most people choose this option as well, meaning the chances of parking far far away from the actual venue are high. My walk to and from The Gorge was about 2 miles one way and took 20-30 minutes. Had I known this walk would have been so long, I would have splurged a little more on the Premier camping, which has a free shuttle.
Terrace offers a free shuttle as well, while Gold is practically next to the venue. Premier, Gold, and Terrace also have perks such as amazing views of the Gorge, free showers and quiet time at night (for those who need their beauty sleep). When looking at the prices it is more expensive, but avoiding that walk will save time, energy and undoubtedly make your experience more fun.
There is also no re-entry for GA. Yes, you read that right. Patrons with GA wristbands who leave the venue are not allowed to return that same day. I had never been to a camping festival with this rule before so I was surprised when I couldn’t return to my campsite to grab my jacket and come back.
Consider buying a VIP wristband or make sure you have everything when you leave your campsite. Don’t want to haul a bunch of stuff around? Lockers are available inside the venue.
3. Be Prepared For Extreme Temperatures
This year the Gorge was sunny and hot, averaging about 90 degrees each day. At night the wind picked up and jackets were needed. On the first day, I nearly melted in the heat and didn’t think to bring a jacket. I learned my lesson and came prepared the next day.
In previous years it has rained. Include sunscreen, a jacket and a rain poncho on your list of festival gear for next year.
2. Utilize the Conscious Crew
Ah, the Conscious Crew. The sweet baby angels in bright orange shirts who are there to help. These people are volunteers who love the music and are there ultimately to make sure festival goers are staying safe. They walked through the crowd with spray bottles and fans, cooling off everyone in the crowd, giving them big smiles and bigger high fives.
Lost or have a question about where something is located? They can help you. Not feeling well? They will take you to a chill spot away from the crowd. Every interaction I had with these people was positive, accepting and made me feel taken care of.
1. Have Fun
This is a given. There was so much to do and see. Vendors and food trucks were selling the best festival fashion and pretty much any type of food imaginable. The slushy truck that blasted house music and sprayed people with water was my favorite.
There were carnival rides, shady spots to beat the heat and a hammock corner. Each stage played different sub-genres of EDM. The Wreckage was all dubstep, trap and drum & bass, The Oasis played house and anything funky and the Paradise stage featured all the most popular artists. There was something for everyone. And of course, the view of the Gorge at the main stage. Watching the sun sparkle on the water and change the colors of the hills as it set while I danced with my friends to my favorite songs was pure magic.
Paradiso differs in many ways from other festivals but is well worth the trip. Nothing beats an outdoor venue and the Gorge now holds a special place in my heart. It reminded me of EDC, but with a beautiful view, slightly cooler temperatures and an amazing experience for a fraction of the cost.
It is quickly becoming one of the most popular festivals in the country and it is easy to see why. Learn from my rookie mistakes and make your Paradiso your best festival experience yet. I’m already planning for next year.
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