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Let's talk about camping at epic.LAN

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Hey everyone,

 

I'd like to start a really early and honest discussion with you all about camping in future at our main events, particularly after a very productive meeting with the venue this week.

 

As the size of the event grows, the infrastructure we need to consider for our camping area has to improve. I think you'd all agree that the last event highlighted some weaknesses with the camping that it would be wrong of us to ignore for future larger events, not to mention that as the numbers at the event grow, we're going to quickly run out of space on site and will also have to look at hiring nearby space to accommodate everyone.

 

Essentially to protect people and property in the camping area, we're going to have to consider putting dedicated stewards in the area now, we can't use volunteer staff for this sort of task, it would not be fair to put people in that position. We also need to look at hiring in extra waste disposal, commercial rubbish costs money to dispose of (and you lot left some serious mess there last time) and eventually as the numbers grow, additional toilet facilities etc.

 

To be clear, we're not going to try and make a sneaky profit out of people, that's not what we're about, but to do what will be required will cost us, so we need to cover those new costs. We'd like your thoughts on a reasonable price and what basis that charge could be made (e.g. per person, per tent, size of tent etc).

 

I'll emphasise, we're not proposing any changes for February, people have already started to book for the event as announced, so it would be wrong to change any of those conditions now people have booked their tickets. Plus the pressure on the camping space is significantly less in the colder months.

 

We welcome your thoughts...

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I've actually migrated away from the tents towards the dorms as I've got old. They had fantastic air conditioning last time. More dorms please. Also, I trust epic.lan people with my clothing bags (although I don't leave valuables as a common sense measure).

 

If I end up tenting again (possible, I have to buy one for glastonbury this year) I don't mind paying if it's fenced off and guarded. At the moment the positioning of the tent area isn't helping (we used to hide them round the corner and this isn't allowed anymore). That said, I am a softie southerner that never really minds paying for things, so we'll see what the others have to say... 

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Personally, I'm against camping.  I will if I have to.  Camping means having to bring extra gear - tent, mallet, blankets, all which need space in the car.  It means an extra setup before and break down after the LAN.  It means having to air the tent after you get home.  It may also mean having to clean your tent and yourself if the heavens have opened and the pitch has turn into a quagmire.  So I'll repeat, I'm against camping because of all the extra hassle associated with it.

 

Moving on.

 

Having seen the fallout from A.N. Other LAN forcing a per person charge for camping and capping the amount of spaces I don't think this is the way to go as many people complained about being charged for an extra space while sharing a tent with someone else.  Equally, I don't think per tent is the way to go either as you and up with a few people with big tents taking lots of people, this would leave yourselves more out of pocket than planned.  If you go down the line of tent size then you're onto the problem of checking that people have brought the correct size of tent, if you really want to go down the line of checking tent sizes but I don't think it's a bad idea.

 

Ironically enough my suggestion is to take a combination of all of them.  Declare a tent size and treat it as a group booking.  1st space is full price whilst additional spaces are discounted (maybe -50% full price) up to a maximum of 6 spaces total (or the biggest tent available).  After all bringing bigger tents and squeezing more people into them is more space efficient than just bringing more tents.  The person making the booking gets control of the tent tickets to distribute and recoup any monies owed.  This would devolve admin of the individual tents to the person who made the booking.  This would also mean that staff shouldn't need to get involved to add new bodies to existing tent should the camping reach it's limit of spaces.  The one thing this doesn't address is making sure people have brought the size of tent they said they would.

 

I hope that make sense.

Edited by dex

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Guest Kloopy

I think a fixed price per tent is the easiest way to manage this. It removes all the drain on the limited staff resource policing number of people or size of tent. I can't imagine anyone would have the attitude "I paid the same for my small tent as the five people sharing that huge thing over there!". They can just bring a bigger tent :c)

 

I am also happy to pay for camping space, despite always clearing up after myself and leaving no rubbish. After the incident with the locals at the last event, I think security is a great idea and I'm more than happy to pay towards this.

 

I don't feel the facilities are lacking with the size of the events yet, I have never had to queue for the showers and there are more than enough toilets in the building. You're never going to get away from the fact after 10 beers you have to get up in the middle of the night and get dressed to go to the loo - perhaps you could charge for personal portable in-tent toilets?

 

Price-wise, I feel camping should never get to the same or more than the dorms, but at £70 I hope/doubt that would be required. Having said that, Wicksteed Park, the first camp site I found in Kettering charge £15 to £30 a night. At this price over the epic.LAN weekend it could be more than cost of the event ticket!

 

I don't pretend to know anything about the finances of organising this sort of event, but a quick Google shows you can get security guards in London for as little as £9/hour. Over 4 days that's approaching £900. Splitting that across 50 tents (how many are there actually at the event?) is £18 a tent. As a ball park figure, £20 for the weekend wouldn't dissuade me from camping at all.

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Personally £20 extra to camp doesn't seem unreasonable (per tent or person doesn't make much difference to me) but it would probably be about my limit.  I do appreciate there would be extra cost involved and it's great that you're planning ahead.

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I've camped at every Epic Lan i've been to and have througly enjoyed it every time. The only let downs were the local teenagers at the last lan causing a fuss because they had nothing better to do. Also the children we camped next to who kep us up all of the first night having arguments and then getting rained out when the weather turned as they had not pitched their tent properly. They were also the cause of a lot of the mess during and after the lan.

 

Having somone supervise the camping area would have eleviated most if not all of these issues. I would be happy to pay for a pitch if this service was provided. I do not feel that the toilets are an issue. As anyone who has ever been to a festival will tell you porta potties are seriously gross and i dont feel they are a good idea given that 100 paces away are the venue loos which are warm and clean. As has always been said the showers are not a problem and i have never had to wait to shower and the water is always hot.

 

One solution to the camping may be to allot a plot to every person paying with a cerain footplate. This would assist with spacing of the tents would allow for more tents in a smaller space and it would please my ocd very much.

 

In conclusion i would not mind paying to camp and will do again in the summer. Im staying in a hotel for Feb as sod camping then.

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Gotta be honest, would be a bit grumpy about having to pay much money at all for camping. I have camped at Kettering because there isn't a huge amount of indoor sleeping when I've looked (I don't fancy lying shoulder to shoulder with people and having to cover an obstacle course getting to/from my bed) - Uttoxeter seemed better for this, am I just looking in the wrong places?

A load of us had to set up sleeping in the media area last event as there was nowhere else quiet to sleep after our tents were bombarded by local chavs.

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Uttoxeter potentially did have more space, but that's partly down to having half the number of people there. We don't have unlimited indoor space available to us at the venue unfortunately and while cost is a factor in that (we pay per room we hire) there's not much more we can hire left in the venue.

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Thanks all for your feedback on this.

 

We're still looking into the final costs of providing the extra stewarding and things like extra bins in the area but our gut feeling at the moment is something along the lines of:

  • Small Tents (1-4 Man) - £20/tent
  • Large Tents (4+ Man) - £30/tent

We'd have to set an upper limit on what then becomes reasonable, i.e. in case anyone decides to hire a marquee which takes up all the space, unlikely I know, but I'm sure somebody would think it...In terms of working out the size, going off the 'man' system should make it fairly easy and in the worst case, a quick Google of that tent make/model will show you that anyway, rather than trying to work out the size of the tent footprint or marking out plots etc.

 

We would then provide proper camping pitch tickets that attach to guy ropes to show who has paid, with the booking reference of the payer to prevent people taking other participants' tags.

 

As we said at the start, it's not something we want to do, it's not to make a sneaky profit out of it, but unless we do something, camping wont be permitted by the venue, and I don't think it's fair to pass the costs on to the ticket prices for everyone in this case. The success of the camping area is great in one way, but it does mean that we have to now treat it as a proper camping set up with all of the security and safety rules that come with that.

 

As Kloopy said, nearby campsites charge £15-30 per night, and we're looking at that in total for 3 nights. Similarly some other LAN events, charge that per person, where we're giving the option to split that between all those sharing that tent. Incidentally, had we gone to Silverstone this year, their camping is now up to £79 per person, now I'm not comparing us to that, as you get a significantly different service for that scale of event, but just for context :)

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I do remember some local youths at our last event, after dark they would come onto the grounds, Although I am unsure what exactly it is they did, however I do know bottles were present.

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So, who's toughing it out under Canvas for Fourteen? 

 

Nope nopey nope nope! Far to cold im slumming it in the local premier inn.

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Oh sh*t, I'm not camping at 14, maybe 15.  I'll be camping out in longstone at 14.

 

However I know gunmens will "camp" anywhere at any time, including right in front of you ;).  I'd better get that towel ready to give him some whiplash, hehe.

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To be honest last year I crashed in the room but I kind of want to camp out of principle after last LAN.

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So, who's toughing it out under Canvas for Fourteen? 

 

Camping 4 lyfe!

 

(Unless it gets very cold in which case I might go inside and sleep under the admin desks)

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If all it comes down to is 20 quid and gives the added advantage of fending off the many local dickheads, I'm happy with that!

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We did look into that as an option, but the time/cost of measuring it all out and then marking those pitches and policing it on the day outweighs at the moment, but something we'll keep in mind for future if this method doesn't work.

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Stokie Security will happily steward in exchange for alcohol.

 

I look at 2 litre turbo fucking diesel Steve and the chavs will scarper!

 

P.S After avoiding the dorms for a long time branding them "a rip off" I can safely say it is THE best addon for LAN. Fuck camping - get a dorm, srsly.

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not one to put to much of a dampner on this friendly discussion but i always camp, and i the reason we turned our back on iseries was because of the charge for camping, i understand in comparison to other events who do charge for the privilege of sleeping out under the stars but for us its a big thing, thats not to mention that we have a huge tent which can sleep 9  but only usually houses 2, this is our communal hub and campsite base it will always be there with us, even if i can't be bothered to put it up

 

what i wasn't so sure about at the last event was the position of the campsite, out in front of the centre, kind of begged for opportunists 

 

i know i'm probably shooting my own argument in the foot, but i'm against charging for camping, that said though if its just per tent and they were just a little lower i would possibly be swayed, but i will still moan and groan i can guarantee that

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 that said though if its just per tent and they were just a little lower i would possibly be swayed, but i will still moan and groan i can guarantee that

 

The problem with this is, there's no "this is how many people are camping" guarantee, and if the weather is particularly crappy on the set-up date, people who were planning on camping might decide to find space inside in one of the sleeping. (This would reduce the amount of income based off the camping, and it'd have to pay for itself)

 

As someone who always 'arrives early' (badum tssh!) at LAN, I like to make sure I get some space in the indoor sleeping area. You can see the alternatives are a dorm (extra cost because they've got to hire the beds), or camping (is going to incur a cost due to Security/clean up costs). I don't see how you can expect it to be added for free. When epic was smaller it was less of an issue - it's one of those things unfortunately - every solution is going to cost money and that money has to come from somewhere...

 

epic is a business at the end of the day, and if that's what it comes down to then you've gotta pay.

 

epic is still great value IMHO, even with any additional sleeping costs... (It's still a damn sight cheaper than paying for a Travelodge... and you can drink without needing a taxi back)

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we have a huge tent which can sleep 9  but only usually houses 2, this is our communal hub and campsite base

 

Let's face it, expecting to not have to spend much for bringing a huge tent for 2 of you is just silly. Plus having it as your communal hub implies that you're going to go sit in it with mates during the LAN and continue chatting + being noisy. Which is one of the things the Epic staff are trying to avoid happening. When it's happened in the past it has usually been noisy disruptive people who are bringing their own booze (breaking the venue terms) and pissing people who are trying to sleep off.

 

You've got a communal hub inside, your desk!

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