Summertime, for many, is a time to spend outside with family and friends enjoying the warmth and the outdoors. Events like the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance brings together people who crave all things summer and pairs the season with a four-day celebration of culture, art, dance, community, and music.
The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is unlike other festivals. Its history of bringing the arts, movement, workshops, kids events, as well as food, drink, and music to the people of the region is second to none. The event, which started in 1990, is not only a festival designed to celebrate music, but it is also an event that raises money for regional nonprofit and community organizations. Although the events, artists, and activities change every year, the festival's foundations remain the same.
The festival takes place in Trumansburg, New York, a village located deep in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Trumansburg is surrounded by a landscape that is ideal for outdoor recreation. Campers, backpackers, adventurers, and RVers may come to Trumansburg for the festival, but they will want to stay for the simplicity found in the Finger Lakes National Forest, state parks, waterfalls, lakes, and vineyards. Niagara Falls may also make for a great addition to your time in the area.
The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance is a family-friendly event that aims to provide people of all ages with an unforgettable experience. The festival is a four-day event, and people have the option to purchase a four-day pass or a one-day pass. Ticket prices vary depending on the patron's age as well as the time of purchase. Holiday and early-bird ticket prices give everyone a chance to get the lowest prices of the season. General admission tickets generally run between $35 and $200 for this event.
The Fingerlakes region is an area of New York serviced by four major interstates. I-90 is a toll road that passes through the north end of the Fingerlakes region and runs from Buffalo to Albany. I-390, I-86, and I-81 all connect to the region from different directions within the State of New York as well as surrounding states. Keep in mind that the Canadian border is just to the north and west.
Depending on the direction you travel, the interstates connect to a host of local highways. Most of the highways near Trumansburg don't have points with low clearance, but there are several low bridges and overpasses to avoid within the region. Adjust your route accordingly if you have a taller rig and need to drive through Newfield Hamlet on Highway 13 N, the closest area to the event with low clearance.
Detailed directions, as well as tips and tricks on navigating the roads near Trumansburg, are available on the event's website. Check the website before heading out to the festival for any new travel information. For up to date traffic information, visit the New York State Department of Transportation website, or follow NYSDOT on Twitter.
Festival-goers arriving at the event in an RV should have camping reservations prearranged at either event campground. Securing an RV-friendly parking spot outside of the campground areas will be challenging, if not impossible. Much of the parking around the venue is staffed by private parking lot owners or fundraising groups, leaving only city-street parking for people with smaller vehicles. If you have an RV and you aren't camping near the venue, consider taking another form of transportation to the festival.
General admission parking is available in the Across the Way camping area. There is an ADA section in the parking lot available on a first-come, first-served basis as well as an accessible shuttle offered during peak hours on Thursday through Saturday to help festival-goers who aren't able to secure an ADA parking spot.
Campers staying at the venue in either camping area should ask which gate campers use to enter the festival. There may be an entrance for campground guests.
People staying on site in RVs or tents have access to shuttles running to and from the campgrounds during peak times. If you are staying offsite, and you want to take public transportation to the venue, the local bus service runs from Ithaca and drops off at the fairgrounds. If you prefer, the Finger Lakes region also has rideshare services that will transport you to and from your campground.
If you don't want to miss a minute of the festival, then bring an RV so you can experience the music and activities up close at the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance. Onsite camping expands to two areas called Across the Way and the Onsite campgrounds, both facilitated by the event staff. If you have a question about the size of your RV, it's best to call ahead. Large sites have a minimum of 1250 square feet, and site-restrictions dictate that all RVs maintain a perimeter of five feet from the edge of each space.
The Onsite Campground is closest to the music stages on the grounds of the Trumansburg Fairground. RVers have two choices of site types to pick from a small space and a large space. Small spaces don't permit cooking, so if you want to use your propane stove, choose a large site. No open fires are allowed, so make sure your stove runs on gas. The Onsite Campground offers primitive camping. There are portable toilets, rustic showers, and water spigots available for all campers.
The Across the Way Campground is a large parking area owned by event staff that has designated spaces for car camping and tent camping. RVers who are staying in the Across the Way Campground reserve large spaces, which allow propane-stove cooking. The campground is primitive with rustic showers, portable toilets, food vendors, a picnic area, water spigots, and a community fire ring. For RVers who like a little quiet, there is a quiet camping area, and for RVers who can't do without electricity, there is a generator parking area. Even though Across the Way isn't technically on site, this campground is still operated by event staff. It's possible to walk to the festival, and some shuttles run back and forth during certain times of the day.
Camping is a favorite activity in the Fingerlakes Region. If you choose to stay somewhere other than the festival campgrounds, you have plenty of camping options. RVers may choose from private RV parks with full hookups and luxury amenities to scenic campgrounds in the New York State Park camping areas. The closest state park is less than three miles from the festival venue. If off-the-grid camping is more your style, Fingerlakes National Forest is less than ten miles away and has both free dispersed camping areas as well as campgrounds with RV accessibility.
Since parking is limited and walking to the venue is possible, guests will want to leave scooters, golf carts, and other toys at home for this event. If you are staying in a section of the campground where you are a little too far from the gate, opt to take one of the shuttles to get back and forth more quickly.
For an event like the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival, it's best to pack comfortable clothing that isn't restrictive when you are dancing and moving along to the music. Bring lightweight clothing that dries quickly for the warm and humid days, and for the nights when the temperatures cool off, bring a light hoodie or blanket poncho to keep your upper body warm.
If you reserve a large campsite in either event campground, you are allowed to have a propane stove or grill with you. Pack your cooker, your outdoor chairs, and any outdoor camping equipment you need to feel comfortable outside of your rig. Please leave all residential furniture at home. While your couch might look cute next to your vintage camper, this event prohibits such gear. Don't forget your favorite hiking gear if you plan to venture to some of the outdoor spaces in the area.
Bring plenty of water with you to keep hydrated throughout the four days of the event. Don't forget to pack unique medical items that may be hard to find on the road. If you need assistance with medicine that requires refrigeration, ask a member of event staff where you may keep your medicine during the event. Since the festival is all outdoors, don't forget sunscreen.
In years past, New York state health regulations prohibited cooking in the onsite campgrounds. Event staff helped support RVers by finding a way to permit onsite cooking by offering two different size spaces, large and small. If you want to cook, make sure you reserve a large camping space, which permits gas-only stoves. Gas stoves and gas grills make anything from warming a can of soup to cooking burgers, brats, and even sizzling fajitas. The more simple your meal, the less of a cleanup you'll have, so go big or small. It's up to you!
Trumansburg is a small town with a few places to stop for food and drink. If you need to stock your campsite, there is a grocery store as well as a natural grocery store across the street from the festival. If you want a quick bite, like a hotdog and a fountain soda, stop by the convenience store in Trumansburg. Also, try visiting the local ice cream shop, coffee shop, or cafe. Most of the places to eat are less than a mile away from the festival.
People who love to try different types of food and drink will have no shortage of places to choose from when it comes to meal or snack time. Every year, the vendors offer more delicious choices of foods suitable for all palates. Some vendors take both cash and credit. If you find yourself in need of more money, visit the ATM, located inside of the general store.
Do you want to bring your own beverages and beer into the festival? You can, but remember to leave all glass at home in favor of canned beverages. All coolers are subject to search. Security is available during the event. Please locate a member of the staff if you have a security concern or need help. Once you have a ticket, you may leave and enter the festival as many times as you want as long as you wear your wristband.
The weather in the Finger Lakes in July is warm and humid. The average temperatures in July range from 58° to 81°. July averages ten days of rain, so preparing for rain but hoping for the sun will ensure you are prepared for any weather. If you are camping with your RV windows open, the weather cools down nicely at night, so sleeping shouldn't become too uncomfortable.
The Emergency Medical Services tent has a medical team on standby throughout the whole event, and the Across the Way camping area also has an EMS tent with an ambulance on standby. People who need electricity for medical devices or need to store medicine may stop by either the medical area or talk to medical staff. Please be aware that medical personnel isn't permitted to dispense medication. If you need additional medical help, there is a hospital located as close as eight miles away, a pharmacy within walking distance, and an urgent care center within ten miles.