The Flagstaff Blues Festival is a summer event held in the shadows of the tallest point in Arizona, Humphries Peak. Humphries Peak stands at an elevation of 12,633 feet, and the massive mountain creates an evergreen-covered backdrop to the city of Flagstaff, which rests at the base of the peak. Flagstaff is unlike other cities in Arizona. It is a high-elevation city with an altitude of 6,909 feet above sea level. The elevation makes Flagstaff a cooler-weather environment than the desert southwest, and the elevation also creates a wooded atmosphere ideal for camping, RVing, outdoor recreation, and festivals.
The creators of the Flagstaff Blues Festival created an event that would celebrate music and raise money for music education. They knew they needed a location that believed in supporting the people of their community, as well as a place that embraced the outdoors. Summertime in Flagstaff would be the perfect time to welcome people to the city because when much of Arizona is already well over 100°, Flagstaff's highs average around a comfortable 80°. After a little bit of determination and a lot of love, the state's largest destination festival, the Flagstaff Blues Festival, was born. In recent years, people have come from all over to experience Flagstaff, listen to some of the finest blues bands, and sip the tastiest brews.
The Flagstaff Blues Festival celebrates music, beer, and community. The event aims to entertain people of all ages, and the different ticketing options provide everyone with a pass that works best for them. The tickets range from general admission for one or two days, a VIP pass, and general admission for kids under 12. Past ticket prices have ranged from $40 to $150.
Drivers traveling to and from Phoenix on I-17 will have a steep 6% incline or decline heading in and out of the town of Camp Verde. RVs and slow-moving motorists are advised to stay in the right lane and use lower gears on the descent. During the summer, to prevent overheating, it might be necessary to turn off your air conditioning on the inclines. The second major climb on 1-17 is a steep 6% incline for 13 miles heading north into Flagstaff and a 6% decline for 13 miles heading out of Flagstaff. Don't worry about the cars trying to pass you. Stay in the right lane with the trucks and other RVs, and slow down on the curves. Motorists can monitor Arizona road and weather conditions via 511 services online or by phone.
If you plan on bringing your RV or camper with you to Flagstaff, you will need to leave your rig at the campground and take a shuttle or other form of transportation to the event. There is limited onsite parking, and no RVs, oversized trucks, trailers, or oversized vehicles are permitted in the parking lot. Parking attendants will help drivers find a place to park, and won't permit large vehicles to enter the area. If you need ADA parking, please notify the parking staff when you arrive.
Flagstaff is a small city that provides people with different ways to get from one point to another. If you want to get to the festival via a bus, visit the Mountain Line website for route options and bus stops. Flagstaff also has an urban trail system that allows people to ride their bikes to many of the locations in the city. If you have a bike, consider riding your bike to get to where you need to go. If the bus and bike trails aren't for you, try one of the city's taxi, limousine, or rideshare services.
There is no onsite camping at this festival at this time, but travelers can expect to enjoy nearby options.
Camping in Arizona isn't always a desert-camping experience. Flagstaff, Arizona is a high-elevation location surrounded by tall evergreen pines. During the summer, when most of Arizona is hot, Flagstaff's temperate weather is perfect for tent, pop-ups, and RV camping. If you attend the Flagstaff Blues Festival and decide to take advantage of the weather, numerous campgrounds permit RV camping. If you want to try full-hookup camping with amenities such as sewer, electric, and water, places like the Flagstaff KOA have options that will make any RVer comfortable.
If you don't need hookups and prefer off-the-grid camping, the forest in and around Flagstaff has dispersed camping land and Bureau of Land Management land where campers can boondock for free. If free camping is a little too rustic for your liking, try reserving a spot at one of the National Forest campgrounds.
If you like to ride in off-road vehicles, Northern Arizona has plenty of trails approved for off-highway adventures. However, these fun options may not be the best source of local transportation, so if you want to have an off-roading experience, it's best to plan it around the Flagstaff Blues Festival. There are not enough parking spaces at the venue for additional vehicles, so leave these toys at the campground. Guests will find walking from places to place pleasant for festival activities.
Since you will be spending much of your time outside at the festival, it is a good idea to pack light-weight clothing that's easy to layer. When the sun is out, you will want to wear short-sleeved shirts and open-toed shoes, and if you need sun protection, don't forget your hat. Once the sun sets, the warmth from the sun goes away quickly, and the night air becomes chilly, so have a hoodie or other long-sleeved shirt with you to keep warm.
Prepare for your day outside in the sun by bringing sunscreen, a refillable water container, and sunglasses. Although the weather is cooler in Flagstaff, the elevation makes the sun feel a little more intense, and you don't want to bring home a sunburn for a souvenir. The event takes place rain or shine, so come prepared with a small umbrella. If you plan on sitting while listening to the music, it's a good idea to pack blankets and lawn chairs. This is an event that sells alcoholic beverages, and all guests over the age of 21 must have a valid driver's license to drink. Bring plenty of cash with you. Even though most vendors accept credit cards, some still only take cash for payment.
When preparing for your trip, it's always a good idea to bring a small first-aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, and ice packs. Since Flagstaff is a high-elevation city, some people may experience some symptoms of altitude sickness. To help ease altitude sickness, drink plenty of water, and take over-the-counter pain pills to help with headaches. Occasionally, altitude sickness causes stomach issues like nausea. Bring stomach-soothing medicine with you if you think it might help you feel better. If you are worried about the altitude, bring electrolyte packs to help replenish your body more quickly.
RV camping makes it easy to prepare meals on-the-go because most RVs have refrigerators and stoves, and some even have microwaves. Before planning your meals, determine what kind of facilities you will have at your campsite. If you have electrical hookups, your cooking possibilities are endless. If you don't have electricity, your propane stove or gas grill should be able to cook anything from burgers and brats to eggs over-easy. If cooking isn't your style, bring items to make sandwiches or pack already-prepared meals like hummus, pitas, and other protein-filled foods.
While visiting Flagstaff, head to the historic downtown area near old Route 66 and have a coffee at one of the corner coffee shops, or have a meal at one of the locally-owned restaurants. If you crave desserts, Flagstaff's ice cream shops make the perfect pit-stop to grab a sweet treat. Flagstaff also has all-night diners, fast food restaurants, and many of the chain restaurants found in most major cities. If you want a recommendation of the best places to eat in town, ask any of the locals where they like to eat. People who live in Flagstaff love to share their favorite things about their city.
Part of the Flagstaff Blues Festival experience is eating and drinking while listening to the sultry sounds of blues music. Each year, the vendors bring foods that smell so delicious, the scent is guaranteed to make your mouth water. Choosing just one type of food, snack, dessert, or beer is almost impossible, and you may want to try as many treats as you can. Don't forget to pack your ID and plenty of cash. If you run out of money, don't worry, the event has ATMs available for your convenience.
Security is vital to the Flagstaff Blues Festival staff, so they have a process to keep the event safe and fun for everyone attending. Before you arrive, make sure you've left anything you don't need at your RV or campsite. Event staff reserves the right to search all bags as necessary.
All attendees must have a valid ticket to enter the festival. VIP ticket holders and two-day general admission ticket holders must stop at the security desk to pick up a wristband before entering the event. Wristbands aren't replaceable or transferable and must be worn at all times. If you need to leave the festival and return later in the day, re-entry is permitted with a wristband or hand stamp.
Flagstaff's weather during the summer is warm during the day and cool at night. In June, the high elevation helps to keep the average temperatures between 80° and 43°. The average precipitation in June often includes only one day of rain. Visitors love Flagstaff during the summer because the weather is just about perfect.
If you need medical assistance during the festival, ask a member of the event staff where to find the medical tent. EMTs staff the medical tent, and they have supplies like sunscreen and pain killers on hand. If you are feeling dehydrated, stop by the hydration station and refill your water bottle or ask for a cup of water. If you need medical attention outside of the venue, Flagstaff has a fully-staffed hospital and emergency center, as well as numerous urgent care centers located within five miles of the event.