Reading Blues Fest is a celebration of local and national blues artists held over the course of three days in Reading, Pennsylvania. This relatively new event was instituted to breathe life into the area’s artistic community. Produced by the Berks Arts Council, the Reading Blues Fest includes performances at area hotels, restaurants, and bars in the surrounding area.
Guests get to enjoy film screenings and have opportunities to learn about the history of the blues while mingling with music fans. What’s special about the Reading Blues Fest is that it is a chance to be a part of the burgeoning arts scene in Reading. This smaller festival also has the advantage of offering intimate concerts and a sense of community.
For RV campers, the Reading Blues Fest can be a fantastic jumping-off point for even more than music, history, and culture. After attending the festival, check out nearby state parks, including French Creek State Park and Marsh Creek State Park.
While in the region, make a road trip to Hersheypark, also known as the home of all things chocolate, or visit Amish country in bucolic Lancaster. For more urban explorations, exciting Philadelphia is just 63 miles from Reading and is a dream destination for history buffs and cheesesteak fans alike.
Reading Blues Fest tickets go on sale as early as the summer prior to the event. Tickets can be purchased online or in-person at the Weidenhammer Box Office in Reading. Choose from one-day tickets that get you into every performance on your selected day or opt for a VIP all-event ticket for all three days. VIP tickets also include special seating, discounts on merchandise, and complimentary gifts. Tickets range from $60 to $90 for one-day tickets to $180 for all three days. Single tickets to individual concerts are not available.
Reading is located about 65 miles from Philadelphia in Berks County, which is in the southern part of the state. Reading is a small city in a mostly flat geographical area, so any delays and traffic issues getting to the Reading Blues Fest will likely be the result of driving from a larger metropolitan area.
The Reading Blues Fest takes place at multiple locations within Reading. Parking varies by location, so be sure to note which venues are on your itinerary before driving to the festival in an RV. Most events take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, where free parking is available for hotel guests. Contact the hotel directly to see about parking options for RVs and non-hotel guests. Other venues, such as local restaurants, may only offer street parking, which may not be suitable for large RVs.
Public transportation is available in Reading, with multiple routes running daily to get you to the Reading Blues Fest. Check associated websites for specific schedules, including weekend schedules and special events schedules. You can also take a cab or a rideshare service to the event or from venue to venue.
The Reading Blues Fest does not offer RV camping on site, and several of the venue sites are local hotels. However, RVers can plan to camp in the area and enjoy both music and nature in the same road trip.
Look for RV campgrounds outside of Reading and you will be rewarded with views of the Pennsylvania countryside. If you want nature, look for RV camping in state parks near Reading like French Creek State Park 15 miles to the southeast, or check out Gifford Pinchot State Park 70 miles to the west. Just 27 miles away in nearby New Holland, Pennsylvania is the Lancaster/New Holland KOA.
Whichever option you choose, it’s easy to find an RV campground near the Reading Blues Fest that doesn’t require a long drive to the venue. Many options, especially those in Lancaster, are less than an hour away from Reading.
Most of the venues at the Reading Blues Fest are not within walking distance of each other. If you plan to attend several events at several different locations, you will need to drive, take public transportation, or use a cab or rideshare service to get where you need to go.
RV campers should note that while it might be possible to drive and park your RV at one venue, the next one might prove challenging. With this in mind, it’s best to leave larger rigs at your Reading-area campground and bring a tow vehicle or find an alternate way from venue to venue.
You’ll be inside for most events at the Reading Blues Fest, but you’re going to want to pack those warm layers for the time that you spend outside. Temperatures are brisk during the late fall in Reading. Pack a coat, hat, gloves, and other warm apparel for staying toasty. Consider dressier clothes for the festival and more casual clothes around the campground.
If your RV campground near Reading offers a campfire ring, be sure to pack firewood or buy it locally. Also pack RV cookware, warm blankets for sleeping at night, and all essential toiletries. Bring cash to the festival if you plan on buying merchandise. Some venues may accept credit cards, but it’s best to be prepared in the event that any of them aren’t equipped to do so.
You’ll be spending most of your time either indoors or in urban environments, so forgo the bug spray and sunscreen when away from the campsite in favor of essentials that keep you warm and healthy on a cold day in the city. In addition to warm clothes, antibacterial hand gel is always a smart idea for staying germ-free amid a crowd during flu season. Pack any other over-the-counter items you need, such as aspirin.
Cooking options vary by campsite, so double-check with your campground hosts if you plan on making dinner outside or enjoying a fire. Don’t worry if you end up forgetting fuel or cooking supplies at home. There are grocery stores, convenience stores, and RV camping supply stores in Reading, Lancaster, and surrounding communities.
Typically, some of the venues for the Reading Blues Fest are restaurants. If you’re looking to try some local cuisine, this is a great chance to do so while listening to live music. Outside of the event, Reading is home to a diverse array of restaurants, including both upscale eateries and counter-service spots for a quick bite. Regional specialties include Philly cheesesteaks and homemade goods straight from Amish country.
Each venue you visit during this multi-location festival will differ in terms of food and drink, but expect more plentiful options at restaurant locations and fewer options at hotel locations. Menus may vary from year to year. Have cash for locally-owned vendors, which may not accept credit cards, and keep an eye out for unique items on merchandise tables after concerts.
Expect some variances in security staffing and police presence from venue to venue, but follow basic security rules at performances. Remember not to smoke inside, use flash photography, or record performances. Guests can access each venue one hour before each scheduled performance. Have your ticket or VIP pass and your ID with you at all times, and be prepared to show these to security, staff, or volunteers upon entering.
Weather in Reading, Pennsylvania is chilly in November. Plan for daytime temperatures as low as the high 30s and as high as the low 50s. Nighttime temperatures could hover around freezing. Fortunately, you’ll be indoors for the Reading Blues Fest, but you may want to take the cold weather into account when planning your RV camping adventures in the area.
Most venues at Reading Blues Fest will not have EMS or medical help outside of basic first-aid kits at hotel front desks. There are several hospitals and emergency rooms in Reading and the surrounding towns and cities, as well as pharmacies and other outlets selling medical items. Alert a festival volunteer or staff member if you have a medical emergency.