Episode 82: Music Festival Travel with Johnny McLean

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Today, I have a good friend of mine, podcaster, music festival connoisseur, traveller, Johnny Mclean.xv

This episode is going to be so good. For the past few episodes, we’ve dedicated them to specific niches of travel, and today, we’re getting into Music Festival Travel.

Everybody loves music. If you love music AND travel, you may want to merge the two, and music festival travel is the perfect way to do that.


Johnny has been a life long music lover, performer, and producer. In 2018 he launched the brand SoCal Live Music Review and from there set out to share his love of music through both blogging and podcasting. MyFestivalChecklist.com was born out of attending music festivals and constantly needing to remember what to pack. 

Beyond music Johnny is passionate about audio and video production, photography, and lasting life change. His main business JohnnyBoy Studios brings together all of his knowledge and passions beyond live music to his audience. As Johnny continues to embrace his creativity JohnnyBoy Studios continues to grow with new and exciting projects.

Here’s what you need to know:

[03:19] Here’s Johnny.

Johnny is an all-round entrepreneur. He has tried his hand at just about everything.

An avid concertgoer, he started the SoCal Live Music Review, where he documents his experiences at music festivals and concerts.

[05:25] Johnny’s travel history.

At a young age, Johnny’s introduction to travel was through road trips to Virginia from North Carolina.

It wasn’t until he got a job that allowed him to travel that he got to go places.

[06:51] Bleisure trips.

On Johnny’s first business trips, he travelled to NYC and Vegas and managed to extend his trips so that he could explore the cities outside of the business days.

If your company is paying for your flights, it’s so much easier to just pay for the extra days of accommodation and add some leisure to your trip.

[09:02] Music festival travel.

Music festival travel is essentially traveling to a destination where there is a music festival, and these festivals typically last several days – versus traveling somewhere for a single concert.

Incorporating a music festival into your travel is relatively easy. You can book your travel dates around the dates of the festival – arriving a few days before and leaving a few days after.

If you want to know about which music festivals are happening and when, ask around. If you don’t know anyone who knows about music festivals, head over to songkick.com to find a thorough list of festivals wherever you may be.

[14:58] Coachella.

The Coachella festival is a 2-weekend music festival, where you can find any form of music that you could imagine.

There’s EDM, hip hop, modern music, rock, indie, alternative, and even country music.

There are three open-air areas and two outdoor stages, and the Do LaB.

You can find many food venues and art sculptures, and typically these are the few places where you can find space to sit. Near the stages, it’s usually standing-only.

You can get VIP passes, but one of the only advantages of getting them are for the better restrooms. 

[19:05] Bathrooms and liquor.

At Coachella, you have beer gardens and the Heineken House. Alcohol must remain within these places.

At Stagecoach, you may consume your alcohol anywhere.

When you stay in the camping spaces, you may consume your alcohol, but you can’t bring in any glass.

There are limits to what you can bring into the festivals, so search online to find out what you may and may not bring with you to specific festivals.

[22:01] Camping.

There are multiple camping options at music festivals.

At Coachella, you can do car camping, which is a living space with a tent placed behind your car’s parking spot. Typically, there would be a row of cars and tents, and you’re able to meet and congregate with other people who are camping in the same area. This camping option is at an additional cost to the festival fee. This option is on the festival grounds.

Coachella and Stagecoach have arrangements with nearby hotels where you could book a hotel and purchase a shuttle pass for regular transportation between the hotels and the festival grounds.

[27:25] Water and bathing.

If you’re camping at the festivals, you will typically find trailers fitted with shower compartments, sinks, and the necessary facilities for bathing.

[31:55] A third accommodation option.

Aside from camping and hotels, you could actually rent a house nearby, and share it with a few friends.

Houses typically have more amenities and facilities than hotels, and you have more freedom to do what you want, you don’t have to take the shuttle, and you get to watch your favourite series on the TV.

[34:04] Van Life and RVs.

Since the pandemic, more people have been getting into custom vans and RVs.

Stagecoach is the more likely festival where people will stay in their RVs.

[37:35] Safety.

As a solo traveller, Johnny recommends staying at a hotel.

If you do travel solo to the festivals, check out the Solochella and Solocoach Facebook groups.

[40:30] Ice.

There is usually someone who goes around selling ice, or you could go to a general store to buy what you need, including bags of ice.

[42:28] Experiences apart from the festival.

If you’re going to incorporate the festival into a travel itinerary, Johnny recommends doing everything else before the festival.

Check out AirBnB Experiences, or search for things to do in the destination.

[44:00] Getting into music festival travel.

If you’re thinking about starting music festival travels, Johnny has some important tips.

Travel in good shoes. You are going to be on your feet a lot of the time, and you don’t want to do that in worn out or uncomfortable shoes.

Print out the lineup and highlight the performances you want to see.

Get the festival app on your phone.

Download Johnny’s planning checklist. You don’t want to be unprepared for anything.

Go to: myfestivalchecklist.com for your checklist.

Go to the festival with the intention to have fun. Don’t be that sour person at a music festival.

[52:17] Johnny’s coaching.

Johnny helps others get past their own limiting beliefs and also start new things.

 Johnny’s websites are https://johnnyboystudios.net and thesclmr.com

If you’ve ever thought about traveling to music festivals, or this is the first time you’ve ever heard about this travel niche, I hope this episode has given you as much amazing information as it gave me. I know I learned a lot just talking to Johnny, and I’m definitely more interested in trying out some Music Festival Travel.

How to Get in Touch with Johnny:

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