Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Newcomer's Guide to Creation Northeast

Last summer I attended a day at Creation NorthEast in Shirleysburg, PA.  Although I've lived only 30 miles from the largest Christian music festival for the past 12 years, I had never made the trek with my youth group.  (They went, but I didn't.)  The night before I scoured the internet for some good FAQ, but found little.  So, I am creating one.

What can I bring?
You can bring just about anything into Creation, except fireworks/sparklers, alcohol and drugs.  Coolers are completely fine.  You'll see them everywhere.  Umbrellas are also fine.  I left mine home assuming they were a No-No, but there were tons of people with them and they didn't really obstruct views.  (I'm referring to umbrellas that one normally uses for rain, NOT beach umbrellas). No pets.

What should I wear?
Since Creation is at the end of June, it will likely be hot.  Modest attire is required (no crop tops) so shorts and T-shirt is the norm.  Half the crowd seemed to be wearing a shirt from the many Christian colleges given them out for free.  In the evening it does get cooler, so be sure to pack a sweatshirt or jacket. Shoes were a question for me and a debate about our youth staff.  I chose hiking sandals because they could just rinse off if they got muddy.  I mentioned how next time I'd wear old sneakers as there were speakers in the woods and sticks and sandals don't mesh.  Our youth pastor mentioned how miserable that would be if it rained, which is why he chose sandals.  Be prepared though--it is very dusty and muddy.

What should I bring?

  • WATER.  LOTS OF WATER.  It is hot, and unless you want to spend a day's wages on water alone, you'll want to bring some.  I drank 6 bottles of water, 2 iced coffees, and one can of soda during my one day there.  Our group brought two coolers with water and soda (I'd go heavy on the water side of this) and just left them at our tarp all day.
  • A tarp.  At Creation it appears your territory is marked with a tarp.  You can place your tarp as early as 5:30am.  We got there at 10am and still got fairly good seats, but off to the side.  Then, we placed camping chairs on the tarp.
  • Camping chairs.  We left ours at our spot at the main stage, but others would carry them to the fringe/indie stages or speakers.
  • Water.  It's that important.
  • Snacks.  There are tons of food trucks there.  Think county fair.  But I brought along some crackers and a cereal bar so I didn't spend too much on food.  The food prices were fair for event pricing.  For lunch I had a chicken gyro for $8.  An ice cream cone was $3. For dinner I had a "gourmet" chicken salad sandwich on a pretzel roll for $5.  My iced coffees (two different stands) were $2 and $2.50.  Milkshakes were $3-$4.  There was also Chinese, pizza, burgers, pretzels, hot dogs, sausages and more I can't recall.
  • Hand Sanitizer.  The restrooms are either portopotties or outhouses. The portopotties had hand sanitizer inside, but by the end of the day many had run out.  I brought both hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for before I ate.
  • Ziploc bags.  We were fortunate it didn't rain, but if it had, these would have been helpful to protect expensive things like cell phones.
  • Emergency ponchos.  You can find these at dollar stores or mass merchandisers for about $1.  These would be nice in the event of rain and they are small and light.
  • A towel or paper towels.  We had a spill on our tarp.  Glad I had a towel.
  • A small blanket.  Not a necessity, but it was nice to have when our group was eating lunch near the food area.  Plus when it got chilly in the evening.
  • SUNSCREEN.  Wow, this should've been mentioned before.  You are in the sun all day.  This is a must.  Apply liberally and more than once.
  • Sunglasses.  It's sunny.  The main stage must face east, because as we looked at it in the evening, we were staring right at the setting sun.  Sunglasses.
What is the day like?

We arrived fairly early in the morning for a bunch of teenagers and their leaders: about 9am.  We paid for admission and were kindly directed to a parking spot.  It was muddy.  We had to walk quite a bit to the area of the main stage where we sought out a spot that was not already claimed by blankets or chairs.  We were fortunate to still find a great spot near an aisle on the right side.  We set up our chairs, cooler, and blankets and headed out to look around.  There were other stages (such as fringe), a leader's oasis room (air conditioning!) and lots of food carts.  What surprised me was the food was pretty reasonably priced for food stands.  I enjoyed iced coffee from two different stands.  We looked at a schedule and marked out what bands and speakers we wanted to see.  We split between Main Stage, Fringe Stage and a speaker that was in an area in the woods.  (Note: if you want to see the speaker in the woods, bring something to sit on or bugs will find you!)  The day was very relaxed and we had plenty of time to enjoy some awesome music.  The teens in our group enjoyed visiting the vendor and getting lots of giveaways as well.  After the last band, we headed back to our car and had no trouble exiting the venue (maybe a few minutes of traffic) and back on to the road toward civilization.

Even though I don't have too many questions here, Creation is in a less than 4 months (June 24-27, 2015), so I'm going to post this.  If you have ideas for other questions, please comment below and I will address them from my experience!

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