Tarp size restrictions at Folks Festival this year .. will TBF be same?

I received an email today stating that tarps will be restricted to 10’ by 10’ at this years Folks Festival. Are there plans for PB to implement the same for TBF?

Here is a picture of a tarp from last June that I took. Think the entire disco party could have fit on here. :cheers

I would hope not.

I get it at Folks as there probably arent many groups bigger than a 10x10 would require, but in Telluride there are MASSIVE camps that share tarp space. Our tarp, which admittedly is one of the bigger in the field, sincerely is full 90% of the time. Over filled sometimes which amazes me. We welcome all folks to join and it is a place where I have met some of my best friends. Just one man’s opinion though.


I too hope TBF doesn’t go this way. This year I was blessed to have a group of 7 on my tarp, which this year expanded to a 10 x 12 footprint, and they are ‘recruiting’ for next year. The huge tarps up front are among the most friendly folks I’ve met. For those earlier sets (think Chris Thile on Thursday morning), I go up to the rope line and find a spot to sit and watch and listen. If groups had to restrict their space, I would fear this friendliness might dissipate. And I always share space with anyone who asks, wanders by. For me, this is part of the TBF experience.

To be fair, TBF should.

Large camps have had it relatively easy (proportionately speaking as it relates to tarp duties for any individual “member”) for quite some time. So, a large camp would now have to ante up another person / team to run a second or third tarp to be placed adjacent to one another. Why should this logical eventuality be frowned upon in light of the fact that it would more closely resemble the “average situation” of most festivarians?

This is true, just as it’s generally true that there is strength in numbers.

Kamp DukTape is over 60 people, but it’s still really not easy to get even a majority up by 7am to go get a number.

But we do have the benefit of the division of labor, and we usually end up with many numbers (which we generously share with the less fortunate, less numerous or less organized groups) and run multiple tarps. And of course we share our spot with anyone and everyone. But limiting tarp size would only inconvenience a large group like us because, in the spirit of continuing our traditions, we would just double down on our efforts, and it wouldn’t really change the fact that people who show up late would still find it difficult to get their own tarp spot on the front half of the field.

I see it as sort of Darwinian - get up early, put in the work, and you get a good spot. Or, show up late, wander around looking for somewhere to sit, and blame others for the fact that you showed up late. I personally don’t see the benefit of encouraging people to show up late thinking that they deserve a front row spot. I just wish more of those latecomers would arrive knowing the rules. If they did, they would approach a group like us in a friendly way and simply ask to join. We’ve never ever turned anyone away, but lots of people don’t even ask or try. And if those folks who don’t know the rules and don’t put in any effort and refuse to approach strangers in a friendly way have to squeeze in somewhere or sit far back, then they still get to join in the greatest festival on earth.

Sam may look more like Ant Man from back there, but it’s not like they can’t hear.

The one thing that I would like to know is how much bacon or Wheaties did the person who ran that huge tarp in have for breakfast that morning? It looks impossible for one person to run with a tarp that size.

Maybe they were running away from the Malort? :evil

Exactly. A large camp is a lot of work! And yet, the fruits of the labor are shared with all. Duk Tape welcomes everyone and basically runs a tarp sharing community service. There is always a place to sit down the front for that act you can’t miss. There is always a place to sit in the shade when it gets warm.

Meanwhile, just to put this perspective, have I encouraged enough of you to come visit us at Byron Bay this Easter? Amazing line up and you can see what it’s like to jostle with 100,000 Australians at a music festival who would never think of sharing a good dam tarp.

The difference in culture, kindness, inclusion and sustainability between the two festivals is extraordinary. Though to be fair, there is surfing and more beer at Byron Bay.

No one will EVER complain about anything at Telluride again after experiencing a big Australian music festival.

Good music though!

Geez, I am such a logistics geek for getting into these topics.

FOM, you are wonderfully egalitarian and your posts almost always make me think, check and re-check my thought process. In this post tho, you have several assumptions that don’t mesh with my experience.
I don’t know why PBG went with 10X10 tarp at Folks. For TBGF, I keep seeing this as a solution in search of a problem.
I honestly don’t understand who’s slighted or disadvantaged (therefore currently unfair) given the logistics and space typically available at Telluride. I never see anyone that looks like they don’t have a spot somewhere on the field, so help me out here if I’m missing something.

Bevin alluded to this but Duk Tape (I’m Duk Tape too) already commits people and runs way more than three tarps for our large camp already; while a 12X10 might sneak in, we typically run 10X10 and smaller anyway. There’s just a practical limit to the size of tarp one person can efficiently handle. I envision trying to roll out a 20X20 while space gets eaten up around me and I end up with 8X8 crinkled tarp turf. I can see tarp size being limited at some size due to safety concerns, but fairness eludes me. The tarp sharing policy balances out unused space. It’s the tarp sharing that should be emphasized, because it’s genius.

But even if a big tarp is out for a big group, it fills their needs if they fill the tarp, so what exactly is fair or unfair? If the tarp is too big, then the tarp sharing policy kicks in and they’ve effectively done other individuals or smaller groups a favor. Tarp hosting has some downsides, “guests” spill their drinks, leave their trash, don’t eat the marshmallows mashed underfoot and don’t help clean the tarp after it rains- this is not to complain, just pointing out that tarp surfing is pretty good. If I were part of just a couple or just me, I’d have a spot way back to snooze and I’d do nothing but tarp surf.

If the fairness is based on efficient use of space, a tarp size limit solves nothing. A couple can run a size limit tarp with lots of unused space and it’s very inefficient. Once again, sharing kicks in to counter-balance. In effect, you know what size you need, if you bring more than that, be prepared to share. Beauty in simplicity.

Not to hijack the thread, but I’d much rather see some policy regarding the first couple of rows of shade shelters not block others views than a tarp size policy…cheers brother. :cheers

Thanks AAA. Likewise re: your post and others making me think about this issue as well.

I know this is going to ruffle a few feathers, but it helps to illustrate the underlying dynamics. Instead of the word “camp”, what if it were “tribe” or “mob family”? Instead of the communal festivarian spirit and bonds that exist to make TBF unique and exceptional, what if everything were purely “transactional”? What if we’ve been slowly inching our way from the former to the latter, but are effectively unaware of said “movement”?

There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to see the good in all people and situations (and am guilty myself), but do we not sometimes skew said perceptions to be more slanted to a more favorable outlook vs. the actual state of affairs? Were the corn dogs really THAT good, or does the larger “TBF experience” enable a sort of “euphoric recall”?

While the festivarian spirit is still genuine and strong at its core, there will always be people who drop off and those who jump on board the TBF bus. It’d be nice if there were a “net gain” of festivarian spirit over time, but I’ve admittedly become more cynical and believe there are also some forces moving in another direction. Might it be possible that PB has received an increase of feedback / interactions related to confrontations among festival goers at all of their venues / events? What I’m getting at is that it might be difficult for the average festivarian to see macro trends as being fluid over time; whereas PB is likely to witness, interact with, and discern a great deal more.

Getting back to tribal war and cartels: I personally believe it’s far from deserving as a true analogy and ought not be interpreted literally, but I do believe it illustrates the transactional nature that partly underlies the “camp” construct. Again, I believe this dynamic is entirely secondary (if not completely absent) as to why most people join camps and would also tend to believe that PB generally looks upon camps in an extremely favorable light. It’s likely an enormous anchor pertaining to their general marketing paradigm. Having said that, I can see how it might be necessary for PB to reconcile inherent “imbalances” that arise to find a happy overall equilibrium.

Getting back to the question: you made some good points (as did Bevin) … so not sure if I’m completely retracting my original post, but would like to clarify that I’m not necessarily for smaller tarp sizes in particular. If the general line were to be completely randomized, the size of tarps would become less of a factor overall regarding the ability of “organized crime” to leverage the system to their advantage at the (unintentional) expense of any given festivarian (who is not part of a camp). I personally think camps should and will thrive, but it might take a few small adjustments to re-calibrate the state of affairs to the trajectory of the larger landscape that is always in flux.

FOM, you really need to make a trip and come over and meet us pre-fest once camps are set up and find out what you’ve been missing.

There are tons of events open to all Festivarians who can make it over to Town Park pre-festival. The events, the spirit and the fun are all inclusive, not exclusive.

Kamp DukTape in it’s current form started in 2011 with about 22 people and has grown X3 since by being functional and welcoming. Camps are communal cooperative entities. We don’t compete against other camps in anything other than fun, we support each other. Not all people want to be part of a camp and not every camp is right for an individual, but if you find a camp that fits, it’s magical. I truly enjoy the vast majority of folks in Town Park, but I love and adore the people in our camp and how our camp functions, it’s an amazing mix of laid-back yet focused on essentials.

I do love the name “Mob Family” (Theme for 2020, Bevin?), maybe a good future camp name…

I get your transactional concerns, but I assure you the large camps of Town Park have been moving in the opposite direction the last several years. I believe they are looked upon favorably because of the wonderful events that they sponsor and host as well as the true Festivarian spirit that they reflect and help to spread.

So if the macro view has been letting you down, come visit us over in the micro and see if your faith could use a spa day or two. I’d really like to meet you one of these days.

Oh, and our side of the line is randomized (has been for the last couple of years now), I like it much better. Time is the most valuable thing, this uses much less time and the effort is shared among those that benefit (that strength in numbers thing).

AAA: I think you may have taken what I’ve said too literally. Perhaps a better way to understand the macro trend I was alluding to would be to look at how the power of what might considered “purchasing groups” affects the entire system that is comprised of limited “product” (tarp space); in particular, how said dynamic affects “unaffiliated individuals” in so far as how they compete and consequently influence the larger system?

So yeah, organized crime is not accurate and a bit heavy handed. I suppose it’s the “organization” descriptor that is the major operative at play that I was thinking of (although the line of empty chairs makes me always wonder about the “crime” part?).

I’m sure there’s an example I could conjure up with a hypothetical island with x number of people and x amount of food, but to keep it closer to “reality”, imagine you’re going into La Cocina by yourself and you notice the bar is full and there’s only a single table for two open. As you walk up to the counter to place your order, a family of four enters the line behind you. Behind said family a couple approaches the end of the line. The woman relays her food order to her partner, then proceeds to sit down at the only remaining empty table. Your food will be ready before this couples’, but you will not have a place to sit.

I realize this is just one of many scenarios. There could also be a large table (holds 8) with only 6 people occupying it … who see you standing and ask you to sit down with them.

When I visited Chicago last year, I went to a popular BBQ joint called Smoque during a busy lunch rush. It’s a similar system as La Cocina where you order at the counter, but what I found interesting was how they had a staff member regulate when you get to select a table and sit down. I thought that was awesome!

Hardly saying that such an aspect of human nature makes people “bad”, I just believe the natural entropy is to compete & regulation is necessary. The “macro” I was referring to earlier mostly has to do with the unseen dynamic of how “purchasing groups” inherently amp up the competitive nature of the overall system. Might the existence of camps that are more “effective” (at competing for space) inadvertently trigger an unseen chain reaction that causes the general population (of people not in camps) to become more competitive? In turn, might it also be accompanied by a growing sense of entitlement? Unfortunately, I’ve had two very tense run ins in two of the past three years up front during the day for not complying with demands to stop dancing / sit down. I realize this is definitely not emblematic of the festival, but I have noticed a bit of a shift in recent times.

Thank you for the invite to hang out, it would cool to meet you as well! I actually do spend time meandering around and hanging out at the campground in the run up to the festival. I typically go through the campgrounds for all festivals and TBF definitely has the vibe I gravitate to the most.

Sorry about the dancing thing, don’t know what to say about stuff like that. It’s unfortunate, but what can you do about other people’s kids huh?

You and I have different perspectives re: the festival and that’s really cool. I see the positives of big camps outweigh the negatives, with perfect not being the enemy of good and I keep trying to end-run the Nirvana fallacy for perspective.

I think I get ya, really. There are some camps I don’t associate with too much for whatever reason and I don’t mean to paint too rosy of a picture. Big organized camps do have the potential to exert a negative drag.

Fortunately, the big good camps I know of seem to be cognizant of this, they purposely try to give more than they take and I’ve seen the very positive influence they have. Through feeding people (crawfish boil, ramen, pot luck), communal drinking (beer tasting, Bloody Mary Monday, rumballs), and hosting music acts in camp they are able to spread the Festivarian vibe to dozens to hundreds at a time. Ultimately, these efforts are driven by exceptional individuals that are enabled by the support of a large-er-ish camps. Without these camps, I’m not sure these amazing individuals and small groups of drivers could do what they do.

Come join us for these things, because they are amazing.

You see the field, you see the festival as a local with the before and after and with news stories that most of us don’t get exposed to. It’s cool that you see undercurrents and worry about them, it means you care. I get that too.

Again, not blaming the camps for anything … especially the incidents re: people getting in my face while dancing up front. Neither occasion involved a camp. The common denominator in both incidents seemed to arise out of a sense of “entitlement” by some festival-goers who apparently felt they amassed some sort of authority to orchestrate the position of others in a GA environment by virtue of having invested time (or money) in the tarp line. At least this was my take.

Likewise, my comments having nothing to do in regard to the “internal culture” of camps. It’s a vibe I embrace, and again, appreciate your continual offer to join the fun!

My comments are entirely general in nature to flush out some of the systemic dynamics at play and are directed more specifically to the powers that be (PB) vs. at “camps” in particular as a form of criticism. It is what it is, and whatever it is, it certainly isn’t intentional! If I’m correct in so far as there being an escalation in the overall competitive atmosphere at TBF (and perhaps Folks), then why not try to bring the temperature down a notch if possible? Reduction of tarp size might help, but I think complete randomization of numbers in both lines is the best and easiest comprehensive solution, IMO. It immediately pulls the rug out from underneath the sort of “tragedy of the commons” situation that we’ve found ourselves.

FOM and AAL, both of you make good points. The numbers are randomized now in Town Park, and outside of the first day, the system works rather well there. How you can do this on the public side, however, would be a different animal all together. TP has about 1200 or so campers, so handing out 600 numbers makes sense. But on the public side, you are dealing with 9000 people. you may end up having a line with thousands of people trying to get a shot at a number from 1-600. And who says that “camps” are only limited to TP? There may be large groups in town, or Illium, that could also send dozens of people to get in line for a number.
One of the things that PB may consider is this. Just about everyone who attends has a cell phone. How much technology would it take to attach a cell phone number to your wristband, then randomly pick 1-600 from the TP and the public side every day. They send you a text with the number. Then, 2 hours before the gates open, have a table set up where you bring your phone and claim your number. I know this discriminates against people without cell phones, but it’s just an idea. The bigger camps will have an advantage again by number, but you won’t have to walk over and get a number either in the morning, unless you have a very low one.
It is clear that TP campers have a big advantage over the public side. We are not competing with 9000 festivarians on the public side. And since many of the TP folks have gotten to know each other over the years, when we tarp surf it usually is not to difficult to find tarps of fellow TP campers.
FOM has a point here, this may aggravate folks on the public side. Money is an issue as well, I am sure. Some folks pay lots of $$$ to rent condos in town. They may feel either that the deck is stacked against them as far as tarp runs are concerned, but also probably feel that is they are spending lots of cash, they are entitled to a prime spot with “no dancing”. And third, some folks may get aggravated just by the fact that they could not purchase TP tickets. Bet some folks feel that they should be able to buy their way into TP whenever they want.
Much of this really goes against the spirit of the festival, and it’s probably a small minority of folks that act or feel this way. I am not sure that limiting tarp size will have any effect on the attitude of these folks.
And whoever mentioned the shade tents in this thread is spot on. You need to move them back, because it definitely prevents mostly the folks from the public side from getting a decent spot, not so much the TP folks.

FOM … I really like the way you think! I take it you also know a thing or two about the majic of Prime Numbers ;)… we should talk sometime at next years Fest.

As for the OP on tarp sizes … I was just curious if others thought it a topic worth discussing … and y’all proved me right :).

I am of the opinion that there should be no ‘sense of entitlement’ attributed to any with ‘historical precedent’ … something I’d gleaned from some of the responses. At the end of the day; it IS all about having a good time and propagating the divinity of experiencing the magic of TBF.

This scenario is really troubling, and is a great reason to skip certain other festivals where entitled whiners think they can control your fun.

If you want to sit and watch a show, go see a movie. Going to a concert and complaining that someone in front of you is dancing to the music is the height of ridiculousness to me.