The Camelbak Debate Continues
It didn’t take 12 hours for ID&T to reverse its stance on Camelbaks at TomorrowWorld once the social media storm began — making it a prime example of how much power the masses can wield (and how well ID&T responds to inquiries made by fans). Meanwhile, EZOO has been fending off complaints for its own Camelbak ban for almost two weeks, with no change in sight. So what does this mean for the future of Camelbaks, and other means of hydration, at festivals?
To be honest, no one knows.
There is plenty of speculation on why festivals have begun banning Camelbaks — drugs, insurance policy requirements, money-hungry executives — but unfortunately festival planners have offered little in the way of formal explanation.
To be fair, EZOO did respond to a request for comment with the following:
“There still seems to be a lot of confusion about bringing in water bottles. While Camelbaks are not allowed, you may bring in clear water bottles. **Empty clear plastic water bottles up to 1 liter in capacity will be allowed”
The response then directed us to the festival’s Facebook post from August 19th, where EZOO formally announced water bottles could be brought in.
But even with the change on water bottles, fans are still up in arms over EZOO’s Camelbak ban. Even Mat Zo, who is scheduled to perform at the festival on Sunday afternoon, questioned the decision and reached out to festival organizers for an explanation. To date, the producer has offered one of the only detailed explanations as to what makes Camelbaks so troubling for festival organizers.
Following my concerns with Electric Zoo’s ban on Camelbacks, I’ve had a conversation with the people who run (cont) http://t.co/wMovkmsrak
— Mat Zo (@Mat_Zo_MRSA) August 17, 2014
As a Camelbak owner myself, I can see how the sealed bladder and difficult to remove hose has the potential to make security searches difficult. The reason Camelbak has been the go-to hydration brand for outdoor enthusiasts for years is because it lasts and can take a beating thanks to its seams — which makes inspecting 10,000+ bladders in a timely manner a daunting task.
However, it’s not impossible, especially if more security is hired and a Camelbak/backpack specific line is made. By making a separate checkpoint for those who wish to carry in a bag, the festival makes it clear that in choosing to bring in a Camelbak, the attendee is agreeing to wait in line longer to ensure it is checked properly. Personally, I’d be happy to wait an extra half an hour if it means I can have the piece of mind that my Camelbak provides.
We all know that drinking plenty of water (and Gatorade) at a festival is important no matter what else we may or may not put into our bodies. Even at festivals in cooler locations, such as ID&T’s Mysteryland USA, which is held in Bethel Woods, NY over Memorial Day Weekend, hydration is key to staying safe and having fun. Across the U.S. it has become standard for festivals to offer free water stations in an effort to keep attendees hydrated, but this wasn’t always the case (remember when Warped Tour made you pay $4 a bottle back in the day?).
Once free water became the norm, people began looking for ways to carry more of it on them without having to constantly wait in line, queue the rise in Camelbak popularity. Sadly though, as convenient as Camelbaks are, they’re easy to hide things in and some people have exploited that. We can all agree that throwing some Gatorade powder into an empty bladder before going through security isn’t a big deal, but what about the other substances that can easily be thrown in that very same bladder?
Therein lies the question for festival organizers — do they continue to let us use Camelbaks and hope their bladders aren’t exploited, or do they bite the bullet and find an alternative such as providing cups and water bottles inside festival grounds? There is no easy solution. No matter which option they choose, companies like ID&T, SFX, and Insomniac will always have their actions questioned, if not by fans then by police and government officials.
I’m not saying I agree with festivals banning Camelbaks, I’m very pro-Camel actually, but I do understand organizers’ concerns. So now that a dedicated group of TomorrowWorld attendees got our favorite hydration packs back on the list, let’s all agree to show organizers, police, insurance companies, and anyone else who questions the EDM scene, that we really do use our Camelbaks to stay hydrated, to stay safe, and to have fun (the legal way).
Note: While Sensible Reason believes in hearing every side to a story, the views and opinions in this piece are solely that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sensible Reason as a whole.
Featured photo by Ally Balcerzak