In addition to the tips listed below, also check out my page that lists What to Bring.
- Take a water bottle into the show with you. They will let you bring in an empty water bottle or bottled water that is still sealed. Remember, it will probably be hot, and you will be dancing your ass off! There are water fountains right beside all of the bathroom entrances. Fill up your bottle when you come in. If you try to fill it just before the show or during the intermission, the line will be very large. Also, keep in mind that for every one person that brings water, there are about a dozen other people that donít. Unless you want to be a scrooge, bring a large bottle. You will have lots of people asking you for a drink. Share the wealth, brothers and sisters! As a side note, they will let you bring in a Camelbak type hydration system if want to, but it must also be empty upon entering the venue.
- I am a big fan of the lawn. If youíre not someone that is obsessed with getting as close to the stage as possible, the lawn is great. Keep in mind that you cannot smoke cigarettes in the pavilion. The view from the lawn is pretty good. Also, the Deer Creek sound system is the best Iíve ever heard in a venue that size. The sound is remarkably big and crisp even in the lawn. There are also three huge video screens that use views from several different cameras in the pavilion. They have much better camera work than you will see at most outdoor "shed" amphitheatres on tour. To get a great seat in the lawn (front and center) you need to be there when they open the doors an hour and a half before the show. Keep in mind that the best seats on the lawn also breed the largest amount of chaos. Donít expect to spread out a blanket and claim tons of real estate down in front. Which brings me to my next point...
- If you're sitting on the lawn I don't recommend taking in any kind of blanket or tarp to sit on. It will get trampled and extremely soiled. Only bring one in if:
(a) you need it to claim some "real estate" on the lawn for phriends that will arrive later.
(b) it has just rained before the show and the ground is wet.
(c) you plan on sitting near the outside edges of the lawn where you can actually spread out a little.
However, keep in mind that by mid-summer when Phish comes to Deer Creek lots of the lawn is no longer grass. Most of it has been replaced by small wood chips and dirt. Especially near the front and center.
- You will save yourself mucho headaches if you camp at Deer Creek or at one of the nearby private camping areas. The traffic is horrendous before and after the show (especially after), and there are ALWAYS police checkpoints. If you camp, you will be able to avoid all of this! If you absolutely have to drive to the show or you are a glutton for punishment, read Andy Gadielís Deer Creek Checkpoint Advice Page first. Also, take the most obscure country road you can find. Finally, get yourself an ACLU Bustcard to carry with you!
- When you go through security to get into the venue, hereís what to expect. Sometimes I have walked right through, other times they have subjected me to the following: removal of hat, emptying of pockets, lifting of shirt (guys only), brief frisking of legs, hips, and waist, searching of any bags regardless of size, shaking of blankets/tarps, and emptying of water containers or checking to see if the seal is broken.
- Soundchecks are clearly audible from the back side of the venue (behind the lawn section at the base of the hill). They finally tore down that intimidating-looking chain link fence that was put up after the '95 Grateful Dead gate-crashing incident. It had blocked off that whole area, but now it is more accessible.
- Parking will cost at least $10. The lots are huge, so it's a good idea to look for landmarks near your car. It will greatly increase your chances of finding it after the show. All of the lots have lightposts marked with a number from 1-10 of a certain color (i.e. Red 8).
- Don't take any kind of bag or backpack to the show with you unless absolutely necessary. They will rarely let you take it inside, especially if you're a guy. I have seen them make certain exceptions for women. They may let you check it at the front gate until after the show, but this is a royal pain in the ass. I have seen people have to go all the way back to their car/campsite because security wouldn't let them in with a bag.
- If you plan on drinking any alcoholic beverages while camping at Deer Creek, don't forget that you cannot buy alcohol on Sundays in Indiana. Make sure that you stock up on Saturday, or buy your alcohol at a neighboring state before you enter Indiana.
- During the summer Indiana is on Central Time.
- As you plan your journey to Deer Creek, make sure that you don't go to Deer Creek, Indiana. The venue is in Noblesville, Indiana which is an hour away from the actual town of Deer Creek. Don't laugh, there's been several folks who have missed the first set because of this mistake!