The Escapees/Xscapers 2019 Annual Bash is underway here in Lake Havasu and to say we’re wildly impressed would be an understatement. What the Escapees RV Club has done with Xscapers is nothing short of incredible. And seeing the explosive growth of the Annual Bash from 2018 to 2019 has us wondering just how big this event can really get!
Before we get to this year’s event, let’s take a short hike back in time to give some history on it all. As much as we know anyway.
Xscapers was founded as a part of the Escapees RV Club a few years back to give digital nomads a more direct relationship to the broader RV community. It’s not necessarily geared towards younger RVers so much as it’s geared towards those who actively work while living a life on the road. Of course, being that its made up of mostly working age nomads it does tend to trend a bit younger, but attending an Xscapers event will quickly reveal it’s becoming a comfy home to a wide range of nomads from all walks of life and all age ranges.
This is the fourth annual bash, we believe. The first one had just a hand full of RVs. The second one was much bigger. Last year (2018) saw the number of RVs climb into the hundreds and 2019 is a a significant increase that shows the sky is the limit on where this all goes moving forward.
You see, in 2018 the bash was held in Quartzsite on BLM land. It was big. Very big. And at the size it had grown to a point in which managing everything became a challenge. Being BLM land the organizers can’t put up structures or tents. Making the idea of organized events and meetings a challenge. Especially with the number of RVs that were clearly going to be attending the event from that point forward.
So in 2019 the event was moved to Lake Havasu and hosted in a more controlled environment. It’s at the Lake Havasu City Rodeo Grounds, a sprawling piece of land with buildings, stands, coordinated sections of dirt lot and bathroom/shower facilities. Not only is it a great place for an event such as this, it shows that event organizers are going to have a big challenge on their hands in the many annual bash events ahead.
Why? Because the event is already outgrowing this location and it’s only been here once. In fact, according to Xscapers staff tickets to this event sold out. Meaning, they may have been able to DOUBLE the 500+ RVers here. Or even triple! Who knows because they sold out!
Amazing to say the least. Now let’s review each component.
PARKING & SET UP
Anyone who works on large RV events know the key is a good parking experience. Xscapers have proven to be masters at this. When you have hundreds of RVs piling into one entrance point in a single day there is no room for error. Any bottle necks or wrong moves can create chaos. Chaos that sets the tone of the entire event.
This was possibly the smoothest opening day we’ve ever seen. Ever!
RVs didn’t back up in huge lines. The gate staff were friendly (even fun as they were all dressed like Elvis!) and welcoming. The entire RV parking process was about as quick and painless as one could hope for. Very, very impressive.
And in terms of the parking layout it’s very clear Xscapers listened to feedback in previous years and made plans based on making it all even better. There is an area for the partiers, keeping the late night noise contained to a section anyone who wants sleep can avoid. And giving those who want to “bash” a place to do it without concern of what others think of it all while trying to work.
There is a generator area and a generator friendly family area that keeps all the RVs without solar in a section where the noise doesn’t bother those who don’t need to run generators all day. And there is a big solar area for those seeking a more quiet experience without being too far from all the action.
This is genius. Very well thought out and perfectly executed.
5 out of 5 on the parking.
EVENTS & SCHEDULE
Last year was pretty impressive. There were plenty of panels to learn from and events to participate in. But this year is a whole different animal. There are bounce houses, live music on a nearly daily basis, unique potlucks/food gatherings, panels, demonstrations, kick ball and so much more. There is definitely something for everyone. And everything is spaced out so as not to feel extremely overwhelming. There are family oriented events, solo events and events for all of the above.
And because it’s all hosted in a more controlled environment, the events happen in a much more comfortable atmosphere. With a more coherent central gathering point.
5 out of 5 on events and schedule.
STYLE & THEME
This is a world class event. And that’s one of the most fascinating parts of it all. Last year it was out in BLM land so in a lot of ways it just felt like hundreds of us were boondocking together at the same time. This year’s event feels more like a carefully planned and managed event. And you feel like you’re at something with intent and purpose.
The branding is fantastic. There are themed nights (Kick off night was 80s night) and a lot of attendees are going full throttle to make it all a blast.
If you’re here you know why you’re here and you know why everyone else is here. There aren’t random RVs just happening into the area. There are no strangers. It’s all Xscapers and we all know it. So it has a very tight Xscapers community vibe and that vibe is strong everywhere you go.
5 out of 5 on style and theme.
Our team at ENTV/RV Nomads has always viewed Escapees RV Club as THE club to join if you were to pick just one. Escapees has something for everyone. From mail services to RV parks, they’ve got it all. And now that Xscapers itself is pulling off major events like this we anticipate even more massive growth moving forward.
If you aren’t yet an Escapees/Xscapers member, we highly recommend you consider joining. And if you haven’t yet experienced the Annual Bash, mark your calendar to be in Arizona in January of 2020 and don’t miss this event. It is, hands down, the coolest event of its kind in the movement. There is nothing else like it and you need to be a part of it.
Bravo to the Xscapers team! Very well done. Those of us on the outside looking in are impressed on a level that words just can’t describe.