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Music can enhance a campground and/or RV park, but parks should play music with protection of a music license. Bud Styer shares how music enhances Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi, Wisc.

Think about all of the ways music enhances your life. Maybe you turn on the radio as soon as you get into your car or you stream music while you’re working, exercising or relaxing. It’s an easy way to add more enjoyment to your day. Many of your guests feel the same way, which is why playing music at your park can be good for business.

Bud Styer is a campground consultant for Bud Styer & Associates and owner of ARVC member-park Smokey Hollow Campground in Lodi, Wisc. Throughout his 40 years in the industry, he has incorporated music into his campgrounds in many different ways, right down to playing music in his camp store.

He says at one time he used to host outdoor concerts, but since they are so weather-dependent, he found them to be too risky of an investment. Now he does simpler activities like having a DJ on the beach.

“We do that pretty much every week around our swimming pond. People like that,” he says. “We do kids’ belly flop and limbo contests and hula hoops, all that kind of stuff. We have music with our bubble machine, blowing bubbles on the pond.”

He also offers nighttime entertainment.

“We’ve had themes like big band sounds and have people dress up like they’re going to the prom or getting married again. We’ve done polkas. Pretty much, everything you can think of, we’ve tried. Music is a great common denominator.”

He explained why he likes to use DJs.

“If they’re good, they can figure out what the crowd wants. All I have to do is control the volume. And if we get bad weather, we can move into a building, so we have ‘Plan B.’”

Remember, if you play music at your park you need to have the proper music license to avoid copyright law infringement which can result in costly fines. But don’t worry—ARVC has your back. The ARVC Combined Music License, an exclusive ARVC member benefit, allows you to secure coverage for both ASCAP and BMI at a drastically reduced rate with savings of up to 50 percent. You can also sign up for a discounted SESAC license.

“It’s kind of a no brainer,” Styer says about the importance of getting a music license. “You can’t look over your shoulder. There are people who do, and I’ve always told them that’s foolish. I know of one park that got caught and had to write a check for $10,000. I tell people, ‘Music licensing is just a fact of life, so get over it and do it. You get a bill every year and (the risk of fines) goes away.”

He offered a simple way to way to assess the value of playing music at your park.

“All you have to do is look around. Are your people happy? They’re always happy when there’s music playing.”

To learn more about the ARVC Combined Music License, visit