Having grown up slightly envious of friends who spent summers camping out at festivals I always wanted to take my children on that kind of adventure. Since Milla was a baby we have been heading out for days or weekends to experience the excitement of outdoor music, workshops and theatre on offer at festivals.
With a wide range of festivals with superb family propositions it feels like there has never been a better time to grab a tent and head into the fray for a weekend. Having babies, toddlers or pre-schoolers in tow doesn’t have to be a limitation. Here are our top tips for making a weekend at a festival a breeze.
Kit: Lucy wrote and essential festival kit list last year with a run down of some must haves such as rainwear, ear defenders and a flexi bath. If you’re taking a baby with you I would add a sun tent to the list. It’s not always possible to find shade and if you don’t want to hang out in the tents all day it’s very handy.
Rests: the days can be long and with so much happening it’s worth planning rest times into your day so you don’t end up with burned out children. Even if you head off to a chill out tent the time away from the crowds will help.
Food: decide which meals you will eat out and which you’ll make at the tent. We made breakfast and had our other meals out but quickly found that the children weren’t as keen on festival food as we were. Spending Â£8 on a meal that is rejected is galling especially when multiplied over the weekend. I took a supply of my savoury muffins and veggie pizza in our cool box along with fruit and salads which saw us through the weekend. To keep our cool box cool we took a frozen bottle of milk which defrosted over the first day and a half keeping everything nicely chilled.
Showers and loos: they aren’t always the nicest experience so go with flip flops for the shower and a spare loo roll and hand sanitiser / soap for the loos. As the queues can be quite long at times make sure you’re stopping regularly to avoid having a desperate child on your hands!
Getting Lost: having lost a child at a festival I can say from experience that it’s worth coming up with a plan of what you’ll do in that situation and running through the process with your children. A simple: if you get lost; stand still, wave your hands at the people in fluro jackets and tell them you’re lost is probably enough to make sure the children are prepared and you’re reunited quickly. Having your number on a wrist band like these or these is a good idea (Monty’s festival-provided band had fallen off) but phone reception often doesn’t work so it’s not a catch all.
Pack light: one of our biggest mistakes is taking too much and ending up back and forth to the car for hours. If you can’t fit it in the boot you’ve taken too much! Keep clothing to a minimum focusing on layers that can be added to a basic outfit.
Have fun: go with an open mind for what you might expect. Take things at your children’s pace and have fun!