Me and CJ love the outdoors. She likes to glamp it up in her tipi. She loves music and can identify The Specials, The XX and Vampire Weekend amongst others from hearing just a couple of notes. So we should hit the festivals next year, shouldn’t we? What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the fact that I’ve not been near a tent since an unfortunate Duke of Edinburgh hike aged about 13 in which my group hiked up the wrong hill, does make me a tiny bit nervous. But I’m a big girl now, I can handle a tent surely? In fairness it was the navigation rather than the tent erecting skills that made me pack D of E in – and to the best of my knowledge, a compass and OS map are not needed at a festival.
I’ve already bought a ticket to Latitude and I’m planning to leave CJ with Mr Parklover (who definitely doesn’t do tents) and head there with friends. I like the idea of taking my daughter along to a different, possibly smaller, festival though. So what should I be prepared for?
I’ve searched the web far and wide to bring together essential advice for would be festival goers with kids in tow – from nervous newbies to seasoned ravers trying to figure out what needs to change now they have small people to look after.
- Take lots of wetwipes, snacks drinks and some colouring books for distraction purposes.
- Tempting as it is to shun anything connected to Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s probably a good idea to get some ear protectors.
- Be honest with yourself. Will you really enjoy yourself, or just be worrying about your children getting trampled/feeling you’re missing out?
- Do your research about the best festivals for kids, ask on online forums if necessary. My rule of thumb is, if there’s not a big, glaring section about families on the homepage of a festival, it’s probably only paying lip service. And that’s fine, if some festivals want to keep it a grown up experience, why not?
- Read the excellent and very practical advice in this article on efestivals about taking kids to festivals.
- We’re planning some camping trips not too far from home to see how we get on and work out the practicalities. Particularly of the toilet/potty situation. If I’m taking her on my own, I’ll nedd to get my head round how best to organise ourselves.
If you fancy getting a taste of what the festival experience might be like with kids, I found some fantastic blog posts with parents sharing their experiences. Check these out:
I love the sound of Camp Bestival, a festival specifically aimed at families – although that doesn’t necessarliy mean that you are automatically sited in a family camping field, as Madame Guillotine discovered. She gives a detailed account of her experience of the Dorset based festival when she took her family last summer. Her descriptions of the wealth of vegetarian delights available are making me hungry right now.
Over at family travel site Have a Lovely Time, Jo Beaufoix writes about taking her daughters to The Big Chill – if you’ve ever been put off going to festivals by the thought of those horror stories of stinking, fetid toilets, then this post may put your mind at rest. Quite rightly, Jo is a woman concerned about hygiene. This post is packed with practical advice and is a must-read.
Richard at Like Father Like Daughter was a festival regular before daughter G came along. He and his wife decided to give renowned family friendly festival Green Man a go. He reflects on the change in experience from rocking at Reading, to hitting a festival in the Brecon Beacons with a sleeping baby on tow.
In the coming weeks I’m planning to bring you details of some smallish festivals (can’t quite bring myself to call them “boutique”…)in beautiful locations, many of which (but not all) may be suitable for children. If you haven’t already been put off, pop back and check them out. And if you head to any this summer, you may bump in to me with CJ raving on my shoulders!