With festival season underway we thought we'd share our tips on taking little ones along for the ride.
Jamie and I loved festivals pre-kids so we were keen to check out the family festival scene to see whether it really could be an experience that parents and kids could enjoy equally. With this in mind, last year we traveled to Camp Bestival for Reuben's 1st birthday and, despite the unprecedented volume of rain and mud (shout out to the fellow 2017 survivors!), we LOVED it. This year with a two week old Marnie in tow we stayed a little closer to home with Geronimo Festival; and next year's plan? Glastonbury's calling!
What follows is a collection of tips we'd give to parents thinking about taking their kids to a festival, based on our experiences so far. But above all, honestly, just go for it!
We all know that going away anywhere with kids in tow takes a certain level of forward planning, but it really is key when you're essentially going to be living outdoors for a few days and nights. Gone are the days of festival prep entailing scrolling through Asos to find the shiniest most sequinned outfit (although admittedly I've not given up this part!) then chucking everything in a bag the night before you leave. You don't want to find yourself in the middle of a muddy field with a soaking wet toddler and no spare clothes or, god forbid, nappies. So start your packing list way ahead and (if you're an absolute control freak like me) why not take over your entire spare room for a week to lay out all your kit and clothes? And while we're on clothing...
Dress Up and Layer Up
Dressing up is a staple of any festival and it's even more fun for little ones so get Pinterest-ing and get creative! However, we all know just how unpredictable the Great British Weather can be so take layers...LOTS of layers. Seasoned festival goers will know this but you don't want to be dressed for a glorious morning of sunshine only to find yourself traipsing back to your tent/tipi/campervan when the rain sets in or as the temperature drops in the evening. Because let's face it, you wouldn't want to miss out on Rob da Bank feat. Ubercorn's DJ set because you forgot to take an extra jumper would you? (THAT by the way was a definite, slightly surreal, highlight!) And for little ones still in prams/wagons, lots of blankets not only keep them warm but give them somewhere comfortable to kip while you're reliving your glory days and staying up past 9pm. Which brings me on to our next tip...
Most family festivals will have some sort of wagon hire available, or you could splash out and buy your own. We went for the cheaper option of buying a second hand all-terrain buggy (it cost us a mere £15 at an auction!) and were so glad we did. Don't be tempted to take your trusty beautifully designed travel system because it will end up looking like this...
But definitely don't go without some form of transport for little legs as most festivals involve a LOT of walking, plus it's a guaranteed place to temporarily contain them whilst they eat/sleep/attempt to escape suncream application. And, one of the handiest tips we were given was to add fairy lights to your pram/wagon. Not only does it look awesome but it stops anyone from tripping over your sleeping babes when night falls.
Get Kitted Out
Our top three pieces of kit would be:
- Ear defenders - essential for little ears that are still sensitive to all the noise of a festival.
- A golf umbrella - perfect shelter from the rain or shade from the sun (let's face it, we know which one is more likely but at least it covers every eventuality).
- A folding seat - we're not talking full on camping chairs, but the back rests that are essentially two solid pads that fold; particularly useful for breastfeeding mamas because you're going to find yourself feeding on the floor a LOT and that little extra back support is perfect.
This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but honestly if you can just embrace the fact that routines will go out the window, EVERYTHING will get either wet or dirty at some point, and you'll come back more tired than when you set off, you'll make some memories as a family that you will never regret or forget. (And a Colin the Caterpillar cake will always make things even better!)
Have you been to a family festival that you'd recommend? And have you any advice you'd offer to parents thinking about taking their kids along to a festival? We'd love to hear your thoughts so leave your comments below.