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10 tips to enjoy (or survive) festivals with KIDS!

baby and parents at womad festival at rivermead readingOur kids have grown up at festivals.

It’s certainly a challenging experience with little ones especially if the weather’s bad.
More endurance than enjoyment.
But still we do it.
Come rain or shine.
We keep going back for more.
There is nothing quite like it.

WE LOVE IT!

kids and crazy strangers at festivalThe freedom and amazement. The pure delight watching little ones discover crazy things and colourful individuals around every corner.

As I was packing for an ‘easy life’ with the kids at our next festival, I was thinking about tips I would give a friend doing it for the first time and thought I’d write them down.

If you’ve never been to a festival with kids, don’t let this put you off. It’s a fantastic experience that your little ones will remember FOREVER.

Here’s my 10 tips for taking kids to festivals (and having fun!)

festival waterproof toddler with kids ear defenders 1. Prepare for EVERYTHING – The UK has such unpredictable weather so why do we have so many great outdoor events? Everyone wants to bask in summer sunshine but the truth is that you can experience 4 seasons before you’ve even crawled out of your sleeping bag. Hot, cold, wet, windy. Basically, prepare for EVERYTHING. Keep a bag in the car for WET weather stuff with an extra set of clothes for everyone (you probably won’t need them but you will be grateful if your tent gets washed away!)
festivaldaisyemily2.  Go with friends – Festivals with kids is tough. Going with friends who have kids of similar ages really helps. It makes life so much easier, especially for hanging around camp, (something we never did before kids). Stuff can get stressful if something unexpected happens, so friends are great to help out and calm the situation. If you are used to late nights and don’t want to drag the kids around all night then you can take turns going out while your partner watches the kids with some company back at camp.

circus skills kid at festival 3. Pack your imagination not your gadgets – Keep kids occupied with made up games. Forget expensive gadgets that you’ll just worry about and take a few small things like balloons, bubbles, an inflatable ball (globes are great), pencil & paper.
kids festival fancy dress 4. Pack essentials – comforters, nappies, medicine, etc, etc, the list goes on! I know it’s obvious but I once bumped in to a mum who was freaking out because she’d forgotten Aptimel follow-on milk and her 1-year-old absolutely refused anything else at bedtime. They were about to leave a festival they’d paid £300 for! Luckily for her we had a few cartons so helped out – aren’t we nice?
kids run free at festival #wildtime5. Break the rules – We’ve never been ones for routine (may explain a lot). But if you are, screw them up for the weekend and enjoy yourself. Kids will have the best time seeing you have fun. They are far more resilient and adaptable than they get credit for and festivals with kids should be fun. My two dealt remarkably well recently with dinner of chocolate, cheese string and banana when we arrived at the pub we were camping at to find they were fully booked for evening meals. (I think I also coped rather well with Gin and Kettle crisps).
family camp bestival festival

6. Capture the moment – Easy these days as no one goes anywhere without a phone. If the kids are old enough give them an old camera – It really encourages them to take interest in their surroundings, and if your other half is anything like mine, at least you might get one of two shots with you in!

dad and toddlers at festival7. Make a Plan together– Activities each family member will enjoy at some point each day. Sounds super organised I know, but trust me, it really helps avoid extra melt down moments. If everyone has had their say and gets to do something they really want to (including mum and dad) it keeps the peace. Babies and toddlers are easy as they go along with stuff, but keep the older children involved in decisions if you can.
mum and toddler at festival

8. PACK the SNACKS – The last thing you need is hungry kids just as you sit down to watch a band with a nice cold beer. Even if you don’t agree with snacking kids, give yourself a break, you’re on holiday. Kids have small tummies and queues for food can be ridiculous especially around tea time. Avoid 20 minute queues for overpriced chips and PACK the SNACKS. Healthy stuff and some special treats to diffuse melt down moments and hopefully buy you an extra 10 minutes out playing (or is that just us?!)
mums and babies at festivals9. Quality YOU time – Even if it’s just a leisurely stroll to the water tap. Make sure you take some time to yourself to take in the surroundings on your own. Take turns (another great reason to have friends with you) to spend a little time doing something for yourself. Shop, massage, music, champagne & hot tub or even just SLEEP?!?!
festivals with kids10. HAVE FUN! This is the biggest tip I can give. Kids LOVE seeing their parents let go. So, no matter what happens, be sillier than you have ever been before.

Life’s short.

GO CRAZY!

If you are not sure which festival to take your kids to then check out The Best Family Festivals 

34 thoughts on “10 tips to enjoy (or survive) festivals with KIDS!

  1. Maddie Sinclair

    Yeah! Love this post Sarah! Your best yet! And one you will no doubt get lots of search engine visitors to. It’s making me very excited for Elderflower Fields and Shambala! Roll on summer! Xxx

  2. photomummy

    I love this,how fantastic. It looks and sounds like you have such a fun and chilled time.I have never been to a festival but I have been wanting to go for some time-I want to go even more now!! #PoCoLo

  3. judithkingston

    I hate camping and would never normally consider doing something as outrageous as take small children to a festival – but you’ve made me want to go now!! Great post, and I love your photos, so full of joy and colour and life.

    1. a field somewhere

      Thanks for reading

      It’s something i’d really recommend trying once. You never know, you might LOVE IT.

      We are lucky enough to have a van so a few more home comforts than in a tent. There are some amazing luxury camping ‘glamping’ offers at festivals for families these days so you don’t have to rough it., Or you can always hire a campervan or even stay in a hotel! I know lots of the family festivals also do day tickets these days for people that just don’t camp.
      We’d pick a long weekend at a sunny festival over a weeks holiday abroad any day.

  4. Verily Victoria Vocalises

    There are some fantastic tips here Sarah :). Personally I like my creature comforts too much these days to go camping but I am all for taking kids to festivals – I think it’s a great experience. A PoCoLo event sounds like a fabulous idea, thanks for linking 🙂 xx

  5. Christopher Adams (@fantasticchris)

    Thanks for this post – Elderflower will be our first festival since having children, and we’d only done a couple before that so a little nervous about it all! they’re 8 and 6. We had hoped to go with friends but despite some positive initial feelings, they all wimped out for various reasons. I can see that knowing people there would have been an easier first taster, but we’ll see how things go! I have tweeted a link to this post so hopefully others will appreciate it as well!

    1. a field somewhere

      Thanks for dropping by fantastic Chris. I’m sure you will have a great time. Pretty much everyone at Elderflower Fields has kids so is in the same boat. Your little ones will makes lots of friends as the festival is just the right size that you bump in to fellow campers all the time. Have fun. X

  6. Coombe Mill (Fiona) (@coombemill)

    What a lovely post and well done you for carrying on your festival going with your little ones in tow. I love your advice to let go and be silly with them. I couldn’t agree more, kids love to see you being kids too! I’d love you to come and link up with me on Country Kids with this one, all about outdoor fun!

  7. mummywhisperer

    Great tips, thanks for commenting on mine!
    I was a total newbie to festivals when I started taking the kids – so glad I did, I’m hoping they take me to Glastonbury in 10yrs time ;o)
    I’m off to a day folk festival today – will be odd not to be camping, but I wanted to try some local ones out this year too – still taking the flower garland for my hair though!

    1. a field somewhere

      Thanks for popping by. I think all the years I have pushed my kids round Glastonbury defo deserve at least 1 year of them pushing me round in a wheel chair when I’m 80!
      Enjoy the festie.
      @afieldsomewhere
      X

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  9. Sammy

    I’ve been taking my 8 year old to shambala since she was a mere egglette! She loves it. These top tips are most definitely be heeded by all!

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  12. Amanda

    Couldn’t agree more. We have been taking the kids to festivals for the last 4 years, since the youngest was 4 (I couldn’t face it before then but kind of wish I’d just bitten the bullet). We started with really small festivals and are building up. The best thing for us is being able to give the kids their freedom. We put down the rug, tell them that we will be there all day and then leave it up to them to either stay with us or go and explore. Our eldest spends most of his time in the kids theatre area and the youngest spends his time making stuff in the kids area.

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