It’s that time of year again when you brave the British weather, the dodgy burgers and the odorous long drop toilets to take in some of the finest acts around on the festival circuit. Once, this would have been the chance to squeeze as much booze and as many mates into a van as possible before drinking yourself into a stupor for four days. However, now you have children, the festival experience is a touch different. Yes, there might be vomit and tantrums, but that is where the similarities end. Which is why we have put together the ultimate guide to taking children to a festival.
Whether it is one of the behemoth festivals like Glastonbury or something more boutique, such as Green Man, taking the family to a festival can be a daunting but also life-affirming and a lot of fun too. So, if you’re ready to swap at least half the ciders for Fruit Shoots and head off to a field in the middle of nowhere for a weekend, here’s what you need to know.
Be prepared for sun
Yes, it can be sunny during festival season. Not always, but sometimes. Remember, you will be out in the sunshine most of the day and with everything going on, it’s easy to forget about the power of the sun until it is too late.
In addition to the obvious health concerns about sun burn on little people’s skin, it doesn’t make for a fun-filled weekend if they burn themselves early on and are in pain for the rest of the event. And then there is sun stroke to look out for too after being exposed to the sun for too long.
Sun cream, sun hats, long sleeve tops and sun glasses are all advisable for a festival with kids, as well as an available supply of water to keep them hydrated at all times. Also, check you can take your own water bottles in, as buying them from the festival stalls will require a second mortgage.
Be prepared for rain
The other side of the coin is that festival season in the UK also often means torrential rain. Make sure you have puddle suits, wellies, umbrellas, a million wet wipes and plenty of changes of clothes when taking children to a festival.
Another consideration is that heavy rain means that there are few places to sit. When there’s a band on and it’s sunny, the kids can rest on the grass. When it rains, though, you don’t have that luxury unless you want to deal with an even muddier child. If you can, take some kind of portable chair with you, as little legs tire easily.
Go to a practice event
Although there is nothing like the atmosphere of a festival, you can give your kids a taster of what to expect. Take them to your local park when there is a gala day or other event. Give them the experience of being in a crowd. The hustle and bustle of a live event is perfect for laying the groundwork for taking children to a festival.
Prepare them for the bands you love
Sometimes your kids love the music you do, but this is never guaranteed. If you want them to get the most out of the festival, put some time in before you leave.
Play them some of the big hits they are likely to hear and get them excited to hear them belted out live. It gives you the bargaining chip of anticipation, which is important to keep them interested. Even when the act on stage drones through the “new stuff” that no one wants to hear.
If you get to the festival and then find your kids’ ears are a little sensitive for the booming tunes, that can be an issue ahead of a weekend of top tunes. Take ear defenders as a remedy. They fit on your child’s head and reduce the noise to a bearable level. They might also want these when in large crowds if they are sensitive to those kinds of situations too.
Get them a wristband
We’ve all seen that fella in the pub with an armful of increasingly grubby festival wristbands, dating back years. But your kids need a different type of wristband. Jot your contact details on your child’s band and then someone can contact you if you lose each other in the crowd. Even the most hawk-eyed parent can lose sight of a little one heading away on their own, so this is a great precaution.
Dress them brightly
Another tip is to dress your child in bright clothes so that you can easily spot them making a run for it. Make them wear something distinctive and you can easily reassure yourself they are close at hand.
Understand you might miss the headliners
A festival is a full-on experience for children. With all the excitement of the day, it is almost certain that they will droop before the headliners leap on stage. If you are there with a partner, you might have to divide up who gets to see which of the bands and who goes back to the tent with the kids and sit with them as they snore away a great day’s adventure.
Ready to take children to a festival?
This guide has given you a range of advice for taking your children to a festival. And now it is up to you! Get those tickets booked and enjoy introducing your kids to the experience.