First Family Festival
We did it, we survived our first festival as a family! We had sunshine, a thunderstorm and pretty much everything in-between in true British weather fashion. We had tantrums, meltdowns, hysterical laughter and some crackin' dance moves. Most of all, we had a lot of fun and I'm happy to say we found that we were quite prepared for the experience. Here's my top tips for festivaling with little ones... For reference, we have a 4 and 2 year old.
Take a portable toilet/potty.
This is the best thing we have ever bought. A great way to avoid the festival toilets that not only smell but are very enclosed and have a long wait line. This particular one was foldable so it fitted into the backpack when we were walking around, and it came with bags so they could be easily disposed of and replaced with no mess at all. To be honest I used it just as much as the girls did (only in the tent, my bum was not bared for the public to see). Last minute wee before bed and you don't want to walk to the toilets? Get on the potty.
This is the one we bought, although there are lots of other versions available.
Let them sleep.
It's incredibly tiring for everyone, so naps were key for us. We tended to head out in the morning and let them run wild and free then headed back at around 3pm for food and a long nap. This way everyone got to rest and they were able to stay up late for headline acts!
Snacks, lots and lots of snacks.
The most commonly used phrases in this house are "I'm hungry", "I think my tummy isn't full", "Can I have another biscuit?" and this did not change when the house became a tent. So take snacks, more snacks than you could possibly think you would need for three days. That fresh air, new environment, dancing and constant energy burning makes them extra hungry. Hungry can turn to hangry and a hangry child is the worst kind of child to be around. Our choice snacks:
- Apples, oranges, bananas
- Raisins/ yoghurt covered raisins
- Fruit winders
By this I mean make sure you have all the gear. We are used to years of going to festivals in a tiny tent with just enough clothes and taking only the absolute essentials. This time around was very different. We bought a second hand tent that was big enough for us to walk around in and even came with a very handy foldable kitchen cupboard/table. We took airbeds for all four of us, kindly borrowed from friends - a good sleep was so important! For the kids we bought them a camping chair each and ear defenders for when the music was a bit too loud. Pack for every weather possibility. Wellies and raincoats, sunhats and suncream.
We took a stove along with bowls, plates and cutlery so we could make meals and not be spending money out constantly. We walked to the shop each morning to get a pint of milk and eggs so we could all have a bowl of cereal and some boiled eggs. The idea was to go big on breakfast so we could enjoy a morning out in the heart of the festival without rumbly tummies!
Share The Time
We went to Beautiful Days Festival, which seems to be the most kid accommodating festival out there! There was a Kids field with house of mirrors, ferris wheel, helter skelter, kids craft section, fair games, giant bubbles, sandpit, dress up tent - the list just goes on and on! So we shared our days out evenly, half the day dedicated to doing kid things so they felt happy and fulfilled, then half the time watching the bands we wanted to see or chilling with a drink while they could dance in their pants in a field.
Thoughts For the Future
For future festivals we would definitely like to go in a group with friends or family so that we could go and enjoy the night time music more because as one family there is always going to be a parent that is staying behind with the kids, and its usually going to be mum.
Cart the kids around! There were so many great kids carts that children could be pulled around in to save their little legs from all that walking and lots of babies sleeping soundly while their parents hauled them across the festival. This wasn't essential at Beautiful Days because its a pretty small festival, but at Glastonbury we would definitely be making one!
I can't say it was bliss because it wasn't and we are utterly exhausted. But seeing the girls dancing to live music, clapping when a song finished and soaking up the same atmosphere that we revelled in for years was such a joy to witness, the good definitely outweighed the bad!