We were invited to attend our first family festival – Just So Festival in Cheshire – in 2017. While I was very excited to experience a festival with kids, I was also feeling a bit nervous. Would we pack the right things? Would our girls enjoy it? And would we actually be able to bop along to any of the music like in the ‘good old days’?
In this kind of situation I needed advice from the experts. So I turned to my knowledgable friends in the family travel blogging community for tips. Here’s what they told me about going to festivals with children.
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Festival survival tips from experienced families
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Go with the flow
Nell from The Pigeon Pair and Me says this is essential for festival families: “My main tip is, embrace slow parenting! Everyone will be happier if you go at the kids’ pace.” Nell also has some tips on making the most of your festival experience.
Eileen from Families Go says, if you’ve been a regular festival goer before kids, it’s important to manage your expectations: “Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kids tent, walking around, finding a patch of field where they can run around and not necessarily spending a lot of time listening to the music at the main stage. But this comes from a mom whose kid does not like my music at all.”
Hanna from DevonDaze says later nights are possible if you catch a day time nap: “My best move was to take the children back to the campsite mid-afternoon and enforce a rest time after a busy morning. We took a DVD player but also read and took colouring stuff.
“All three had a really good sleep, then we fed them an early evening meal before heading out for evening activities. It really worked for us as it meant we could enjoy the evening bits as a family without worrying the children were too tired/late to bed.”
What to pack for a family festival?
Sam from North East Family Fun is a Just So Festival trailblazer and went in 2016. She says: “My tip – pack a small plastic backed picnic blanket for the kids to sit on whilst watching storytelling/music. The ground can get very muddy.”
Zena from Zena’s Suitcase wouldn’t enter the festival site without a camping trolley: “I would strongly recommend investing in a camping trolley if you have small children. You probably aren’t going to be able to park near your pitch, so you can use it to move your camping gear.
“After that you can use it to transport the kids around. We bought ours for a festival, but have used it for days out and camping since, so it was well worth the investment.”
There’s another vote for trolleys from Hannah at Just Hannah Jane: “We went to a family festival when our eldest was nearly two and I was 20 odd weeks pregnant. My biggest tip would be to travel as light as possible and take a little camping trolley.
“Sometimes the walk from car to campsite can be pretty lengthy (on rough terrain) so having a trolley can make karting everything across much easier. Also, when the littles get tired throughout the day it makes an ideal little spot for them to rest in.”
Clare from Flip Flops or Wellies has been to Livestock with her kids and is a great believer in taking a go-to day sack to festivals. She says: “My advice is definitely to take a day sack with snacks, water, fleeces to sit on.”
Gina from Gypsy Soul has taken the kids and her dog to a festival. Here’s her kit tips: “I’d say definitely take a rucksack and pack some light-weight blankets in it so you can place them on the floor and sit down. Also pack plenty of snacks and drink as it can get expensive!
“For the dog, we bought one of those dog spikes to attach his lead to when we were back at camp which meant we didn’t have to hold onto his lead the whole time.”
Finding the perfect spot to strike camp is essential according to Lisa from Travel Loving Family who has partied with kids at Wychwood Festival in Gloucestershire: “My top tip is to really think about where you pitch your tent, or park your caravan. We were invited into the VIP camping area at Livestock, our first family festival, last summer.
“It was closer to the main arena and therefore easier to get around but it was also louder. But we opted for it as we liked the idea of the VIP toilet and shower room facilities… It turns out that the facilities were the same in the nice quiet family camping field too!!
“Do your research before you arrive and decide on the camping field you are heading to…and pack LOTS of baby wipes.”
Think child safety…and potties
Steph from Exploring Exeter took her children to three festivals last year and swears by this safety tip: “Write your phone number on a wristband to put on your children’s arms just in case!
“And bring a travel potty even if they are trained. If they need a wee in the night you don’t have to go out in the dark!”
Need more top family festival tips?
If you’re looking for more tips for surviving a festival with kids check out the advice of Otis & Us and Karen at Mini Travellers who are both Just So Festival veterans. Just So Festival has also put together a guide for first timers like me.
Do you have any top tips for people attending their first family festival. Pop them in the comments below!
*Disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I may earn some advertising fees if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. You will not be charged extra for this. We were invited to attend Just So Festival 2017 in exchange for a few mentions on the blog and a review of our experience. Images courtesy of Just So Festival. Credits: main image TenEight; relaxing families currentstate; stage Andrew Allcock.
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