Are festivals good for dogs?

festival dog

With record high temperatures at festivals predicted this summer many of us will struggle with kids out in the sun. Essential festival kit for little ones included hats, water bottles, practical clothing and oodles of sunscreen. But did anyone think about what to pack for man’s best friend?

More and more events are welcoming our four legged friends, but are festivals really the right place for dogs?

This really depends on the animal, the festival, and of course, YOU. Responsible owners need to carefully consider the festival they are taking their dog to and what sort of weekend they are hoping for. Baking in the midday heat with a pint, or 2am sweating in the dance tent may be perfect for you, but it’s no place for anyone wearing a fur coat.

A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you been to this festival before?
  • Has your dog camped before?
  • How will your dog cope? (Loud music, crowds, crazy people, sun, mud, litter, being left).
  • Would you leave your dog in the tent / car / van and how would they cope?
  • What would you do in an emergency? A little dramatic I know, but if you don’t have transport or are incapable of driving, it’s unlikely the festival paramedics will deal with Fido if he accidentally swallows a chicken bone or cuts his paw on glass.

There are many other considerations like food, water supply, sleeping arrangements and doggy toilet duty that will all need some thought.

Ultimately, the question for us is, WILL MY DOG ENJOY A FESTIVAL?

We have listed some festivals who allow dogs below. We are in no way endorsing these as ‘dog friendly festivals’ as we have not attended all of them. We would love your comments below if you have been to these or any other festivals with your pet and how it went. Although a festival may allow dogs, this does not mean that consideration has been given to providing facilities, space, shade and anything else they may need. Let us know if you how found these or other events really dog friendly festivals?

  1. dog show Standon CallingBusfest
    6th - 8th September 2019
    Malvern Showground, WR13 6NW
  2. Chiddfest
    24th - 26th July 2020
    Nash Street, Chiddingly, East Sussex
  3. Curious Arts Festival
    19th - 21st July 2019
    Pylewell Park, East End, Lyminton, Hampshire, SO41 5SJ
  4. England’s Medieval Festival
    23rd - 26th August 2019
    Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex
  5. Farmer Phils Festival
    9th - 11th August 2019
    Shropshire
  6. Fairport Convention
    8th - 10th August 2019
    Cropredy, near Banbury, Oxfordshire
  7. Green Gathering
    1st - 4th August 2019
    Piercefield Park, Chepstow, NP16 6BE
  8. Good Life Experience
    September, Flintshire
  9. The Lancashire Festival
    20th July 2019
    Avenham and Miller Park, South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JP
  10. Lakefest
    8th - 11th August 2019
    Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR8 1RN
  11. Lechlade Festival
    22nd - 24th May 2020
    Riverside Park, Lechlade, Gloucestershire
  12. Maverick Festival
    July, Suffolk
  13. Neverworld 1st - 4th August 2019
    Hever, Kent
  14. Puffin Festival
    May, Northumberland
  15. Standon Calling
    23rd - 26th July 2020
    Standon Lordship Manor House, Hertfordshire
  16. Upton Festival
    23rd - 25th August 2019
    Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire, WR8 0PB
  17. WeyFest
    August, Surrey

Do you know any more dog friendly festivals? Please comment below.

FestivalKidz spend our summer at festivals across the UK checking out the facilities and experience on behalf of families so we can help you make informed decisions. We believe that a dog is very much part of the ‘family’ so we welcome advice and tips below. As with children, we feel that some festivals are completely unsuitable for even the biggest ‘party animals’ however much they love to get down to gabba techno at home.

dogs in hot cars

Note 1: I decided to write this article after seeing several dogs locked in cars and campers on ridiculously hot days at festivals this summer (both those that welcomed dogs and those that didn’t). My kids and I found this really distressing and twice we reported incidents and the security broke in to the vehicles.

PLEASE – IF YOU ARE GOING TO BRING DOGS TO FESTIVALS, DON’T LOCK THEM IN HOT VEHICLES. We wouldn’t leave our kids on their own so let’s not do it to our pets.

Note 2: To any festival organisers reading this who promote their events as dog friendly festivals. If you allow dogs, please add some brief guidelines or information to your website to help owners. Example at Cropredy:

‘Pets – Bring your dog by all means but be sure you have some plastic bags in your pocket so that you can clear up any mess. Suitable bags can be obtained onsite; a note in the programme will tell you where. If you bring a pet, keep it under control in public areas. Keep it on a lead if you’re on the arena field or on the road. Make sure your pet has plenty of water available and somewhere to shelter from the sun. Never leave pets shut in vehicles in the heat of the day – if people see a pet in a distressed condition, the RSPCA will be called and you may face prosecution.’

By: Sarah Ryman @afieldsomewhere


7 thoughts on “Are festivals good for dogs?

  1. I’ve now been to farmer Phil’s twice with my current dog. She’s a big dog, 18 months old, and thoroughly enjoys herself. Phil’s is amazing. People are so friendly, loads of people ASKED to talk to the dog (far better than just waltzing up and saying hi). People offered to hold her while I had a wee, she doesn’t like being in the cubical with me so I have a long lead which attaches to another lead around my waist so I have hands free for toileting, eating & drinking. I got her to carry her own water bowl and offered her drinks regularly.

    I’d recommend lots of towels and a 4pt milk bottle with holes in the top which makes a handy shower for the dog.

  2. Thanks for the list. We have recently got a dog and finding it difficult to discover which festivals we can take her to as dog details tend to be well hidden in the festival FAqs. I would add neverworld festival at never to the list. They allow dogs. I can’t say if it is particularly dog friendly as we haven’t been yet but are trying it out this summer

  3. Something to Smile About Festival which is near Doncaster is the most wonderful dog-friendly festival I have been to. I am on my own and go to lots of festivals with my dog and always looking for more. I generally do about 8 or 9 a year.

  4. I’ve been to Farmer Phil’s a couple of times with my dogs. They are socialable, easy-going dogs who enjoy being out and about and are used to being in the camper. They are also used to music as there are regular band practices at home. Guidance I would give:
    1. Festivals can get muddy so be prepared to come back to camp with muddy dogs, if it’s late at night and they are tired they will want to go straight to bed even if plastered in mud.
    2. If your dog rolls in something unpleasant, think about how you will clean them up. I have a portable shower, and Farmer Phil’s Festival are installing dog taps to help this year 🙂
    2. Don’t expose dogs to music that is too loud
    3. Be aware of the weather – if it’s sunny they will need some shade and plenty of water, if it’s wet they’ll need something dry to sit on and preferably a little shelter from rain if they are sitting for a long time
    4. Be careful of what is on the ground, especially at night when it is dark. Most dogs like to hoover up anything tasty and it may not be good for them. Also, watch out for anything that could hurt them like broken glass
    5. Be aware of what your dogs are doing while you’re enjoying the music, dancing or whatever. People/children/other dogs are often in close proximity and issues can arise (e.g. your dog eating someone’s burger, child trying to play with your dog, any dogs getting grumpy as they’ve been dragged round a festival all day!)
    6. Being alone with dogs at a festival is challenging (I’ve done it). Think about what you’ll do with them when you need to pop to the loo, get some food/beer, etc.
    7. As dogs will be eating anything tasty they can find, be prepared for them to have an upset stomach
    8. Although you are out of routine, don’t forget to do all the normal things with your dogs – food, water, walks, play, fuss etc.
    7. Above all – be aware of your dog at all times and make sure they are enjoying themselves too

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