Going Solo – Why Should Single Parents Miss Out?

Last year at Blissfields we happened to be camping near some single parents having a fantastic time and by the end of the festival we were all great friends.

The Blissfields gang!
The Blissfields gang!

So what do you do if you’re a festival-loving person and you don’t have a partner, or if your partner hates camping and refuses to go with you? Do you give up on festivals? I know if you love festivals as much as we do here at Festival Kidz that is simply not an option.

It might sound crazy to take children to a festival on your own, but since having twins I’ve realised that with childcare anything is possible with a little extra thought! So I asked these lovely people for their hints and advice for anyone else thinking of doing this.

Suzanne Edwards with Honey (4) and Compton (2)

suzanneI first started looking at Blissfields when I was pregnant with Honey because it looked so family friendly. I wanted to go many times but something or another came up, so this year I was determined to do it, I had told many friends and they were all up for coming until it actually came to it!

Only one friend and his child (10) got tickets but unfortunately be was rushed into hospital the morning we were leaving. This caused a real dilemma for me… should I stay or should I go now….. well go we did and my gosh I’m sooooooo glad we did.

I’d say my biggest worry before getting there was how am I going to go to the loo (as Honey and Compton are too young to leave outside the loos and the loos are to small for all three of us) so I invested in a carry potty. Turned out I needn’t have worried as I was lucky in meeting all you guys.

I think the main reason I felt so good was that we all seemed to be in the same boat and felt that we came together to look out for each other…. for that I’m eternally grateful.

My advice would be go for it take the jump and have fun. Try to camp in family camping as I’m sure there are always others in your position as we found out. Having taken the leap of faith and going it alone I’m so glad we did, I feel empowered I now know I can do anything and my kids and I will not only survive but enjoy anything we do.

I am a master mummy and can do any fluffin thing!

Layla Jasper with Finn (3)

The main finn1thing I loved was the freedom of attending alone with Finn. Being able to do what we wanted when we wanted. I also loved spending one on one quality time with him. Experiencing new things together, learning different skills in the Angel gardens and meeting lots of wonderful friends!

Although we have always camped and travelled alone I was a little worried I would struggle to carry everything to the campsite. But between the two of us it was manageable.

We loved it so much that not only do we have blissfields tickets this year, we are also attending a couple of other festivals this year.

Nia Cook with Alba (4)

niaandalbaThis was my third visit to Blissfields but my first as a single parent. We had had such a fantastic time the last two years that I didn’t want to miss out just because my personal circumstances had changed. Although it was a daunting thought I was determined to show Alba that we could still do all these fun things together, just the two of us.

My biggest concern was how I was going to carry all our stuff from the car with Alba in tow and then pitch my tent on my own. I had a trial run with the tent a week before and found it was actually quite easy to pitch on my own.

I took Alba’s old buggy with me to help us transfer all our stuff to the camping field.  It took 3 trips to the car but security were so helpful and allowed us to fast track through the queue so that we didn’t have to stand for too long in the heat. This was the first kind act of the weekend and it proved to be a theme throughout the whole 4 days! Everyone at Blissfields is just so friendly!

My only other concern had been making friends and having people to talk to. However by the end of the first day we had already built up a little circle of friends in our campsite. This included a family we’d met 2 years ago [Editor’s note – that was us!] and 2 other single mams! It seems I wasn’t the only one there on my own! It was great to have adults to chat to while the kids played and we could also take it in turns for toilet runs.

My practical advice to anyone thinking of going as a single parent would be take lots of wet wipes, a buggy to cart stuff around and ball games for the kids to play on the campsite. Games get all the kids playing together and is a great ice breaker for the adults too!

But most of all I would say, no matter what your concerns may be, just do it! I felt so proud of both myself and Alba for just having the guts to go out and do it. I haven’t stopped smiling since I got back.

It has also given me the courage to try other festivals on my own with Alba as I know now there will be others in the same boat. Everyone just wants to help each other; whether its a hand with your bags, or pitching your tent, or even including you in a round at the bar. Everyone just was just so so kind and helpful.

So What are you waiting for?

If you’re a single parent why not go for it. Pick a small festival, pack as light as you can, and accept that festival folk are generally a friendly helpful bunch. You’re unlikely to be left on your own for long!

Are you a single parent who likes festivals? Please do write in with your experiences and advice. Would you benefit from a forum on Festival Kidz to help you meet other like minded people before you go?

5 thoughts on “Going Solo – Why Should Single Parents Miss Out?

  1. I am a single parent with two teenage boys (15 and 12) and really want to go to Latitude Festival this year. They have amazing stuff for the teens to do as well as some great bands. I’ve been to one festival so far with the boys. But I do feel quite isolated. Where can I find out if any other single families with similar aged kids are going?

    1. Meeta – lovely to hear from you. We have been considering setting up a forum so that parents can meet, and I hope we will get that up soon! But until then it might be worth trying the festival’s Facebook page? Unfortunately Latitude no longer support Festival Kidz so it is not one we will be going to. I’m going to Blissfields on my own this year however – the smaller festivals tend to be friendlier overall – but I would suggest you just go for it – if you are friendly you will meet people. Best of luck!

  2. I have always gone to festivals on my own with my son. I don’t drive so we also have the challenge of getting to the site with all our kit packed into an easily transportable trolley for taking on public transport. I used to have a brilliant old granny shopping trolley that comtained our tent, air bed and pump and sleeping bag and food and drink stash and costumes. Any extra bits n bobs I carried in a small day pack. My son used to have a little rucksack with a couple of favourite toys and a change of clothes and a story book.
    One of my best memories was travelling to the 3 Wishes Faery Fest at Mount Edgcumbe in Cornwall. We caught a train to Plymouth from Truro, a black cab down to the Cremyll Ferry across the Tamar and a walk up the hill to the site, set up camp and enjoyed the festival and the next morning did the journey in reverse, stopping at the pub in Cremyll for a big fry up before our journey home. My son was four year’s old. He was one year’s old when we attended our first festival together at Port Elliot and he did some of his first steps at a steam punk festival the same year.
    I am busy planning some summer jaunts this year. Can’t wait! Though sadly our granny shopping trolley is no more as her frame was bent in the hold of a Ryanair plane on our solo Celtic Nations three week tour 2 years ago!

  3. I’m going to Kaya Festival as a single parent for the first time this year after my marriage broke down. I am nervous but these tips are so reassuring. Thanks so much for writing about this. It has given me much more confidence!

  4. I’m a single parent and have been going to festivals since my son was tiny. He is now four and very excited for the upcoming season. Festival folk are so friendly and we have made a lot of new friends that we see each year. Our favorite festival is starry skies, with elderflower fields a close second. And of course, any festival with the flying seagulls!

    I have bought a fold up camping trolley to lug our gear from the car park to the campsite which is a lifesaver at the bigger festivals. Other necessities are a first aid kit, wind up torch, antibacterial wipes, glow sticks and fancy dress outfits!

    Festivals are important to us. The freedom, the magic and the community help my boy to flourish. Thanks for the single parent article, big love to you all xxxx

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