Is this your first time?
Don’t worry if you’re a bit nervous about the whole idea of a music festival with children. Even if you went to a hundred festivals before you had kids, the first one with them is a completely new experience!
You can’t just sling a few things in a bag, live on crisps and beer, and wake up three days later in a corner of the dance tent.
Going to a festival with children is of course still lots of fun. But this time it’s not all about you – it’s all about them. If your children enjoy themselves then you will too.
Some Advice for First Timers….
A festival with one child if you’re used to camping really isn’t that hard, especially if there are two of you. It’s fairly easy to keep track of one child, and as long as you take them to plenty of activities in the kids’ field and follow our survival tips you should be fine.
However if you are new to camping, or a single parent, or nervous about it, or have 2 or more children, you might want to consider the following advice…
GO SMALL! GO TINY!
The most difficult thing about festivals with children is getting your children from one place to the next. Remove the distances and you make your festival holiday so much easier and relaxing.
We have three small children. We love small festivals. Small is fantastic. Tiny is amazing. In the small festivals, your older children can roam around and find their way back. In the tiny ones you can see your children in the play area while you’re queuing for coffee.
If you really want to go to a larger festival, then make sure it’s easy for you to get around. Our festival wagon changed our lives. It’s a safe place for the children to go to. They can snuggle, rest, sleep. They’ll sit in it and sleep in it while you can actually see other parts of the festival so you’re not stuck in the same place. It carries cushions, blankets, books, toys and food (and beers for us!) and a cover to keep them cool and dry. When it gets dark, we light it up with solar powered lights making it impossible to lose each other.
I know most people say pack light when you go away, but I think it’s better to be prepared. If it’s your first time, you don’t know exactly how you’re going to feel when you get there. Will you be cold? Will you sleep ok? Will the children be bored? What clothes will you need? If you take more stuff than you need the first time you can work out what you actually need as a family. Make a packing list before you go, to make sure you have everything important, then when you get back just cross off whatever you found you didn’t need. Of course, always pack waterproofs whatever the weather forecast is like!
If you are going to overpack it’s a good idea to pick a festival where you can drive up close to where you’re putting your tent! Festivals you can do this include *Chilled* in a Field and Larmer Tree – but most small festivals won’t have much distance between the car park and the campsite.
Make sure you read our packing tips too!
GO FOR IT!
Now all there is left to do is look at our factsheets and decide! Make this the year of your first festival. You won’t regret it!
Festival Kidz recommends the following festivals for first timers…
Elderflower Fields is designed with families in mind, so it’s much less ‘wild’ in a party sense than a lot of festivals, and much more ‘wild’ in the natural sense!
With urban woods, sports camps, creative arts workshops, environmental activities and new teen focussed events on site, the Elderflower Fields Festival is designed to keep boredom at bay for kids and young teens for the entire weekend. Although it’s not all about them; with more than 40 bands on two stages, a woodland spa, cocktail bar and family picnic with Sussex produce, the whole family is catered for.
See our Elderflower Fields Factsheet for further details.
At Wood the emphasis is getting back to nature, and the love really shows. It’s tiny and in a beautiful location in the Chiltern Hills. There’s loads of room for the children to roam around in a safe environment. There’s a woodland play park, some wonderful locally sourced food and lots of workshops from dance to musical instrument making. Our reviewer last year absolutely loved it – see her 2013 review here.
See our Wood Factsheet for further details.
*Chilled* in a Field
With just one stage and a dj tent, *Chilled* in a Field is the smallest festival I have been to, which makes for a wonderfully relaxing weekend, as long as all you want to do is dance to some great djs or sit around the campfire with a local beer and chat. The carpark is right next to camping, and you can even drive to the nearest supermarket if you’ve forgotten something important. There’s a small toddler play area, a sandpit and dressing up, arts and activities, in such a lovely location that horses come up to the fence to say hello. Definitely one for the more laid back families – with the added benefit of being able to dance on the dancefloor while being able to see your children in the sandpit across the field! See the FK review of 2013 here.
See our *Chilled* in a Field Factsheet for further details.