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How To Survive This Festival Season With Kids...

May 25, 2017

Festival season is now upon us and we don’t want to see any tears streaming down those little human’s faces. So, we thought we’d take a little time to share a few insights into what we think is essential to survive a festival this summer.

 

Going to a festival used to be all about the hedonistic partying and most definitely not the kind of place you want to be taking a small person. But these days it’s not uncommon to see a miniature human, with a huge set of ear defenders, straddling their parents shoulders front and centre of the main stage. Festivals are becoming a whole lot more family accessible, but choosing the right on is essential.

 

 

A few years back I went to Glastonbury with a bunch of friends; we were underprepared, disorientated and behaving less than appropriate to be surrounded by children. But that’s not to say there shouldn’t be children at these festivals. Most festivals these days have family areas that are way safer for the ankle biters to play in, and miles away from inappropriate “grown-ups” like myself.

 

Choosing the right one…

Festivals can range from epically huge to local country events. If this is your first time taking your child to a festival, my advice is start small. The key to finding the right festival is based on your budget, the size, the line up, the audience, the activities, the facilities, the location…  and all these things will be different for each family. Check out the festivals we’re attending this summer for a starting point. We stay local to Norfolk and Suffolk; there are loads more of course, but we like to keep our events family friendly and affordable!

 

The perfect family setup…

There are two options to arriving at the festival, get there early and get a great spot or arrive late and avoid the traffic. Each one comes with its pros and cons so we really have to leave this one down to your preference. But, for lot’s of the weekend festivals we’re attending, like Alive and V Dubbin, you can arrive a day early so check out the festival sites to see what their options for families are.

 

Keep calm, it’s only camping…

Good equipment is essential. Making sure your family stays warm and dry is the most important thing to consider; without this the whole clan will be miserable. Secondly, make sure your tent is easy to assemble. We have seen countless family outings shattered by tent based wars. No one like to see mum and dad come to blows over a complex palace assembly. We have found that the fewer poles the better. Dome style tents are our favourite and a porch to store those muddy wellies is also worth considering. Have a practice run at home so you have it on point by the time you get to the festival. Plus the kids love nothing more than a night camping in the lounge or back garden!

 

 

Keeping the family above ground…

Always invest in good sleeping bags or bring ample blankets; no one wants to get chilly at night. Sleepy children are no fun in normal life situations, multiply that by 10 at a festival. A tired child or parent can be fatal! Comfortable floor coverings are always necessary. Think about that comfy mattress you spent lots of money on at home, there's a reason for it. A good inflatable mattress in your tent is key; gone are the days when we needed to tough it out and sleep on hard ground. Plus, technology has developed enough that they are self inflating… although I still enjoy the image of dad proving what a great man he is and trying to hand pump one for his kids.

 

Showers are for cheaters…

I’m an avid believer that if you decide to shower at a festival, you deserve to wait in line for 2 hours and get a cold one as punishment. It’s cheating in my eye’s. Festivals are about being dirty, feet need to be muddy and hands questionably sterilised. Kids these days are kept too clean, let them be kids. We used to make mud cake in puddles when I was little. There’s not much in my opinion that a pack of wet wipes and some hand steriliser can’t fix.

 

Don’t leave me standing…

Kids get bored easily. At festivals there are usually a good amount of distractions to slow down this process, but having a good seating option or pop up area is a great help. Team that with colouring books and you have it made! Depending on the size of your brood, you can choose to bring mini camping chairs. Some even come with fold out tables (my favourite). But, it doesn’t have to be a chair, a sarong, picnic blanket or rug can also create an instant play area to contain your child. Chances are if you put it down others will join so be prepared to become temporary day-care.

 

Festival Fashion…

Fashion before comfort? Not a chance at a festival with children. I see all these cute pictures of hippy kids at festivals with their pretty dresses, barefoot, running though the long grass and I think to myself, this is not what families look like at UK festivals. Mum’s looking more similar to some form of Swiss army knife, armed with all her children’s possible needs. The kids are grubby faced, with paint and glitter all over their limbs, and dad’s over in the bar with the boys. In an ideal world the British summer would provide us with this warm sunshine that keeps the ground firm and dry, but this is a fantasy and we need to be prepared. Make sure you pack a few changes of clothes; accidents happen when you’re having fun. Pack a warm layer. The sun may bless us during the days but it chills down in the evenings and no one wants to stop partying for the cold. Wellington boots, by far the best festival shoes going. But, we all remember those friction burns mid calf where the top of the boot sits; buy long socks and pull them all the way up or fold them over the top of the boot to look super cool (TIP: put the sock on inside out and when you fold it down your pattern is the right side).

 

 

The Perfect Festival bags…

This is a mind field. So you need a bag big enough to carry the essentials, but you also don’t want to be completely restricted in the crowds with this weekend size luggage you’re hauling around. Let’s spread the load. Kids backpacks are awesome. You can let the little guys be a part of the planning and carry what they think they’ll need, plus sneak a few mum advised items for good measure. The ideal mum bag in my opinion is the sack style that sits across the body; this way you are left hands free to dance. We have a number of styles available on the stall this summer or on the Braidy Bunch Crew website.

 

 

 

 

I can’t get you out of my mind…

No one wants to spend their whole festival freaking out and worrying about where their kids are. The best practice for not losing a loved one is planning. We all get carried away and at festivals things are no different. It’s muddy, there is glitter and crowds which potentially is a strategic nightmare. So make a plan. Make sure the whole family have a meeting point if someone is lost. If you’re at a festival where we are, The Braidy Bunch’s big pink flag usually towers above the rest and we’ll always have a carpet to gather lost kids on. If not, then as long as everyone knows where it is. Something you can see above the crowds helps. Writing your phone number on a wristband or in marker pen on your child’s arm is a great idea. It is especially easy to lose sight of your kids in the dark, so glow sticks are not only fun they can also illuminate the little ones after the lights go out.

 

And Chill…

Don’t forget the whole point of going to a festival with the kids is fun for the whole family. We hope we haven’t scared you off and maybe helped to open your mind to the fun that can be had when you all go together. The basic rule of festival fun is the more prepared you are, the more fun you can have once you’re here. So get festival hunting and we hope to see you all somewhere this summer!

 

Casie x

 

 

 

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