Many people hear the word ‘festival’ and automatically think of thousands of young people getting drunk in a field. This may be the case with many festivals, but there are plenty of family-friendly alternatives which provide a great getaway to be enjoyed by all ages.
Jack Keery from Deer Shed Festival says: “Say no to ‘children’s areas.’ Kids aren’t zoo animals, and the best family-friendly festivals will ensure their whole site is safe and secure, so your kids can run wild!”
To ensure everyone has a fun experience, proper preparation is essential. This article will provide some tips to guarantee an entertaining weekend for the whole family with our family friendly festival survival guide.
What to pack
Packing is probably the most important part of going to a festival. You shouldn’t over-pack, nor should you skip any of the essentials or other items that may have slipped your mind! (You can find a downloadable essential packing list here.) Below are a few things you may think of taking with you:
Reusable water bottles
A lot of people don’t think of packing reusable bottles as the vast majority of festivals are full of drinks stalls. But drinks prices are more expensive at festivals than everyday life, so bringing a reusable bottle is an effective way to stick to a budget.
The benefits don’t stop there: reusables are also better for the environment, and, considering most festivals have free water refill stations, provide durability that far outweigh the initial cost.
This is also often forgotten about as festivals typically have a selection of food stalls but, again, these are usually overpriced. It’s important to eat plenty and ensure kids are well-nourished, too. Bringing food with you will save money and ensure your little ones’ favourite snacks are on hand when needed.
This isn’t necessarily something people forget to bring, but many people opt to only bring their credit or debit card. Many festivals do have cash machines onsite as well as the option to pay by card, but these often come with an extra charge. It is also easier to budget when you take just cash and you also reduce the risk of losing your card.
Dealing with the weather
A recent survey by the Hatchbag Company revealed that over 54% of the British public would be put off going to a festival due to bad weather. Bad weather seems almost inevitable in Britain, but it shouldn’t have a negative impact on your festival experience. There are a range of things you can pack to deal with the unpredictable climate.
Keeping yourself clean
Mud is pretty much guaranteed at any festival. Of course, bad weather will make this a lot worse and it will be very easy to get yourself and your items dirty, no matter how careful you may be. Tommy Job, founder of the Tunes festivals, advises: “Make sure you have lots of water, toilet roll, face wipes and baby wipes. Also, come prepared with bags to put rubbish and dirty clothes into.”
Nobody likes being cold and wet, but this can be particularly stressful for children. Although rain might put a dampener on things, it’s better to be dry and miserable whilst waiting for it to pass than being wet and miserable!
Waterproofs and wellies are a must for everybody. It is also handy to bring a small towel with you to dry off if you do get wet. It is a good idea to have some spare dry clothes to change into once the rain stops –– it might be worthwhile keeping these in the car to ensure they stay dry.
Keeping the car clean
Besides getting to and from the festival, the car is often not thought about. But the state of the car on the drive home often comes as a shock to many, as an extra few days in mud and grime may be needed to get it clean once the festival is over. To stop a huge mess occurring, there are a number of things you can do to make it much easier when clearing it out:
- Use a wipe-clean boot liner to prevent the interior from becoming wet, muddy and possibly damaged.
- Keep bin bags in the car so you can instantly chuck in any wet clothes and muddy boots.
- Store some wet wipes in there so give yourself and your kids a quick clean before getting in.
Ensuring everybody is happy
Going to a festival as a family will definitely have its challenges, especially your first one. It can be quite overwhelming keeping everyone safe and happy, but family-friendly festivals often have a lot on offer which can make pleasing both parents and kids much simpler.
Plan, plan, plan
As well as deciding what to pack, it may also be useful to plan your days. Prioritise your preferred acts/events to avoid overscheduling, and consider everybody’s opinion to keep the schedule fair and prevent family disagreements.
You should also allow time for plenty of breaks; most festivals are spread across several acres of lands which means lots of walking. This can be very tiring for little legs!
Safety is important for any festival goer but protecting children is a particular priority. Your first festival as a family can be quite daunting due to the sheer size of the site and crowds. But as long as you take precautions and are fully aware of what is happening, your little one will be fine. Here are some things you can do:
- Give your children a contact number to keep on them at all times so they can reach you somehow if they do get lost.
- Use reins for smaller children to ensure they’re always close by.
- Dress your child in recognisable clothing so you can easily spot them in a crowd.
Last but certainly not least, have a great time with your family! As long as you plan, pack and prepare properly, it will be a breeze. Lots of families attend festivals every year, an experience which creates memories to be enjoyed years to come.