Push aside those hedonistic memories of music festivals pre-children, taking the little ones along is a whole different experience, but with the right planning and preparation it can be every bit as enjoyable.
We are great fans of attending as many festivals as we can over the summer months and see no reason why children shouldn’t get in on the action too. With that in mind, here are some words of wisdom from the lessons we’ve learned battling muddy fields with buggies and toddlers in tow.
Sun cream is a must. As is a hat or two. You’ll be outside for the best part of a whole day, and often with little shade on offer.
And on the subject of clothes, prepare for rain. We’re in Britain, it’s quite possibly going to happen. A light raincoat and wellies really are essential and can make the difference between fun and absolute misery.
If your children are old enough, give them the responsibility of their own little day pack to carry. It’s astonishing how quickly what’s necessary and what’s not is determined once it’s clear that everyone’s carrying their own bags.
Even if the weather man is saying it’s hotter than Honolulu, pack layers. The temperature will fall in the evening and not having enough warm clothes is tantamount to disaster. The worse that can happen is they don’t get worn – less washing.
Babywipes are your friend. They’re the missing link between passing for a relatively respectable human being to looking like you’ve been living with bears for the last decade.
Also, be armed with plenty of snacks, food at festivals is expensive, you’ll be spending the equivalent of the cost of a small car over the course of a weekend feeding your offspring, so be prepared with portable goodies. Stash a selection in your bag to pull out at opportune moments. Nothing revives a flagging little one like an unexpected treat. Some might call it bribery, and they’d be absolutely correct.
If you have toddlers take a three wheeler all-terrain buggy. Beg or borrow a model if you don’t already own one. Little, lightweight buggies are great if the weather is fine and the ground bone dry, but in wet and muddy conditions a three wheeler is the only way you’ll be able to transport your tiny cargo around the site. Trust us; we’ve attempted this task with a little completely useless stroller, so you don’t have to.
Make a plan just in case you get separated and familiarise your children with high-vis wearing helpers, such as stewards and the police, who they can approach safely. Write your phone number on your little one’s arm with a Sharpie, that way the number definitely can’t get lost.
Above all, have fun! Just know that everyone will look like they’ve been living in a ditch for a month but that feeling of freedom and the smiles gained from having an adventure way out of the ordinary are worth every load of washing you’ll be doing for the next fortnight.