Summer is here and you may be feeling ready to try something new…so how about going to a music festival this year?
There are literally hundreds of music festivals in the UK each year, and the vast majority of them welcome families with children. Of course, given the huge range of options available, it can be hard to know where to start.
This isn’t like when you went to Reading aged 19
If you are planning to take your children to a festival for the first time, it is definitely NOT all about the line-up! No matter how excited you are about seeing your favourite band, you stand almost no chance of actually enjoying their set if your children are not happy.
The best bet when taking children to festivals for the first time is to change your mindset on what a festival is. To help you re-frame this notion of cider, no sleep and ringing ears for weeks after I have compiled a check-list.
- Go Small – Smaller festivals are less tiring because the walking distances are shorter. They are also easier to get your bearings in, less crowded and usually more manageable from a parent’s perspective. To the uninitiated, a huge sprawling festival could be so overwhelming, that it could put the whole family off for life. Smaller festivals tend to be cheaper, so you can afford to splash out a little more on food and treats (saving you a lot of preparation), and will be less costly if you make a mistake.
- Go Local – It is also a good idea to stay reasonably local for your first experience. If you forget something essential you can go home and get it, and if you hate it then you can just go home! Staying local also means you save on transport costs, it’s better for the environment and of course your local economy too! As you get more experienced you will have a better idea of what you want from a festival and can then explore the different options further afield.
- Do Your Homework – Find out in advance whether there will be child-friendly food available, what facilities there are for babies, how much entertainment will be there, your accommodation options (if it’s a weekend event), the rules on taking your food and drink and of course who is on the line-up. Practicalities like money, lost children and mobile phone charging are also worth knowing in advance. Bear in mind too that very few children are happy to watch bands all day so you do need to work out whether there will be enough there to keep your children happy. Whether you need workshops, storytelling, street theatre, a playground, a child-care service or just plenty of green space, will depend on the age and preferences of your children.
Can be hard work but worth it!
Taking children to a festival can at times be very hard work – but with a bit of forward planning (and a ready supply of treats) you will find the rewards completely outweigh the effort involved. So dig out the wellies, put some flowers in your hair and get ready for your next family adventure…