Long gone are the days when music festivals represented the counter culture. Although they were once the epitome of everything alternative, attending a festival these days is about as rebellious as having real butter on your toast.
For example, at a festival I went to recently, I couldn’t get through the crowds that were blocking the way to the ballet tent… that’s the ballet tent people! At another, I ended up drinking Prosecco at the crochet tent while listening to Radio 4 Live.
Whatever happened to youth culture?
These days, it’s the kids who look on disapprovingly as mum and dad go all feral.
With hundreds of family-friendly festivals happening all over the UK this summer, we asked around the Kidstart community for top tips on what to take to ensure you and the kids have a great time. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Take ear plugs for all the family. These are vital if you’re hoping to get some sleep. If placed up the nostrils, they also double-up as smell blockers for those dreaded trips to the Porta Loos.
2. Invest in some platform flip-flops to wear in the toilets and showers. Those extra centimetres off the floor can make all the difference between a verruca-free and a verruca-filled life! Grab a pair from FitFlop.
3. Take wet wipes, ideally biodegradable ones. Pack what you think you’ll need and then times this by a million. Spare wet wipes can also be used to trade with other families for things you forgot to bring.
4. The key to festival joy is to help the kids stay dry and warm. Take waterproof over-trousers, kagools, warm hats and scarves to keep little heads and necks warm at night. A fold-up umbrella also serves as both sunshade and rain cover. Get your waterproofs and thermals from Mountain Warehouse.
5. We always take an extra pop-up tent which serves as both a spare place to keep supplies at night and as a shaded play area for the kids during the day. Early Learning Centre have some great examples!
6. Take a marker pen or something like those Kattoo tattoos that you put on the children with your phone number on in case they get lost. However, as phone signal is one of the first things to disappear in a large field, make sure you also arrange a meeting point with your children. It helps to make this as memorable as possible such as by the stuffed vine-leaf and kumquat smoothie tent.
7. Vast distances need to be covered at festivals and young children often find this hard. Have a think about how you will transport them and what you will do if they decide to stage a sit-down protest in the middle of a muddy field when you’re desperate to get over to the other side of the festival to see Ed Sheeran. Slings for little kids and wheelbarrows with pillows and blankets are a good option, and I have found a pedometer app on my phone fascinating enough to get the kids moving again.
8. Do take a potty or bucket! Those potties with the disposable inner linings are incredibly useful, especially for those late night ‘callings’. Adults ‘may’ also need to use these at some point, I wouldn’t know.
9. Take loads of snacks. It’s amazing how much cash you can potentially burn through just keeping the kids fed and watered. Being outdoors seems to make everyone hungrier, so make sure you bring the usual family favourites along with you. Get 75p back on your Morrisons shop.
10. It’s very handy for the kids to have their own light back packs containing a packet of wet wipes, a water bottle, some snacks and sun cream. Distributing the weight of what you need to carry around with you all day among all family members, even if just a little, really helps. Available from Boots.
11. Take an empty water barrel with you and fill it on site so you can keep a supply of water by your tent. This is great for filling camping kettles, brushing teeth, and washing hands and feet without having to venture down to the showers/toilets/water taps every ten minutes.
12. Pack a fold-away mat with a plastic coating on the underside so you and the children can sit wherever you like even if the earth gets a bit cold and damp.
Do you have any festival tips for parents or must-have items you recommend?