Festivals and Children – how to survive both!
Hmmm, you’ve reached an older feature - let’s get you up to date! Read our latest Arts & Culture features here.
Just back from Cornbury Festival, exhausted but pretty happy with my lot. This was the first festival I’ve taken my kids to, and it was a good ‘beginner’ festival – local, well-behaved, not too busy and hilariously middle class – Byron burgers, Hummingbird bakery, Pizza Express, plus a Joules store onsite (the PR didn’t call it ‘Poshstock’ for nothing.)
If you’re relaxed festival goers and your children are already seasoned pros, able to unicycle, spin plates and improvise fairy tales whilst cheerfully heckling Mr Tumble, just ignore the rest of this post. Otherwise, here are my top tips for successful festival-going with kids:
1. Like a highly trained SAS operative, plan your escape route. We wandered towards the exit at 4ish, only to be told there were no buses to the station until 6.30. That was a draagggggg. Cue a trudge back to the festival and another £20 gone on emergency cheer-up measures (beer and candy floss).
2. Don’t trust the weathermen. It was supposed to be fine today so I put C and I in sandals. Two hours later, their quivering tootsies frostbitten and muddy, I had to make an emergency stop at – where else? – Joules, and spent £50 on wellies. Yes, 50 bloody quid!!! They are nice wellies, mind.
3. Don’t let your son go for a sleepover the night before you attend a festival. F had looked me in the eye, solemnly promised to go to bed at normal time and be on form for today. He fell asleep on the train to Banbury on the way to Cornbury. Go figure.
4. When the festival organisers claim there’s a shuttle bus to take you from station to venue, do not assume it’s free. Our charming transport shuttled £20 out of our pockets each way.
5. Find out who is playing when and where before you get to the venue. We wandered around happily enough, coming across various acts, but it would have been so much better with a bit of planning. My kids were half way through a mammoth slide session when I heard a band I really wanted to listen to and I couldn’t get there in time to see them. Grrrrrr.
6. Take chairs. The upside of having a dry bum outweighs the downside of carrying them with you all day. If you find a spot you like, JUST DON’T MOVE.
7. If you have a toddler, insist they try Zorbing. The funniest five minutes of my day!