Festivals dos and don’ts for families

Taking a baby, toddler or your whole family to a festival? Here's your vital checklist of equipment to take and pitfalls to avoid from FestivalKidz founder Romany Greatex

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Mum and regular festival goer Romany Greatrex set up the FestivalKidz website when she and a friend decided that having children shouldn’t put a stop to having fun at festivals and camping out with all the family – however young. 

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How young a baby can you take to a festival?

No age is too young – as long as you’re prepared. However, I’d say younger babies are easier, especially if you’re breastfeeding. It’s much easier at a festival than bottlefeeding. You can carry your baby in a sling to breastfeed and don’t have the worry of sterilising bottles.

If you do need to sterilise, what equipment should you take?

As there’s no electricity on tap and it’s not practical to boil bottles over a pan on a fire, you can’t sterilise as you would at home. So cold sterilisation kits are great or ready-sterilised disposable bottles.

How do you keep everything hygienic enough for a baby or toddler?

Wet wipes! Also, most festivals do have facilities for showers and baby changing areas – Glastonbury for example. It’s all about checking which places are child friendly. However, if you are extremely worried about hygiene and germs, you may be best to have a proper think about whether a camping festival is best for you and your children.

What buggy should you take for a festival?

You need a buggy that’s great on different terrains and one that can glide through mud easily! I’d recommend the Urban Detour Vortex, which seems to do a good job. However, I take my children around in a wagon – they love it as it draws attention and looks fun.

Where do you sleep a baby or toddler at a festival? 

That depends on what you prefer. Baby sleeping bags are what I’d recommend if you’re happy with your child sleeping in their own space, otherwise, family sleeping bags for older babies and toddlers are great as your child can sleep in beside you.

Should young children wear ear defenders?

Definitely. My eldest is 8 and still wears them. She likes to, as it means the noise surrounding her isn’t too loud. Parents who have trouble getting older children to wear them should keep persisting and insisting. The more children wear them, the cooler they’ll appear to be. Also seeing celebrity children wearing them in concerts are a great help – as again it makes it look cool.

What if you’re in the middle of potty training?

Washing facilities are scarce and trying to deal with a lot of wet pants and trousers would be a nightmare scenario. So I’d recommend using nappies or pull up pants – it’s only for a couple of days.

What about older children who don’t like using, let’s face it, smelly loos?

Porta-loos are a nightmare with children, so travel potties are great, especially for during the night. And bog-in-a-bag are great too!

Should you take cooking equipment?

You’ll need to check out whether you can cook at your tent, some festivals allow this but others have designated areas to cook in. There are stalls that you can purchase food from, but this can end up expensive. I tend to take dinners already prepared, which have been frozen. They also keep the cool-box cold.

What are your top 5 items to pack for babies/toddlers at a festival?

  • Waterproof wellies
  • Ear defenders
  • Sunhats and sun-safe products
  • Warm sleeping bags and sleep clothes (as being cold during the night is a nightmare!)
  • Healthy snacks – such as avocados, cereal bars, etc – as other meals can be a little less healthy.

What’s your favourite festival?

The Larmer Tree festival. It’s small, only about 5000 people. There are beautiful gardens, art and workshops. Everything’s in close proximity too. It’s also great for a real family trip – as there are people of all generations. I take my mum along and she doesn’t ever feel out of place.

So why set up your website, FestivalKidz?

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I was talking to a friend about how we loved taking our children to festivals and found that many parents hadn’t considered it for various reasons. We thought it’d be great for other parents to find out which festivals were childfriendly and also to prove that not all festivals were crazy and full of loud, drunk people. Festivals can be a great way to spend special family time together!

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