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Festivals with kids – here’s what you need to know

Glastonbury recently kicked off festival season; Camp Bestival is the next big one for families.
Last year, I took the three boys for the first time.
I was really quite unprepared (we did have a tent but not much else camping wise).
When people asked how long we were going for I was pretty vague, thinking that after one night we would pack up.
What really happened was that we stayed for four nights, had the time of our lives and were so fast asleep in our tent on the Monday morning that we were one of the last families to leave.

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Here is what you need to know about festivals with kids:
You may think that you are really prepared, but you will forget something important.
That important something will be forgotten about soon enough (unless, like us last year, it’s a pillow – you don’t forget about a stiff neck all day).
Festivals are an opportunity for parents to ditch their routines and mealtime schedules and let the whole family go with the flow.
We did not eat lunch at noon like we do at home, we simply ate when we were hungry.
Ditto, gin in a tin is perfectly acceptable late morning in the sunshine watching a band.
Ice creams at 10am? Why not?

It takes no encouragement for my kids to get into character or dress up. They are having a ball here @campbestival

A post shared by Kate Peers (@madabouttheboys) on

Children get ill wherever they are.
Be prepared.
We saw a few kids last year in the shower queue a tad poorly after over-indulging on sweets the night before (or a bug).
Make sure you take some plastic bags, Calpol and Dettol wipes.
This is not a glamorous side to festivals but it happens – better prepped than not.
At Camp Bestival we made a couple of trips to the first-aid tent (there was one in each field).
This was mainly for plasters and, at one point, nettle stings.
The staff were excellent and so friendly with the kids.

Wall of death @campbestival The boys want to start biking now. 😳 it was incredible to watch.

A post shared by Kate Peers (@madabouttheboys) on

Arrange to meet up with other people where possible.
This allows you to have extra pairs of eyes when you need the loo or are in a lengthy bar queue.
It also makes it so much more fun.
We had friends at Camp Bestival and it made all the difference with the three boys (see photo below and book a trolley if you have more than one child).

My boys, lollipops and skaters to watch. Another sunny day @campbestival

A post shared by Kate Peers (@madabouttheboys) on

Your kids will want glow sticks, Diablos, inflatable bananas (yes really), glitter on their faces and all the other festival dress-up fun.
Stock up before you get there – save yourself a fortune and keep them busy at the same time by having a Mary Poppins-style bag full of fun for meltdown moments.

Talking of meltdowns, the kids will have one.
In fact, you will all have one at some point.
The kids may have not made it to the stage in time to see Dick and Dom in action.
You may meltdown because the gin in a tin has run out and the bar is out of cider.
Take it all in your stride and remember, this is much better than being at home.
Last year, at Camp Bestival only one of us had a meltdown (and it wasn’t me).

As a family we got on much better than we do at home, mainly because we were so relaxed and had no agenda (although if we had missed Mr Tumble/Fatboy Slim there could have been tears).
We bounced together on the world’s biggest bouncy castle; did a Mr Motivator class with the man himself at 10am; I had an hour wine tasting with the scummy mummies, knackered mum and DJ Sara Cox; (one of the best hours of the weekend) and we all enjoyed Fatboy Slim headlining on the Saturday night.

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So many memories made over a weekend.
Are you still wondering whether a festival is for you as a family?
Go for it.
One thing is for sure, you will never forget it.
You can read all about our first experience as a family at a festival here.

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