Having recently returned from our first family music festival I thought it might be nice to put together a post sharing some gorge photographs from the trip, but also, more importantly, to share some handy tips and tricks that we picked up along the way. The thought of travelling anywhere with a tiny human in tow can be SO daunting, let alone packing and gearing up for a few nights in a tent, LET ALONE with the worries of the weather. Throw in a timetable of musical acts and it may well be easier to just stay at home.
But let me tell you, it’s worth every single ounce of worry, stress and preparation beforehand!
We had the best weekend and I would go as far as saying it was my absolute favourite weekend of motherhood so far. Goldie thrives when she’s outside, she LOVES having her toes in the grass, she enjoys having the wind in her hair and she LOVES THE SUNSHINE! Being at a festival is sensory central for us adults so imagine what it’s doing for our children(!) There was so much for her to see, take in, to feel, hear, and smell, she absolutely LOVED every minute of it and we had a weekend free of any whinging whatsoever, what a delight to see her so truly happy.
My first tip for festivaling with a baby is to research family friendly festivals ahead of time. You want to be sure that where you’re taking your tiny human is suitable and is also somewhere with lots of other families and babies/children. That’s how we found Black Deer Festival which is a relatively new festival on the scene, but it came up high on our research list. Black Deer Festival had everything we needed for Goldie and was brimming with the coolest little families. The line up sounded great but it wasn’t overbearing for us so it meant we weren’t stressed about timetables and therefore could relax in-between the few bands and artists we wanted to see. Another lil tip there, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest going to a festival that is FULL of performances that you want to see as I’d imagine you would be let down. Keep your timetable relaxed and enjoy the other parts of the festival in-between the acts and you can’t go wrong.
Set up is everything and we really found our groove with this on our final day. Our final day set up consisted of two foldable chairs for us, the pram for Goldie, a picnic blanket for us all to lounge on throughout the day, for Goldie to play on with some of her favourite toys and books and a space for her to eat her meals on, as despite it being a family friendly festival there weren’t any high chairs, somewhat expectedly I suppose.
We used her pram parasol for sun protection and she wore SPF 50 and a hat for the majority of the day.
Pack a sleepsuit in your bag to change baby into as the temperature starts to drop and also, we found that her sleep sack was a great thing to pack (again only on the final day annoyingly) as she could be easily transferred from the pram to her cot once the music was over, nappies had been changed and we were back at the tent.
Speaking of our tent, we are lucky enough to own a VW Campervan named Janis. Isn’t she a beauty! A real dream come true for the both of us!
We always pay a little extra for an electric hook up which is handy for the built in fridge, for phone chargers, heaters etc. Just off our van, George installs a Glawning Teepee for us to sleep in. This really is such a large tent and we’ve had 4 double beds and the cot AND three dogs in it before so it’s such a great investment if you’re thinking of camping regularly.
Inside our tent is our v fancy blow up bed (we used to sleep on the floor until this trip and I cannot tell you the difference this has made to how much I enjoy camping) and Goldie sleeps in her Bugaboo travel cot. We have an electric heater that we turn on if things get a little chilly and tbh that's about it in there. Plenty of space for our luggage and for Goldie to roam around.
With regards to sleeping, Goldie has always been a pretty solid sleeper and camping wasn't much different. But here's a rough schedule of what we did and when.
Goldie would wake around 8am, we'd play, shower and eat breakfast. Three hours later, she would have a nap in her cot in the tent whilst we got ready for the day. Once she was up, we'd head into the arena for the day. She doesn't have an afternoon nap anymore so parties on through until about 830pm (later than her usual bedtime at home).
Goldie would then sleep in her pram from around 830-11pm, before transferring seamlessly to her cot for the 11pm-430am stint, when the tent would get a lil chilly. In this case, she got in bed with us for cuddles and we slept until 8am, dreamy!
So aside from that, I guess all I would say is over pack on layers for both yourself but mainly for the baby. We were so incredibly lucky with the weather whilst we were in Kent, however, we did experience all the seasons across the weekend, from seriously hot 30 degree sunshine, to gale force winds and torrential rain, so over preparing with everything from vests and sunhat’s to puddle suits and cardigans was so important.
Pack a small bag of toys for your baby to play with around the tent and pick just a couple (dolly, a car and two books for Goldie) to take with you into the arena.
Snacks-a-plenty were key and we had some emergency pouches with us too, but Goldie pretty much just ate what we ate, she was in her element.
But my biggest tip is to just roll with it. Be relaxed, go with the flow and enjoy it! These are the kind of memories you and your family will remember for the rest of your life and you don’t want to look back with any regrets. I appreciate that we were lucky with the weather, that Goldie is a very relaxed baby and that we had the luxury of the Camper, but I do hope this may have inspired some of you to get a festival booked for you and your family, it was honestly the most beautiful weekend ever.
Any questions, please just let me know.