Advice and essential items for a kids festival #1

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post to say that we’ve been made official bloggers for Camp Bestival 2015 (excited much?)!

Well, following that post, I received lots of lovely comments from folk, some that were regular festival goers, others who’d never been to a festival before and a lot who said they’d love to take their kids but felt a bit daunted at the prospect and wouldn’t have a clue what to take.

So I thought I’d gather together some of our festival loving friends — who regularly take their kids along to enjoy the fun — and ask them to compile their top tips and essential items for a kids festival.

Given the fact my boys are only two — and this will be their second festival (you can find out about their first experience here) — it was more for my benefit but I thought it would be lovely to share my findings ;)

First off is Tamandra — she and her husband Jim have two children, Flo and Freddie and they always camp for the full duration of a festival in a tent. Over to you Tamandra :)

essential items for a kids festival
Tamandra and her crew at Camp Bestival

What age did you first take your kids to a festival.    

Flo was just 13 months when we took her to Cornbury. Freddie was a similar age when we went to Camp Bestival for the first time — Flo was 4. We have been every year since.

This will be our 5th year.

What do you like best about festivals with kids?    

I love having the excuse to dance like a loon (my actual style of dancing in any case) when you dance with young children.

I think they help me get into the festival spirit far faster — as an adult its a bit like stepping into a giant dressing up box! I enjoy the sheer amount of un-distracted time I get to spend with them as well.

Life slows down and its easier to all chug along at the same pace. We make full use of the chance to do free crafts and just hang out together. Last year my daughter was really keen to make her way right to the front of the stage and we danced away together to different bands (she is a resolute Swifty so it was lovely to see her pogo-ing away to The Levellers!!)

Camp Bestival - Set 1 091
Tamandra, Flo Jim and Fred with Tamandra’s step-daughter Emilia and friend Lindsey at Camp Bestival

What’s your ultimate festival checklist when camping in a tent with children? 

Snacks (preferably non crumbly snacks for a quick fix as often food and drink stalls are away from the camping areas) and cartons of drinks.You can buy milk but remembering to do so — and trying to keep it cold — pretty much negates the point of taking cereal.

Aldi do vac-packed croissants and pain au chocolat which tend to go down really well with ours!

Normal pyjamas; onesies are great normally but camping at festivals makes toilet trips in onesies a real issue. Trying to keep them off the floor whilst wiping… say no more….

Take your own loo roll or wipes (it ALWAYS runs out, as does the antibac gel).

Take something really distinctive to attach to your tent so your children can find it after a trip to the loo (and you can at 1am when returning after late night dancing!) If you have access to a cheap fishing rod they are lightweight and tall — from which to fly a flag attached to your tent.

Glow sticks or solar lights are good to attach to pegs around the tent to prevent trips in the night.

Depending on the age of your children, consider taking a bucket (or something) for a midnight wee. Crocs or flip flops any sort of quick slip on shoe for urgent mid night toilet trips… children especially tend to forget that the loo is no longer just down the hall but a couple of minutes walk from the tent.  Reading this back I seem obsessed by toilets!!!!!!

Loads of carrier bags — good for rubbish but also for wet stuff,  if the weather isn’t kind.

A sense of humour. You will be closer to other tents than you would ever normally be and, the likelihood is, you will hear snoring and you will hear children — so if it is yours, try to take a deep breath and don’t stress about it. The only thing bad about hearing a child crying is hearing harassed parents shouting to try and get them to be quiet! 

What are your 5 essential festival items?

  1. Hats; not so much for the sun but to cover unwashed hair!!!
  2. I stock up on glow sticks, temporary tattoos and glow in the dark face paints etc. This gives children (and adults) something to mess around with whilst waiting for the later acts to come on. Outrageous false eyelashes come into this category as well! A trip to Poundland or Claire’s Accessories will be money well spent :)
  3. A lanyard with details of all the acts on. It may seem obvious but these often sell out very quickly on day 1 so make it a priority to get one. It enables quicker decisions when you find yourself wondering what to do at any given time.
  4. Cheap poncho style waterproof. They tend to be the ones that pack up very small but are enormous and shapeless when opened up. They are great for whipping out if you need quick cover for all your bags etc when away from your tent. 
  5. A small picnic blanket. Not your best one, as festivals tend to be crowded, there is a high chance that people will end up walking on it at some point!

1. Picnic Blanket  — H&M
2.Tattoos, false eyelashes and neon face-paints — Claire’s Accessories
3. Glow sticks — Outdoor Camping Direct
4. Waterproof Poncho — Outdoor Camping Direct
5. Hat — Accessorize

What are your essentials when festivalling with kids? Is there anything you’d add to Tamandra’s list — I’d love to hear from you!

Camp Bestival 2015 is on from Thursday 30th July until Sunday 2nd August — at Lulworth Castle, Dorset — Buy your tickets  here


Please share, if you like this!

About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

91 thoughts on “Advice and essential items for a kids festival #1

  1. What absolutely fantastic advice! I, too, love being able to dance like a complete idiot when I go to outdoor concerts with the kids. Our local symphony does an outdoor summer series, and things that would never be countenanced in a concert hall are completely normal on a grassy hill!

    Thanks for being an ever-wonderful #TwinklyTuesday cohost, my dear!

  2. Oh I would love to have the guts to give this a go! I dread festivals and have never had the urge to go myself but there’s something I like about the idea of going with my kids. This post has definitely helped me to look at it differently and who knows, maybe one day I might just do it! #TwinklyTuesday

  3. Ahhh yay! Well done you. That’s brilliant. Great tips here from Tamandra. I’d love to take my son to a festival, but when he’s older I think. Maybe next year!! Well actually we did a one day festival, not sure that counts…I would say that it was great but a completely different experience to one without him. I didn’t see things I wanted to necessarily but I saw lots of things I wouldn’t have seen without him. So my advice would be to keep your expectations level with your company…doesn’t mean you need to lower them but alter them. Does that make sense!? Thanks for hosting #twinklytuesday

    1. Aaah do it Lucy!! You’ll have so much fun :) My boys are two and Camp Bestival will be their second festival experience :) One day festivals are great for seeing if you like it but the full 3/4 days is so different. It’s a totally different experience to going as a couple, but fab all the same! :) xx

  4. Fabulous post, lovely. I’ve never thought of taking Little Miss H to a festival before but these tips make it seem very manageable. And fun!!! I am so thrilled that you are a Camp Bestival blogger. You are perfect for this job. Hugs Mrs H xxxx P.S. Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

  5. Great post, will heed this advice if I can ever convince the other half that its a good idea with kids!! So happy for you re Camp Bestival I hope you have a fantastic time :) #TwinklyTuesday

  6. These are great tips! We’ve never been to a festival before but I’m getting more excited to go to one having a read a variety of festival related posts recently. It sounds like a fab family experience! I hope you have a really great time! :) #TwinklyTuesday

  7. We have a fishing rod and flag for our caravan. It does help us pick out our pitch when we are staying on a rally with lots of other vans. The plastic bags are a good tip too. Enjoy Camp Bestival! #twinklytuesday

  8. I agree in bringing snacks and raincoat! I also bring those ear protectors (just headphones for us actually) to protect my son from too loud music stage sound and at night on some festivals even if the camping area if far from the stage you can still hear the music. So headphones helps my son to sleep and not hear the outside noise.


  9. I read this last night Caro but was too tired to comment coherently :) Great tips there from your friend. I totally agree about the onesies not being great for loo breaks. We made tht mistake on our last camping trip. Lots of snacks is a great tip too. We brought dried apricots – swet, no mess, healthy and tasty – as well as pre-packed sweet yeast rolls from the supermarket and a homemade lemon cake that keeps really well and is not too crumbly. As for drinks, we stuck to apple juice for the kids and cans of prosecco for the mums. I honestly never thought I would stoop to buying prosecco in a can but it tasted fine and was so handy it was unbelieveable. The coolbox kept it at a reasonable temperature.
    A friend of ours managed to get his hands on dry ice and brought a coolbox full on our last trip. It is dangerous stuff though so I wouldn’t recommend it around children. It made the beer freeze solid!
    Looking forward to the next set of tips.
    Fionnuala from

    1. Thanks darling! I think I’d be more daunted if we didn’t have the van! Having Dolly means that we can literally take everything including the kitchen sink!! I know I’d find it a lot harder if we were in a tent xx

    1. HA! Yes Debbie — I’m going to be taking that tip and running with it :) We’ve got a full week’s worth of hats in our caravan!! I’ll definitely be wearing them to hide my hair!! :)

  10. Very handy list here. The extra wipes & bags make so much sense – as does the midnight wee bucket. A little planning makes things run so much smoother with little ones. #TwinklyTuesday x

  11. Fab post! We are off to Camp Bestival this year too, I’m so excited last year was amazing!!I have a post going up this week about my camp Bestival packing list (purely so I don’t lose it :)
    Becky xx

    1. I think these tips are fab for just general camping as well as festivals!! I love the lights/glow-sticks round the tent pegs idea!! As we don’t camp in a tent — we have Dolly the caravan — our camping experience is slightly different! :)

    1. I can see why you *could* get put off by Glasto in the mud. It was pretty awful last year — I was SO glad I was in Dolly the van. I wouldn’t have liked to be in a tent that year, that’s for sure!! Glasto is a totally different kettle of fish to ALL of the other festivals though — it’s so MASSIVE. All the other festies seem much small and more manageable in comparison!!

  12. I would so love to be the kind of person who did festivals. But I just can’t get over the toilet thing. I’m such a wuss! Last year we embraced camping with no-frills facilities, but I just don’t think I could cope with it on that scale. I suspect I’m missing out though! #TwinklyTuesday

  13. Very brave. I definitely wouldn’t brave a festival with my baby! Nor myself, probably! I only just survived a long trip to the states with hotels to stay in! Let’s say camping is not my thing, I’m too attached to my bathroom! x #twinklytuesday

    1. Aaah!! The ‘toilet’ thing seems to be a common fear of many people!! I can totally see why — but festivals are SO much fun, I just close my eyes and hold my nose and get on with it!! LOL!! :)

  14. What a great post, I know lots of people who take their families to festivals so I’ll be sure to share this post with them. I’m not a festival-goer myself but my eldest daughter is, she survived her first Download this year and is already busy planning next year’s! #twinklyTuesday

    1. Thanks lovely!! There are some great tips from Tamandra! It was interesting to compare the 4 lists from our friends — all so, so different! Apart from wet wipes made an appearance on each list! :)

  15. We love glow sticks and my daughter loves balloons. We haven’t been to a festival since New Zealand over 5 years ago! It would be nice to do this again sometime!

    Angela from

  16. Great ideas and sounds like a lot of fun. We took our kids camping last month and it went fairly well but I’m not sure I’m ready to take them to a festival. Maybe next year. #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Aaah just go for a day festival Rob!! I bet you’d all LOVE it!! Festivals are pretty much camping with benefits!! Lots of lovely live music, food and entertainment in the middle of the campsite!! ;)

  17. Great post and advice! I love reading your festival posts – one day I’ll definitely brave the mud and port-a-loos and go! Thanks for hosting #twinklytuesday x

    1. Aaah thanks so much — that’s so lovely to hear! I’ve another 3 of these to post — all different from various friends — hopefully we’ll all be able to persuade to you come along one year :)

  18. Love this post! We’re off this weekend to our second festival this month! The essential kit looks cool. Enjoy Camp Bestival I’m sure you will have a blast! xx #TwinklyTuesday

  19. Great advice. I like all the stuff to dress up with! Can’t wait to take Sam, just got to convince hubby! #twinklytuesday xx

  20. I’ll bookmark this in case I can persuade my husband to try it out haha!
    Great tips x

  21. I’m not a festival person, but it’s really interesting to read why other people enjoy them & how on earth you cope with taking kids to one! #twinklytuesday

  22. Such a genuinely useful post!! I completely agree about feeling less inhibited when I’ve got my kids with me – although I’ve totally lost (if I ever had) my moves and now dance like a proper mum but the more silly I am the more they laugh so it’s all good. I’m definitely Italy feeling inspired to head to a festival next summer, thanks! Ps great linkup #twinklytuesday

  23. I am hugely boring and I know this comment will make me seem so sad, but the thing that puts me off festivals is the toilet situation!! I’m not a clean freak. I’m not a toilet seat hoverer usually!! But I just can’t get over the thought of sharing the facilities with that many people. I’m sure that one thing is causing me to miss out on an amazing experience. Maybe if I did a luxury camper van thing I would be able to do a festival but have access to my own toilet?!? x


    1. Honestly? It’s not boring at all — and you don’t seem sad — but I’d urge you to go to buy day passes one year and see how you fare with it. It’s such a fab environment for little ones (and big ones too) and the loo situation sounds worse than it is. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not pleasant — and I won’t pretend otherwise — but it’s something that you just deal with whilst you’re there, and to be honest you don’t look — you just hover — take a pee (use your own loo roll — as there rarely is any) and get out!! Then use your own little pot of anti-bac! :)

      My sister — who HATES mud, mess or roughing it — has come to Glastonbury with us for the last 2 years. She LOVES it — and those long-drop loos are as grim as you’re going to get!! :)

      At most festivals there is the opportunity to pay a little extra for posh-loos (very often they’re eco loos) and they’re less busy and ‘generally’ kept a little cleaner than the portaloos.

      We have a loo in our van, but to be honest, although it’s great for nighttime and early mornings, you wouldn’t want to trek all the way back to the vans in the middle of the day, just to go to the loo.

      I’d definitely say get a day pass and come along one year — at least you’ll know for sure — you may even surprise yourself! :)

  24. What a thorough checklist – that’s awesome – and I wish I was going! I’ve actually never camped in my life but I bet I’ll be persuaded eventually :) Mim x #twinklytuesday

  25. Love glow sticks at a festival. Actually I love glow stick all the time haha. Loads of bags are must too. The rubbish you collect can be ridiculous. Thanks for sharing and hosting :)

  26. Sounds like you’ll have an awesome time! Never mind the kids, I would need a distinctive flag on the tent to find it – and not just in the middle of the night!

    I might also adopt the hat-covering-unwashed-hair trick in daily life too… :)

    Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday x

  27. Great checklist! I so want to go to a festival and with it being festival season I am seeing so many photos and I think we will definitely be going to one next year. I will take note of all these points #twinklytuesday xx

    1. There are some on there that I wouldn’t have even thought of — as we camp in a van — and not a tent — we just throw everything in!! There’s definitely more of an art to camping in a tent! x

  28. Oh I love this Caro. What a brilliant idea for a post. I’d love to do a festival (as I’ve never, EVER done one) but I’d be scared to take Little Miss Vista… I’m feeling good about it now!
    Brilliant post #TwinklyTuesday xx

  29. Sounds like lots of fun, apart from night time loo trips haha, I hated that going just for me at festivals so I kind of cringe a little at the idea of doing that with kids! I’m sure that this is outweighed by how much fun you have during the day though :)

  30. Love this post. We just got home from a 2 week family vacation camping the northern coast of California. We were in a camper instead of a tent but there are still essentials with 4 kids in tow. Thanks so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday :0)

    1. Thanks Trista — my boy grew up in California — he’d be super jealous of your camping trip!!! :) One of the days — perhaps when the twins are a little bigger — we’ll do a little fly drive and come and camp over there too :)

  31. What a great post- I also now love Tamandra and kind of want to be her friend- there is no shame in a good toilet obsession!! Love the glow stick, fishing rod, flow in the dark face paint ideas……I’m taking this all in! #twinklytuesday

  32. I loved your essential items especially the hat to cover the unwashed hair! #Twinkly Tuesday

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