Advice and essential items for a kids festival #3

Very often, when we have children, we park the things we used to do in favour of more ‘child friendly’ pursuits. That said, there are certain things that we can still do with the kids in tow! Festivals are a brilliant way of spending quality time with our littles, whilst enjoying live music and a carnival atmosphere.

These days there are a wealth of family friendly festivals the length and breadth of the country — you can cut your teeth on a day pass or pack up and go for a long weekend. So with a bit of careful planning — and the right gear — there’s no reason why we (or the littlest members of our families) should miss out.

I’m delighted to be taking my tiny boys to Camp Bestival in just a few day’s time and — even though we’ve taken the twins to a festival once before — I just wanted to make doubly sure I’m prepared for every eventuality.

To make sure I don’t forget anything, I’ve interviewed four seasoned  festival goers who like nothing more than taking their children along to a festival.

Firstly we had Tamandra — you can see her essential items for a kids festival here.

Then  we spoke to Melanie — see her festival checklist here.

The third part of this little series is with Mandy. She and her partner Darren have two little girls, Lily and Rosie. Lily was the first of my friend’s children that I went to a festival with — she was 2 or 3 at the time (she’s 9 now) and I was fascinated by how Mandy and Darren coped with having a little one in tow — particularly as they always camp in a tent!  They didn’t seem phased at all and it was a lovely to watch Lily having such a lovely time with her mum and dad.

essential items for a kids festival

Mandy and Lily having fun at the Big Chill

They’ve since had a second daughter, Rosie, and the whole family still enjoy festivals together. I asked Mandy:

What do you like best about festivals with kids?    


Great music. Dancing in a field. Fancy dress. Facepainting. Art & crafts. Photobooths. Shenanigans with friends — old and new.

Generally soaking up the festival spirit with my kids and making some memories. 

essential items for a kids festival

A chip off the old block — like mother like daughter :)

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

Keep it light – you never know how far you’ll have to walk from the car park!

A blow up mattress and pillows plus a picnic blanket — and a bag to put your muddy clothes in — are essentials in my book.

What are your 5 essential festival items?

1. Fancy dress hats (my knitted rainbow dreadlocks is a particular favourite).
2. Wet wipes.
3. Comfy trainers.
4. Highlighter pens to mark up the running order.
5. An airbed — but don’t forget to bring a decent battery operated pump too.



1. Fancy dress hats — Village Hats
2. Wet Ones — Superdrug
3. Vans Black & Green Hawaiian Print Classic Slip On  — Schuh
4. Highlighter pens — The Works
5. Aerobed — Argos

Are there any festival essentials you’d take that aren’t on Mandy’s list? Have a look at Tamandra’s checklist and Melanie’s essential items for a kids festival too.

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



Caro Davies
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.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Ellie Mulligan
    28th July 2015 / 6:04 am

    I actually never thought to take a child to a festival but it looks like a great experience for them!xx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:44 am

      Aah it’s SO worth doing Ellie!! Mine loved it last year — can’t wait to see their faces this weekend!!! :)

  2. Mackenzie Glanville
    28th July 2015 / 6:09 am

    oh yes you wouldn’t want to forget the pump! Hats and dress ups sound super fun #twinklyTuesday

  3. Mackenzie Glanville
    28th July 2015 / 6:10 am

    Oh yes you wouldn’t want to forget the pump, hats and dresses sound fun #Twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:45 am

      SO much fun!!!! WOOP! Can’t wait to see my little munchkins in that festival field! SO excited for them :)

  4. 28th July 2015 / 6:58 am

    Hope you have a fabulous time. We saw lots of signs for it when we were down there last week. Take loads of pics so I can see it all!! xxx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:47 am

      Thanks so much Beth!! Am keeping my fingers crossed for some sunshine!! :)

  5. 28th July 2015 / 7:12 am

    Cool list. When I was younger I’d sleep on the floor at festivals but now that airbed would be top of my list!

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:47 am

      You’re hardcore!! Even in my younger years, I wanted a blow up bed!!! Sleeping on the floor is so cold!!! Brrrrr!! xx

  6. 28th July 2015 / 7:17 am

    I used some of these ideas for our festival in the garden! Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:52 am

      So lovely — I loved that post Claire! :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting xx

  7. 28th July 2015 / 7:21 am

    We considered a festival this year with the kids but ended up going without them and leaving them for special fun with nanny and grandad. This makes me want to take them next year. Thanks for a lovely post. #twinklytuesdays

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:52 am

      We always do one grown up festival — usually Glastonbury — without the kids and then one with them! Although this year we’re taking them to Camp Bestival in a couple of days and Shambala at the end of the month! :)

  8. 28th July 2015 / 8:01 am

    I have never been to a festival, with or without children, I would love to go to camp bestival next year. #twinkytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:51 am

      It’s SO much fun Caroline! Your kids would absolutely love you for it!! :)

  9. Kate
    28th July 2015 / 8:23 am

    This is a useful post. I have not taken my girls to a festival but we have been camping a few times and I think the list is quite similar (hopefully excluding the ear defenders!!). After reading this post I might look into going as a family- it sounds like they cater well for children which I was not aware of. #Twinkly Tuesday.

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:50 am

      It’s such fun Kate — if you’ve already taken your kids camping you’d love it, I bet! Like camping but with added entertainment! :)

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:57 am

      Haha! Inflatable mattress is a MUST!! I’m too old for sleeping on the ground!! :)

  10. 28th July 2015 / 8:52 am

    So lovely that there now more family friendly festivals. I’m not a festival kinda girl but it’s an experience I’d love to expose my little one to, when he’s old enough to take it all in more. It just sounds like so much fun activities is available for children to have a superb time.

    Takeaway tip from your post: travel light because you don’t know how far you have to walk to and from the car park. :-) #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:49 am

      It really is! I think they’ve cottoned on to the fact that all the festival go-ers have now had kids!!! ;)

  11. 28th July 2015 / 9:09 am

    We went to our first festival this year and loved every minute.
    We only went for the day but have booked to camp next year.
    These tips will come in really handy #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:42 am

      Aah Emma — it;s SUVH a fun thing to do!! Your kids will thank you for it too — they’ll have a great time! :) x

  12. Betty and the Bumps
    28th July 2015 / 9:18 am

    I agree that there can be a tendency to think “Oh, that’ll never work with a toddler in tow”. I’ve always tried to do my normal thing with Gwenn and sometimes it’s worked, sometimes it hasn’t!! x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:41 am

      Well — we’ve got twin toddlers and took them last year for the first time. It was certainly harder that when we go on our own — a different kind of experience altogether — but it was awesome to see them enjoying themselves so much!! :) xx

  13. 28th July 2015 / 9:23 am

    I’m not a festivation goer myself but this looks like a great list! #triedtested

  14. Morna
    28th July 2015 / 9:31 am

    Great pics – festivals are so much more fun when the sun shines! I love the fancy dress hats. #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:40 am

      I 100% agree. Festivals in the rain is an inevitability in this country — I love them regardless — but it does make life difficult! x

  15. 28th July 2015 / 9:51 am

    Festivals with children?! Blimey you are brave. Don’t think my heart could take it. Happy #TwinklyTuesday x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:39 am

      It’s SUCH fun — honestly!! I can’t recommend it enough :) Thanks for stopping by x

  16. 28th July 2015 / 10:11 am

    I love those fancy dress hats! There are some incredible tips here. I can’t wait to take my daughter to a festival. I’m bookmarking this page. Pre-baby I had no idea there were so many family friendly festivals. I am so excited for next summer now. x #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:38 am

      It’s such a lot of fun :) Seeing their little faces is well worth any aggravation in deciding what to pack etc!! ;)

  17. zoe dunn
    28th July 2015 / 10:11 am

    I’d love to attempt a festival with the kids but I’m yet to have the courage to attempt it. I’m pocketing your post though for future reference for when I eventually have the courage to give it a go!

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:38 am

      Aah do it Zoe — it’s SUCH a lot of fun :) Your kids will thank you for it — I promise!

  18. 28th July 2015 / 10:35 am

    I’ve never taken my kids to a festival and ive never been to one either! Would love to one day though x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:37 am

      AAH you need to go Beth!! Honestly — it’s a lovely thing to do as a family!! :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting xx

  19. 28th July 2015 / 10:36 am

    Love that fancy dress hats are on the essential list haha that’s so cute and I can see that the kids would love it too!!
    I’m all about an air bed instead of sleeping on the floor!!
    Not long till you go I’m excited for you :)

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:36 am

      Haha! So funny isn’t it?! Fancy dress is on my list too — but not 100% essential!! A comfy bed IS though!!! DEFINITELY! :)

  20. 28th July 2015 / 11:20 am

    It only dawned on me last night that Camp Bestival is different to the IOW Bestival, doh! I’ve not taken my kids to a festival although it is something I would love to do. Great essentials, I love the fancy dress hats! x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:35 am

      Yes – organised by the same team but different events. Camp Bestival is in Dorset (Bestival is less family friendly and is on the Isle of Wight!!). Have been to Bestival and I’d probably take the boys when they’re older — but certainly not whilst they’re so little. Camp Bestival is perfect though :) xx

  21. 28th July 2015 / 11:31 am

    Good luck at Camp Bestival! We hope you have a fab time, we’ve just got back from Jimmys Farm Festival and it was a bit hairy with bad weather! Hope the sun shines for you. We also have ear defenders to help little ears and swear by them! #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:33 am

      Thanks lovely — yes — I read about the Jimmy’s Farm thing!!! Apparently they’d put campers in a ploughed field?! Thats ludicrous! You can’t alter the weather but you can definitely make conditions more comfortable can’t you?! So silly of them!!! Hope you had a nice time regardless!

  22. Rob
    28th July 2015 / 12:03 pm

    My wife had taken our girls to a couple of concerts and we’ve taken the kids camping once but so far no festivals. I loved the pink ear protection. We did the same with our little one last year at a concert. Really nice post and lots of useful tips. #TwinklyTuesday (I promise I put the badge on the post I linked. :))

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:30 am

      Thanks so much Rob!! :) We’ve got ear defenders for our boys too — green and blue!! :) I think kids love the whole festival environment — so safe and happy :) No worries about the badge hun :) xx

  23. 28th July 2015 / 12:05 pm

    It looks like you an absolute blast! Love the pictures and all the smiles.

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:29 am

      It certainly looks like they did have fun! Nice to see how other festival goers tackle taking little ones to festivals :) I can’t wait to take my boys :)

  24. 28th July 2015 / 12:17 pm

    A really interesting post. I am sure lots of people get put off attending festivals with toddlers or young children. Great to see what a positive experience it can be for all involved. Loving some of the things on people’s lists such as the Maurice Sendak book and a fancy dress hat. Hope you and your family have an amazing time at Camp Bestival! Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:27 am

      Thanks so much Sara :) Funny isn’t it, howe the lists differ!! I love seeing what other festival go-ers see as being ‘essential’ ;) xx

  25. 28th July 2015 / 12:39 pm

    I have never been in a camp festival before. I thought it could be tricky to be there with your kids. I’m not a big fan of camping but I’ve read about glamping that could be more my cup of tea. It sounds that it is is a great fun anyway. Great tips for people like me that doesn’t have a clue what you need for a festival like this. Thanks for hosting, xx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:24 am

      It’s certainly different from festivalling without kids — but with a bit of preparation — taking the littles is SUCH fun!! And I’m totally with you — I’m not a fan of tents either — glamping is my favourite option!! ;)

  26. 28th July 2015 / 12:55 pm

    I am so incredibly jealous. Going to a festival with your kids looks like it would just be so much fun. I really wanted to go to one of the children’s festivals on this year, but wanted to go glamping to circumnavigate the need for a tent and all the gear, but of course it all adds up. Maybe next year. #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:22 am

      Aah it’s so much fun. We LOVE our festivals but we cheat!! We’ve got a little caravan called Dolly that we take with us!! Like a little hotel on wheels ;)

  27. 28th July 2015 / 1:12 pm

    This sure looks like a lot of fun! The more I here about camp bestival, the more I want to go myself with my family! Exciting!

    Angela from

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:06 am

      SO exciting Angela :) I’m so looking forward to seeing the reaction on the boys’ faces!! They probably think that last years festival was all a dream :)

  28. LittleOandMe
    28th July 2015 / 1:30 pm

    Great post. I am getting so excited for Camp Bestival now, although it does look like it will be a bit chilly!

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:06 am

      It’s going to be SO exciting!!!!!!! WOOP!! Just take lots and lots of layers — something waterproof to go over the top. And more socks than you need! There’s nothing worse than having damp socks — and no dry ones to change into!!! :) xx

  29. Emma's Mamma
    28th July 2015 / 1:49 pm

    Love these posts! Great advice! Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesday x

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:04 am

      Thanks so much lovely — thanks for stopping by and linking up xx

  30. 28th July 2015 / 1:51 pm

    I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to take the boy to a festival, I’d be worried he’d be really bored – are there specific family ones now? Friends of mine always go to Latitude with their brood, but they have a handy holiday cottage right next door…!

  31. 28th July 2015 / 1:51 pm

    We’re hoping to do our first festival with kids next year so totally book marking this post! #twinklytuesdays

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:02 am

      Aaah I’m SO excited for you Ali. Taking the littlies to their first festival is magical! :)

  32. 28th July 2015 / 2:10 pm

    More wonderful festival tips & advice. I think it’s wonderful to bring the kids places that everyone can enjoy – especially places that you love yourself! I’m looking forward to when my kids are a little older (my 2 year old specifically) to go do more things like this. Thanks so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:56 am

      My two are two and Camp Bestival will be their second festival experience, this weekend! :) I think — even at such a young age — they LOVE it!! SO much fun for the tiny people. Seeing their faces when they see all the colour is magical! :)

  33. Carolyn
    28th July 2015 / 2:20 pm

    I’ve never been on a festival before but I’d love to one day. Have fun at Bestival! :) #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:02 am

      Do it Carolyn!! I bet you’d have an absolute ball!! :)

  34. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods)
    28th July 2015 / 3:50 pm

    I’m not brave enough to take my kids to a festival or anything to do with camping for that matter but if I ever do you can be sure I will browsing blogs and googling for essential lists and this is a great place to start :-)

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:01 am

      Aah Janine!! You’d love it, I’m sure! Maybe go to a day festival to see if you liked it first though :) xx

  35. 28th July 2015 / 4:44 pm

    I’ve never taken the twins – as I feel as though I would be panicking the whole time and not enjoying it, but I didn’t realise how many child-friendly ones there were! Great tips and I might just try it! Have a fab time at Camp Bestival darling! I cannot wait to hear about it :) Jess xx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:00 am

      We should all go one year lovely — I bet you’d LOVE it!!! Nothing to panic about :) Have you still got your van?? ;) xx

  36. 28th July 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Loving these festival posts! I have to admit to taking an air bed before and forgetting the pump or the batteries for the pump ;) #twinklytuesday xx

  37. 28th July 2015 / 5:01 pm

    Am loving these festival posts! I have to admit to taking an air bed but forgetting the pump or the batteries for it before ;) #twinklytuesday xx

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:00 am

      Aahh you’re not the only one Rachel!!! There are always LOADS of shouts of ‘Has anyone got a pump we can borrow!!!’ echoing round the festival campsite!!! x

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:59 am

      I’m more of a wellie/Berkenstock girl myself!!! I don’t even own a comfy pair of trainers!!!! ;)

  38. Jen @ 4,128 miles
    28th July 2015 / 7:26 pm

    Have fun! Sounds like you’ve got it all under control! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  39. 28th July 2015 / 8:43 pm

    I’m just going to flake out and go my top tip is: Hotel Room.
    All the comfort that you need – go to the festival in the day and then have a nice comfy bed and your own loo at night. Though I am probably missing the point here. I agree with the wet wipes – those babies are great for everything! #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:58 am

      Haha!! There’s a LOT of people I know that would subscribe to your top tip!!!! ;) Thanks for stopping by x

  40. 28th July 2015 / 9:42 pm

    I would love to take mine to a festival! Next year maybe! Thanks for hosting #TwinklyTuesdays x

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:16 am

      Do it Kate — I’m sure you wouldn’t regret it :) Great memories are made there — that’s for sure :) x

  41. 28th July 2015 / 9:49 pm

    I’m so jealous! I’d love to take my little one to a festival – the atmosphere is just like nothing else. My festival memories are sadly very distant and I don’t think there are any festivals like this here in Mexico. Have fun! #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:15 am

      Aah bless you Ruth!!! Maybe you should set you’re own up???!!! Camp Bestival Mexican style?! You could call it Camp Mexival!!! ;) xx

  42. 28th July 2015 / 11:19 pm

    Loving the pink ear defenders! #TwinklyTuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 10:54 am

      Me too! Wish they did adult ones!! Too much time in front of speakers has made me deaf as a post!! x

  43. 29th July 2015 / 1:31 am

    Might come round to the festival idea if fancy dress hats are an essential! I’m now picturing the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! #twinklytuesday

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:14 am

      Fancy dress is IMPERATIVE!!! ;) Mad hatter’s tea party sounds brill :) We usually host a cocktail party when we’re at a festival — Moscow Mule at the van anyone? ‘) x

    • 29th July 2015 / 9:13 am

      Thanks so much Debbie — amazing how all the girls have come up with totally different suggestions! :)

  44. 29th July 2015 / 10:46 am

    That’s so lovely of you to say sweetie — thanks so much :) It’s something I love so much — am really passionate about it — it’s lovely to be able to introduce my little ones to it :)

  45. 29th July 2015 / 4:15 pm

    Another fab festival post Caro you are slowly but surely selling it to me, have a wonderful time xxxx

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Thanks so much lovely!! I’ll get you there one day!!!! ;)

  46. 29th July 2015 / 7:39 pm

    Oh my have an absolute ball tomorrow, I am guessing you are packing as I write this. I am soon jealous :) look forward to reading all about it xx #TwinklyTuesday

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:19 pm

      Aaah thanks so much lovely!!! I am SO excited!!!!! The van is outside, ready to be packed! :) WOOP!

  47. 29th July 2015 / 8:34 pm

    haha i love your list so much more fun than mine would be! hope you all have a lovely time #twinklytuesdays

    • 30th July 2015 / 12:21 pm

      Aaah this is Mandy’s list!! Do you know? I still haven’t done one for me!!! Mine would have things like earplugs (for sleeping at night) and glitter!! ;) xx

  48. 30th July 2015 / 8:46 pm

    Fab post! I wouldn’t have a clue what to take for a toddler to a festival and would probably need a whole camper van to fit it all in hehe! I hope you have a wonderful time and can’t wait to hear all about it! Thanks for being such an amazing co-host of #TwinklyTuesday xxx

    • 30th July 2015 / 9:57 pm

      HA! That’s why we cheat and take Dolly!! ;) I’m rubbish at packing for myself — let alone the twins!! :) xx

  49. 31st July 2015 / 11:44 pm

    This is great information. I am such a home body sometimes that I forget that it’s ok to get out with kids in tow sometimes. I am always more apt to do it when daddy is in tow too ;o) Thanks so much for hosting #TwinklyTuesday

    • 3rd August 2015 / 8:44 pm

      Me TOO!!!!! Daddy ALWAYS had to be in tow — especially at the moment, as the boys are still too little to walk very far!! ;) I need help pulling the wagon!! x

  50. 1st August 2015 / 1:57 am

    How wonderful to have such a great friend to have modeled festival-going with children in tow! Thanks, as always, for your lovely cohostingness. So grateful I found you, Lisa, and #TwinklyTuesday.

    • 3rd August 2015 / 8:43 pm

      Amazing eh?! I’m a lucky girl indeed!! ;) And likewise — we’re lucky to have you on board!! x

  51. Kerry
    3rd August 2015 / 8:22 am

    Where would we be without wet wipes? Looks like you all had an amazing time! xxx

    • 3rd August 2015 / 7:13 pm

      Exactly. WHERE would we be??!! Ahhh just had SUCH an awesome weekend!! :) xx

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