Kids and Music Festivals are a GOOD Mix
If you’re an older parent, nightmares of dragging your child through some substance-laden Woodstock environment seems like a terrible idea. And yes, there are some events not kid-friendly at all. But with some ingenuity and planning, the older or mature child and teenage crowd can definitely benefit from some incredible live music and early introduction into these types of environments. Even smaller tots can handle some festivals if executed correctly and done at your own pace. If nothing else, their observations will teach them what to do and what not to do on their own in the future.
Check out the investment of VIP
Festivals are not what they used to be. Recently at the new Firefly Festival gathering in Dover, Delaware, there was a massive VIP section full of fenced-in areas for kids to play. This is a great intro event for kids, as the music covers rock, indie and classic genres and has fun elements like silent discos, hammock snooze spots and arcade games to try. Plenty of toys and games were available, to these exclusive guests, plus cool-off tents and many other perks. If you love music and are dead-set on experiencing them with your kids, consider the extra ticket price and put your mind to ease that the kids will not be lost underfoot . The look on the face of a thirteen-year-old boy as Red Hot Chili Peppers took to the stage was priceless. He’ll be the coolest kid in school when September rolls around.
Don’t forget ANY supplies
You might have your teen hydrated, bug sprayed and fed, but if you forget sunblock, the show is over. Have a checklist you look at every morning as your fill a backpack so nothing is forgotten. Besides what’s listed above, also consider earplugs/headphones, granola bars, spray water bottles, extra shoes and items to get autographed!
Know their limits
Kids—and parents—get cranky. It’s often hot, crowded and can have too much going on at once. If you are bringing a small child to a music festival, realize they might only be able to stand one or two shows a day. Realize this sacrifice ahead of time and have low expectations—when your little one is happy to stand that third round of rock, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Pick and choose wisely
Again, this goes hand-in-hand with limits. If you must see Tom Petty that night, arrive to the festival area later in the day as not to tire out your tots. Also, a Black Keys concert might be great for older children, but a rave dance party with Calvin Harris may not. Do your research ahead of time and decide for yourself what will work best for the whole family.
Give a little freedom
If you have responsible older children or teens, let them wander for a half-hour on their own. You choose what this might mean—following them out of earshot perhaps! But they will have opinions just like you, so make sure they’re enjoying themselves. Most major music festivals have pre-designated meeting spots—before even entering, talk these over seriously with your whole group just in case so there’s a plan in place.
Have a tag team tactic
Taking your child alone to any festival is not the best plan—for bathroom breaks, for getting lost and for taking naps even, an extra adult is key. Bring your spouse, adult friend or fellow parent to create a safer environment for little ones. You can split up responsibilities this way offer kids choices to either return to the camp/hotel or party on during the day.
Have you taken your child to a music festival? Did you go with just your family or with other friends that could help? Would you do it again?