Bax & Bay guest blog
23rd July 2016
Festival season is well underway and back in the days, pre Bax & Bay, when I had a ‘proper’ job I used to get a pair of tickets to every festival in the UK and hand them out to my team; always keeping tickets to a couple of my favourites – number one always being Bestival. If I still lived down South, I would be sure to cart the kids along to the family friendly ones such as Camp Bestival or Latitude. Instead, what has become one of our Summer regulars is the Belladrum Festival in the Highlands. It’s set on a beautiful country estate and is a lovely 3 day festival with loads happening for the kids. The line-up is never going to be jaw dropping but the festival experience is amazing.
As I am sure lots of you parents know, it’s not easy taking kids to festivals. We have taken ours every year since they were born and it has definitely been hectic. However, we do have a brilliant time and the kids love it! Our boys are now 3 and 6; bringing a whole new list of challenges. I’ve tried several different approaches – some good and some disastrous. For two years I left my drunken husband and headed home as the sun started to set (which is pretty late up north).We then tried going with a camper van. With what originally seemed like a fab idea quickly turned in to being a total disaster with our littlest becoming totally obsessed with beeping the horn all night long (big family camping fail). After encountering a string of obstacles, I want to share some of my top tips when attending festivals as a family.
- TAKE A GOOD BAG! If you are still breast or bottle feeding (or even if you’re not) our Bax & Bay cub bag are brilliant for festivals (even if I do say so myself). You can carry everything you need and wear them across your body keeping your hands free. The portable feeding pillow means you can sit down anywhere at any time and start feeding; making it as stress free as possible.
They fit across any buggy/pram or in our case a double bike trailer that converts to a push along. BUT what is best is that the Cub Bags work surprisingly well as a pillow for camping. I found this out the year we forgot the pillows so it ticked even more boxes for me. Dad’s also don’t mind wearing them as you can get styles which are unisex, giving them no excuse to help out with the load!
- ALWAYS buy a tent with a dark interior. We learnt the hard way when my bargain hunting husband came home with an 8 man tent. I mean how many kids was he expecting me to spawn? Not only did he have total meltdowns setting it up but it had a white interior which is NOT good in Scotland when the sun barely sets mid-summer. Saying that, a massive tent is brilliant when the weather is bad as the kids can run riot inside.
- BUY THE BIGGEST INFLATABLE BEDS YOU POSSIBLY CAN! In fact buy two! Why? Well, if you ever think single inflatable beds are a good idea for the kids then fully expect to end up with (in our case) a family of four, all sleeping on the double inflatable you have specifically bought for the ‘grown-ups.’ This usually means one ‘grown up’ – hopefully drunk by that point sleeping on the floor.
- On the subject of inflatable beds. It is a FACT that kids are programmed to see inflatable beds as a form of bouncy castle or trampoline. Too much monkey business bouncing on them results in punctures so take it from me and take a puncture repair kit. It is also near on impossible to inflate a bed whilst a child is jumping on it so one of the best things you can buy is a battery operated pump. It will be your life saviour.
- If like me you live by Gina Ford’s ‘Contented Little Baby’ and always have the kids in bed by seven then this will not work. (NB. I am not going to pretend that this pretty much went to pot with the second child) DON’T make the mistake that the kids need to go to bed early – OR even remotely near the time they usually do. Throw all routine out the window for the festival duration and let them stay up until their eyelids are closing and they are totally ready to sleep. Trying to get totally hyper kids to go to sleep is a nightmare! They’re bounce off the inside of a tent, you’re having a meltdown with the noise of a festival outside and planning a divorce due to the stress.
- ID TAGS. Parents worst nightmare is ‘what is we lose the kids?’ We’ve tried name wrist bands and the name bands that festivals hand out. This year, I have to admit that I will be writing our telephone numbers on the kids arms with marker pen – permanent.
- SAFETY IN NUMBERS. Go with a group of friends with and without the kids in tow. For the first time last year we set up a ‘settlement’ within the camp site. We had eight tents in a circle with a gazebo / bar in the middle. It was brilliant as no drunks fell over the tent in the middle of the night and we weren’t alone or stuck back at the tent away from the action every night. We pretty much had a club in the centre of our tents and if anyone wanted to go off and see an act the others would look after the kids.
I would love to hear about your experiences with families at festivals. I hope that you’re able to take something away from my top tips to make your experience as stress free and enjoyable as possible.