MOTHER OF ALL LISTS X LADYLAND: How to Survive a Festival with Kids



Woooo hooo! We’re heading to Camp Bestival  at the end of the month and I’m very excited about it. Not only is it a festival that caters specifically for families (phew) yet still has loads of great adulty stuff too. We’re going with a load of my best instapals, including the gorgeous Emma from Ladyland.

Previously I’ve been to festivals in many parental states: heavily pregnant, with babies, with toddlers; this will be the first time I’ve had two mobile children who can potentially run in opposite directions – wish me luck!

Like most things with kiddies a bit of planning really can make all the difference. Mother of all Lists has teamed-up with Ladyland to bring you: ‘How to Survive a Festival with Kids’.  A guide to make festivals with nippers as fun and stress-free as possible.

It come in two parts.  Part one, from me, is a bunch of handy tips and ‘watch-outs’ (below). Part two – is Ladyland’s definitive list of what to pack, hop over here  to read it.

  • Arrive in good time. Trying to set up a camp with overtired children is a miserable experience.

  • Better still have an activity planned to keep them occupied while you try to figure out how to erect the tent. Making necklaces, toy swords, bubbles that sort of thing.

  • Hello middle-age. If you can get your hands on a roof box, then do it. There is no such thing as too much gear.

  • Go for the best blow-up bed you can afford. Plus the biggest tent you can afford. Both are investments. The more kids you have the more likely your are to resort to camping holidays.

  • Layers. You forget how cold it gets at night. Really cold. (Yet somehow men still manage to sleep in just their pants?!).

  • Gro-bags. You can get 18-36 month old, they are pretty big and better than a duvet.

  • Silicone ear-plugs. As important as mascara and clean knickers.

  • Swimwear.  I always forget it. But loads of festivals have hot-tubs or swimming lakes and you don’t want to miss out.  Ignore those waify twenty-somethings who don’t even realise how wonderful they look, get your tankini on and be proud that you grew a human.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 16.02.22

    Preggo’s can still party

  • A washbag you can hang-up. Nothing luxurious about the floor of a temporary shower unit.

  • Old-school toothbrush. Generally I prefer electric, until they run out of juice 24 hours in.

  • Dead phone = really liberating. Or if that is truly unthinkable; invest in one of those charging packs.

  • Be a British Cliche. Take teabags and UHT milk and proper mugs. That morning cuppa is a life line. Drinking from a plastic beaker doesn’t cut it.

  • Think before you drink. Before you pack loads of booze, ask yourself would I be able to stomach this luke warm? If the answer is yes you are on to a winner. For me voddy & cloudy apple juice is a strong choice.

  • Food? Thank goodness for Ella’s for littlies. Other essentials are:  dry snacks (obvs). Avocado (middle-class cliché). Posh pot-noodle (Itsu ones). Porridge in a pot (breakfast for everyone and no washing up).  Apples (a welcome break from beige carbs).

  • Brioche – why the hell doesn’t it go stale?! Can’t be good for you. Useful though. 

  • ** There are more extensive and imaginative food and drink tips over on Ladyland’s pack list.**

  • What’s worse than a teething child? A teething child that wakes a whole field of hungover people up at 4 AM. DO NOT FORGET THE CALPOL. 

  • Have a “spot”. One that  is as obvious and easy to find as possible.

  • Take a photo of the program & map, store it on your phone for when inevitably you lose it.

  • A hint of routine. Most things go out the window at a festival. A vaguely familiar timeframe can help everyone. We’ve found that heading back to the tent at 5 ish for tea, ‘washing up bowl bath’ and PJ’s worked well. It meant that by the time we put them in the buggy at bedtime they were ready to drop-off easily. 

  • Street urchin chic. There will come a point when the kids become laughably dirty. You may feel horrified. But chances are they will (literally) be as happy as pigs in shit.

    Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 18.39.03.png

    Grubby child = happy child

  • (Controversial but) Buggy not cart. Those festie carts look cool. But they are heavy and unfamiliar. And kids can climb out. They’re more likely to chill in their usual mode of transport.

  • Sleep comparison.  If  (or when) you find you are only getting 5 hours sleep a night a console yourself with the fact that’s still WAY more sleep than the majority of festival goers will be getting. 

  • Cut everyones nails short beforehand. Avoid the horror of dirt under the fingernails

  • Lighters. Remember the days when everyone had a clipper? Not any more. Your stove is redundant without.

  • Don’t try to do everything with other families you’ll just end up waiting around for people all day. And boy is that irritating. Do your own thing and have a meeting place later on. 

  • Book in “Adult time” – not like that!  A bit of time out from adulting:  a massage for Mum  and mosh pit for Dad. Or the other way round.

  • DO NOT WEAR DUNGAREES. Those Straps + porta-loos = hideous on so many levels.

  • Versatility rules. A black bag = duvet carrying device, laundry basket. or potential rain jacket. Large bucket = washing up bowl and child-washing bowl. Might not exactly be Bear Grylls thinking outside the box does give a pleasing sense of satisfaction. 

  • Avoid a lost child announcement. Take a Sharpie to scrawl your mobile number on their arm.

  • Embrace the mayhem. In the old days we went to festivals to let loose. Allow the kids to do the same. Spilling stuff, charging about, bouncing on beds. Being given the opportunity to go a bit feral is good for the soul.

  • Like any festival there will be times when you ask yourself ‘why the hell are we doing this?’. As soon as you are home, you will know why you did:

  • A break from real life.

  • A chance to feel a little bit like the old you.  

  • And when you look back at the summer it will 100% be THE thing you remember.

    That’s my best advice. Now over to Ladyland to tell exactly what to pack.


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  • Reply Holly Piper July 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks Clem. VERY handy. See you there! X

  • Reply Kate Peers July 12, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Brilliant list. We are going to Camp Bestival too. Our first family festival. My favourite top is the cloudy apple juice and voddy but I’m going to get onto Amazon and order up this stuff tomorrow, it’s really great.

  • Reply What to take to a festival with kids? | Mad About The Boys July 23, 2016 at 3:10 pm

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