How To Take Your Children To a Music Festival and Enjoy It
Going to a music festival and taking a family weekend excursion usually are not the same, but they can be–and it can be fun. Taking your children to a music festival can also be one of the worst parenting decisions you will make. Whether your jaunt to the festival becomes the story your children tell their children about their favorite childhood memories or becomes the weekend of which you never speak depends on your expectations.
Festivals with your family can be fun, but they are not the same as a festival on your own or with your buddies. Expect that the experience will be more low-key, more sober, and more talkative, and you might actually enjoy yourself. After several successful festivals with our family, we have put together a checklist to help you determine whether you should take your children to a music festival.
Answer each question honestly, then compare the Pro and Con lists. If the Pros outweight the Cons, it might be a good idea. If the Cons win out, get a sitter or stay home. Don’t make other people suffer through your bad choice.
1. I like to plan ahead and pack bags and vehicles.
2. I like to wander around away from the stage during my favorite band.
3. I am an expert at using porta-potties with small children.
4. I take “wipies” everywhere and can readily find 500 uses for them.
5. I always have what I need in my vehicle, from sunscreen to Tylenol.
6. I wear earplugs at festivals and bought rubber kid-sized ones at the drugstore for my kids, who also wear them at festivals. Sometimes, they insist on wearing their over-the-ear headphone-style earmuffs instead.
7. My kids are old enough to be on their own, but I’m not letting them out of my line of vision at this festival. The event organizers are not babysitters.
8. I’m staying at a nearby hotel/in an RV/on the far side of the campsite so my kids get enough sleep for Day 2 of the festival.
1. It stresses me out when my kids are really dirty/muddy/bug-bitten/sweaty.
2. My kids are really picky eaters.
3. My kids wander off in stores.
4. Festivals are my time to unwind and let loose.
5. My kids get in trouble at recess or at the playground.
6. My kids go to bed at 8, but my favorite band takes the stage at 10. I’m not missing the headliners!
7. It’s fine with me if my kids are out of my line of vision. They won’t do anything wrong.
8. I want to enjoy the late-night campfire hangouts that you only get at festivals.
What do y’all think? What makes for a successful music festival event with children? Is that even possible?
Sloane Spencer is the host and producer of Country Fried Rock, the weekly syndicated radio show featuring conversations with roots musicians about the music that inspires them. CountryFriedRock.org