how to festival with kids

Betsy off to the campsite
Betsy and her pal, Henry – festival pros!

Let’s be frank, festivals are not the same with kids. That’s not to say they are bad. Oh no. Seen through the eyes of your children, these events involving the music, fashion and literary glitterati can be both magical and memorable.

Last weekend my family headed to Port Eliot Festival in a beautiful Cornish estate in St Germans. We dug out (i.e. bought brand new) sleeping bags, torch, cutlery, tent. We even packed a blow-up bed – something I most definitely didn’t do in my festival-going twenties.

Depending on where you live, setting off early is my first tip. We left London at 5am (pretty gross), the two girls (in pjs) fell back asleep, there was no traffic and we arrived at the campsite at 9.30, when most were still sleeping off the night before. What was initially painful, was a complete result.

There is no limit to what you can bring (that I’m aware of), so investing in camping trolleys is another suggestion, making it easy to transfer your kit from car to campsite. Everyone got involved putting the tent up – another joyous revelation. We brought clothes to cover sun, rain and late night chills, but nothing we minded getting dirty. Onesies are a must (not necessarily for the adults).

Festivals are now geared up for kids and will, in most cases, have loads of activities scheduled, just make sure you check what you need to book in advance. Above all, embrace everything.

Kids' festival tent

The Parlour - Port Eliot

We had our faces painted and glittered by the In Your Dreams girls, hair braided at the Bumble and Bumble braid bar and wore flower crowns made by Flower Den Zen. The girls danced to live music flitting from stage to stage like little fairies under a darkening sky. We let them stay up late, eventually skipping back to the campsite to toast marshmallows with the hum of tunes in the distance.

Port Eliot flowers in our hair
Boho happy days with my girls

We didn’t sleep much; we came home a tad feral, but it was family bonding at its best. Plus, the girls are desperate to do it all over again (once I’ve got through all the washing!!!)

3 steps to a kid-friendly festival

1. Bring snacks. Food can be pricey.

2. Break the routine. Let the kids stay up. If you want to get up close to the action, kids’ ear defenders are ideal.

3. Go with friends. It’s extra entertainment/support around the campsite.


Ashling McCloy


No Comments Yet

Comments are closed