18 July 2023
A festival can be an excellent opportunity for your child to enjoy live music, activities, and spending time with friends. While the rules of the individual event may provide guidance about minimum ages, it’s important to consider whether your child is ready for the experience. Here are 5 points to consider before taking your child to their first festival.
Festivals can be very crowded, with people shoulder-to-shoulder in some areas. If your child is not comfortable being in large crowds, it might be best to wait until they are older before taking them to a festival. If your child feels overwhelmed, it can ruin their experience. Instead, consider a smaller event where they can still enjoy the music and activities with fewer people.
Most UK festivals take place during summer when temperatures can reach 30 degrees or higher. Make sure you are prepared for these possibilities by bringing suncream, a hat and plenty of water. If your child is prone to heat exhaustion or sunburn, consider an indoor festival or one later in the year. With our unpredictable weather, it may also rain before or during the event, and many festival sites become very muddy, which can be miserable if you’re not properly prepared.
Loud music is a staple of any good festival, but it can be difficult for some children (and adults!) with sensitive ears. If your child has a condition like ADHD or autism, loud noises and flashing lights could be overwhelming and trigger sensory overload and potentially a meltdown. You can mitigate this by getting them some ear defenders or ear plugs and checking whether the event organisers have set up any quiet areas where you could take them if they need a break. Many festivals and events do have chillout areas these days for this purpose.
If your child is young or has difficulty following directions, getting separated from them in a crowded place like a festival could be a nightmare for both of you. Make sure they understand what to do if they get lost, and consider giving them a phone or tracking wristband so you can find them quickly if need be. Many festivals hand out wristbands you can write your phone number on in case your child gets lost and they all have some kind of information points and stewards who will help reunite lost kids. Be sure to discuss a plan with your child beforehand, and ensure they know who to ask for help.
Festival days can be long, starting in the early morning and going well into the night. If your child isn't used to staying up late, they might not make it through the day without getting cranky. Consider letting them sleep in on the day of the festival and taking a nap in the afternoon before heading out for the evening's entertainment. Bear in mind that camping at a festival can be noisy and many people party late into the night, so you may want to avoid this with young children and stay in a dedicated family area or off site.
Taking your child to their first festival can be great fun - but only if everyone is prepared for the experience. By considering factors like age, crowd tolerance, and stamina, you can ensure that your child is ready for a fun-filled day at their first festival.