We camped for six days at Woodford Folk Festival last year and I worked out a few things that might be helpful to anyone else thinking of hitting up one their fave festivals with kids in tow…

 

Our kids were two and three the first time we took them and, while I’d be lying if I said it was as much fun as going without kids, we had a pretty darn good time. I’d put my hand up to do it again. Every year. Forever.

The only reason I haven’t taken the kids up until then was the fact that they still sleep in the day and go to sleep pretty early at night. I had visions of myself sitting alone back at camp guarding sleeping kids and listening to everyone having a ball inside while drowning my sorrows in a glass of wine and listening to the John Buttler Trio smashing it inside and just outta my reach. A terribly sad state of affairs and thus far a very effective deterrent.

Then my mum mentioned seeing wagons being pulled around last time she went and that got us onto the crew who hire them out at the festival, Rock & Roller Wagons.

 

Enter the wagon, the little house on wheels that can be a bed, a seat, some much needed shade, a safe place to hang and a carter of all kinds of stuff. You know the kinda stuff I mean, the I’m not dragging this sorry bunch back to camp five times today in 35 degree heat because we forgot your bunny, or your hat or your bloody shoes kinda stuff.

If you’re not able to hire one then have a bit of a dig around good old Google, there were heaps of different types of carts around and I know Kmart had one recently that looked pretty good too.

So, armed with a solution to the sleep on the go issue we decided it was time and trundled on up for the Woodford Folk Festival.

Which brings me to the point, what did we learn when it comes to what to do and what not to do when festival going with the kids in tow?

Use any of these links to head straight to that particular section of this post.

And, if you need help deciding which festival you want to head to then check out family friendly festivals in Australia for some great ideas.

 

  1. Choosing the right camp site
  2. How to do daytime snoozes & nighttime sleeps
  3. What to pack
  4. Handy tips  for doing festivals with kids
  5. Tips for Woodford Folk Festival

 

Finding the right place to camp (if indeed you are camping)

If you are camping onsite, you have to toss up between trying to be as close to the front gate as possible to minimise the amount of time you spend trudging back and forth from camp to the actual festival, and trying to be far enough away that the noise doesn’t wake the kids up all night.

We went for more distance and more quiet, it was easy because we had the wagon anyway so the trek wasn’t as painful as them being on their own two feet. It meant that things were pretty quiet around camp and I didn’t spend the whole time stressing that they were going to wake up.

If it’s Woodford that you are heading to and you want any choice when it comes to sites then you will need to rock up on Christmas Day and come prepared to line up for a little while. In saying that, the queue is usually an event in itself so it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Otherwise, when it comes to working out the best place to camp close to the festival, there are a bunch of apps that’ll help you see what is closest to the venue. Check out handy apps for road tripping & camping for a list of them. Otherwise, most festivals list accomodation options on their websites.

 

Daytime snoozes & nighttime sleeps

Our two still sleep in the middle of the day so I always have to factor in a day sleep plan. This time it was in the wagon which actually went down a whole lot easier than I expected. They were generally so wrecked by sleep time that they went down without a problem.

Make sure you take their comforter if they have one, a little pillow, some ear muffs and a battery operated fan if the weather is hot, also a sarong to drape over them strategically depending on where the sun is. If you end up hiring a wagon from Rock & Roller Wagons you will be able to get ear muffs, pillows and a fan from them. They also have little blankets.

If you’re planning on doing day sleeps back at camp then the fan is still a must do, there’s nothing quite as crappy as trying to get a kid to sleep in a boiling hot tent/van. I’ve got an awesome 12v fan for the van which I LOVE (check it out here) but I’ve also used the battery operated ones in the tent with great success.

As with any kind of camping with kids, I find that keeping the nighttime routine the same as at home helps heaps. I take familiar bedding, their usual comforters and do everything in the same order and at the same time as I do at home, even if bed is a wagon strung with fairy lights and they have to wear ear muffs! It seems to do the trick…

What to pack

There are a few things that saved my butt this time round which I’ve added to my can’t live without when festival camping list…

  • Stingoes.
  • Hydrolyte tablets.
  • Tough strips bandaids (They don’t come off. Ever. It’s great.)
  • Betadine cream (to deal with all manner of cuts, scrapes and bites)
  • A thermometer in case you end up with a kid with a bit of a temp, also Panadol or Nurofen for the same reason.
  • Lightweight sarongs (to create shade)
  • Wet weather boots (gumboots or ski boots) There’s probably gonna be mud. Lots of it.
  • Thongs for the showers or quick overnight loo runs.
  • Battery operated fan
  • Spray bottle (for cooling everyone down)
  • A spare sun hat for the kids (it sucks when they go walkabout and you don’t have a spare)
  • Ear muffs (so sleeping can happen anywhere and you can go to the louder gigs when they are awake)
  • A wristband to write your phone number on (the pen kept sweating off our kids arms)
  • DryNites mats, check them out here (if they are outta nappies but still a bit hit and miss then these will be your friend)
  • Rain ponchos
  • Carabina clips (hang everything easily on the pram or wagon)
  • A baby carrier (while Woodford is fine, some festivals are a bit of a trip with a pram)
  • Lyclear cream for ticks (ask your pharmacist about this one, it’s worth having)
  • A fan to carry around (one of those little paper ones you wave in front of your face kinda things)
  • Walkie Talkies for older kids are a great way to stay in touch.
  • Umbrella for shade or rain.
  • A raincoat (cos a group of people in a crowd with an umbrella each is not gonna be popular ;-))
  • A potty for the smaller kids (save yourself the nighttime loo trek)
  • Mozzie spray/insect repellant
  • Toilet paper
  • Glow sticks (mark tent guy ropes, make the kids harder to lose and just to keep the little suckers occupied)
  • Zip lock bags. Large ones for clothes, dirty stuff, wet stuff, gross stuff. Check out how I use them for clothes storage here.

 

Handy tips

Take a bunch of snacks with you so that you don’t spent a fortune on food. Check out this list of healthy (ish) snacks for some ideas. I’ve also done up a list of quick and easy camping meal options that might be worth a look too.

If the weather gets really hot then you can wet one of the sarongs under the tap and drape it over the kids to cool them down, it works a treat.

Take a mini kids emergency pack. Things like wipes, bandaids, suncream, a change of clothes. That way you are armed to deal with anything that crops up without having to rush back to the car/tent/van.

Write your phone number on the kids in case they go missing. Just keep in mind that pen rubs off sweaty arms pretty easily.

Make sure that your pram, wagon or any other wheeled device for carting stuff is visible at night so no-one kills themselves tripping over it. Glow sticks or fairy lights will do the trick.

Choose a meet up point for the older kids so that if anyone gets separated you all know the plan and head to the same spot.

The el cheapo rain ponchos from dollar shops are awesome for a whole lot of stuff, from sitting on when the ground’s wet to wrapping your bag in when it buckets down. It’s good to have a few on hand.

If possible, try and leave gigs just before they finish, especially the super popular ones. That way you won’t get stuck in the crowd when the mass exodus happens.

Keep a spare roll of loo paper in your day bag in case the public toilets run out.

Use glow sticks to mark out guy ropes, prams and wagons to avoid people tripping over. They also go a long way towards making the kids harder to lose at night.

 

Tips for Woodford Folk Festival

Take heaps of drinking water because it gets pretty expensive when you have to buy it over the six days the festival runs. If your camping then do what we did and use your awning to catch any rain that happens, we managed to catch fifteen litres in an arvo really easily which was handy.

Explore the children’s festival and suss out the programme so you know what’s on and you can pick stuff that will suit the kids ages.

We ended up working out that it was best to leave camp in the morning with everything we needed for the day and just not go back until nighttime. It saved the mission back and forth and it was easier to find a nice comfy cool spot inside the festival in the middle of the day then it was back at camp.

Head to the Village Green in the heat of the day, it’s perfect for down time with the kids and is definitely the coolest spot. There is also a little creek running along the bottom of the Village Green that makes for an awesome shady spot for the kids to play.

If you hire a wagon, the crew from Rock & Roller Wagons are at their stall all day and offer free services if you have any probs with your wagon or run out of batteries for your fairy lights. It’s best to pre-book your wagons but if you didn’t then you will be able to track them down onsite and see what they have available.

If you do forget to bring enough snacks in for the day then head over to the cafe that is inside the children’s festival. It has a whole bunch of kid friendly food and it’s a lot cheaper to feed them there then it is inside the big festival.

 

 

Well, I hope that helps out a bit! Don’t forget to check out my list of family friendly festivals in Australia for some inspo when it comes to choosing where to go.

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