With over a decade of experience carrying out various roles in the music festival industry, insider Eleanor Blaine gives advice on how to keep your kids safe and comfortable at a music festival.
The idea of taking your teenagers to a major music festival may seem terrifying, but if you leave the house prepared you’ll have a much better time. Don’t forget that you’re both there to have fun; kids and parents alike can enjoy the excitement of a music festival. Follow these tips to make sure that your kids stay safe and that you get to enjoy yourself as well.
- Water, water, water. Dehydration and heat stroke are very real issues at festivals. There are new laws that make most festivals responsible for providing water to concert-goers. Some offer free bottled or boxed water and some allow you to bring in your own sealed bottles, while others only provide drinking fountains. If drinking fountains are your only option, bring a few empty water bottles with you to fill up after you get in the gates.
- Don’t let the kids dress up. Your kids may want to wear the latest trend that cost you half of your paycheck, but talk them out of it. They will get dirty. They will get muddy. They will get wet. The clothes worn to a music festival rarely make it home in salvageable condition.
- Bring sweatshirts and use lockers. Have each child bring a sweatshirt. Every festival has lockers that you can rent instead of carrying them around. The price might be steep, but it’s better than having a wet, shivering child on your hands. Don’t trust the weather forecast!
- Feed the kids before the festival. Festival food is expensive, and feeding your kids and their friends can really break the bank. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to purchase a few snacks for them and yourself, but if you make sure everyone has a big meal before you go, you’ll save quite a bit of money.
- Realize that your cell phones may not work. When you have 50,000 people trying to upload blurry photos of their favorite band to their social channels, cell towers can get clogged and service will get interrupted. Have alternate forms of communication at the ready. Set up designated meeting points if you and your kids get separated and encourage them to wear bright colors that are not common so they’ll be easier to spot amidst the crowd.
- Don’t forget sunblock. Putting on sunblock before you leave the house is one thing, but you should also bring plenty with you. Buy some travel-sized tubes of sunblock and pass them out to the kids so that they can reapply whenever necessary — and so that you have a backup if one tube gets lost.
- Always buy passes that allow reentry. Tickets that allow reentry may cost a little more, but they’re worth it. Being able to go in and out of the festival as you please means you can leave to find an air conditioned restaurant or dry shelter if it starts to rain.
8. Have an escape plan. When music festivals come to a close there’s usually a human traffic jam at the gates because everyone tries to leave at the same time. If possible, try to leave before the headlining acts play so that you can beat the crowds. If you want to stay for the headliners, don’t rush the exit and be aware that you will probably be stuck on the festival grounds for up to two hours while trying to exit and secure transportation home.