3. Pack all essentials
One of the best ways to minimize stress is to be super-organised to cover all eventualities, so it’s time for check-lists! If you’re camping, your tick-list should also include all the obvious essentials like sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses or yoga mats for more comfortable night-times, torches (and extra batteries), first-aid kit (including insect repellent, bite cream, and plasters for blisters inflicted by brand-new wellies), wet wipes, toilet roll, bin bags, snacks and drinks… It’s up to you how many home comforts you want to bring – but don’t forget to check the proximity from the car park to your pitch, which is likely to be over bumpy terrain. To make transportation easier, check whether you can hire a wheelbarrow on site or, even better, hire a wheelbarrow and a straping youth to lug it all for you. You’ll be able to buy most things on site (at a price, so don’t forget your toothbrush or literally pay – twice – the price). Most festivals also boast an impressive showcase of great takeaway foods, from bacon butties and a cuppa (or a more wholesome smoothie) in the morning and tea and homemade WI cakes in the afternoon, to all manner of world foods from pizzas and fish and chips to more exotic curries, sushi and all sorts, so you can happily dine out from dawn till dusk if you want a break from cooking.
The weather can also have a big impact on your enjoyment of festivals, so be sure to cover every climactic variation in your wardrobe, from torrential downpours (wellies that don’t leak, umbrellas, foldaway macs and waterproofs) to bursts of blazing sunshine (wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, sunshades, plenty of sunscreen). Also, pack clothes that can be worn in layers: cardigans, jumpers, leggings, even woolly tights to wear under jeans, for the possibility of chilly evenings. Endless downpours can definitely put a dampener on the festival spirit, but at least if you’re dry and warm, it’s more bearable. Finally, an essential piece of kit for babies and toddlers is a pair of Peltor Kids ear defenders to protect delicate ears from thumping baselines – and look like little rock ‘n’ rollers!
4. Dress the part
Fancy dress is a big part of the fun for children – and quite a few grown-ups. Expect to see wacky families dressed as the Three Little Pigs or Elvis and his entourage – anything goes. There are often craft activity stations where children can make flower garlands and masks, and of course, face painting and fake tattoos are de rigueur. Festival often have dressing-up areas where children can borrow or hire outfits, and there’s often the opportunity to buy outfits too (Smiffy’s are one of the official sponsors atCampBestival) but again they may be more costly than buying before you go. It’s also a good idea to stock up on festival memorabilia: bubbles, glowsticks, battery-operated flashing wands and, if you have a boy of a certain persuasion, weaponry (yes, even if the festivals are all about peace, you’ll find a lot of valiant young boys packing a pistol or sword for impromptu play battles in the fields). For real festival aficionados, the flamboyant festival wagon is a must – a gloriously customized Radio Flyer or pull-along truck to transport slumbering babies and flagging toddlers, nestled alongside boxes of wine. You’ll see some brilliant ones bedecked with kitsch gingham or fur-lined interiors, festooned with flags, ribbons and fairy lights – just perfect to give children a psychedelic experience too. You can also hire on some sites, but best to book in advance.