Summer is rolling in fast, which means festival season is gearing up. You’ve already heard of music festivals like Coachella and the fateful Fyre Festival. If this is all you know about music festivals or if you enjoyed your fair share when you were younger, you’re probably thinking that these festivals are no place for kids. And you’d be right about some of them, but not all. Pick the right one and taking your kids to a family-friendly music festival can be an amazing summer experience.
Before we go any further, there’s an important distinction between the term “family-friendly” and what you find appropriate for your kids. There will be drunk people at music festivals. And porta potties. And drunk people who can’t figure out how to use porta potties correctly. There will probably be lots of cursing and bands and performers doing their thing, which you might not be cool with your kids being around.
However, maybe you’re like me. You long ago chucked out all of the kid music so your kids could listen to Blink 182, Lizzo, and Sum 41 right along with you because you could not take another moment of “Baby Beluga.” (Sorry Raffi.) If so, slather those kiddos in sunscreen, buy some noise-cancelling headphones, and head on out.
My family recently took a road trip to the Back to the Beach Festival in California, which was specifically marketed as family friendly. The organizers obviously realized that all the people who were fans of these bands back in the late 90s and early 2000s are now old(ish) with kids. There was a kids-only area with lots of shade which made it easy to chill and unwind in between acts. There were also games, mermaids, a pirate singing along to Reel Big Fish as they played on the other side of the beach. A kid punk band even performed at one point.
What should I be prepared for?
Better save your money, parents. Most festivals have a pretty strict “no outside food” policy. If you thought buying festival food for yourself when you were 20 wasn’t cheap, just wait till you’re feeding your whole family. And good luck finding anything that costs less than $12.
You should also be ready to take breaks when your kids need it. You’ll probably need the breaks, too. Don’t push it! Even if you’re not right there watching a band perform on stage, you’ll probably be able to still hear them from anywhere on the festival grounds.
Don’t forget about water, either. A lot of festivals now set up stations for refilling water. Most will even let you bring in empty water bottles. Stay hydrated, stay happy my friends.
Fanny packs to the rescue!
Did you know that fanny packs are back in style? Excuse me, I mean waist bags. Backpacks can be difficult to access in crowded areas and require you to keep taking it on and off. Waist bags keep everything easily accessible. You can even strap a couple around your kids’ waists and have them carry sunscreen and the 39 cool rocks they just found. That’s right, make them work for those $12 nachos they’ll only take 3 bites of.
If you want to pack up and head out to a family-friendly music festival you’re in luck! They’re totally more common than you think. Plus the experience of sharing some of your favorite music with your kids can be unforgettable. Because where else are your kids going to learn about riding an inflatable shark across a crowd?