Crowds, late nights, loud music, and day drinking are all hallmarks of a good music festival — but how about bringing your kids? Not so much.
Don’t forget though, music festivals are also filled with art, culture, nature, and of course, music! So why don’t we bring our families along? Well, it’s difficult, which I learned first hand this weekend. But, if you’re prepared and properly set your expectations, it can be well worth it!
First things first, start by managing your expectations and understanding that you’re going to have to comprise on a few things. Here are four things to consider when bringing your kids to a festival:
- Find kid-friendly accommodations: We stayed at the Riviera Palm Springs and it worked out really well for us. We had a nice-sized room that included a refrigerator (for milk) and a bathtub (for baths). It was also pet-friendly so we were able to bring the pup too. Another option would be renting out a house so you have the added benefit of a full kitchen. In general, be sure to stay somewhere that isn’t going to put you in the middle of the party so the kids can sleep at night without interruption.
- Pick one or two acts you’d love to see: There were one or two artists I really wanted to see at Coachella, but I still showed up knowing it might not work out based on my little one’s schedule. He might be hungry, need a nap or a diaper change, or just not be feeling the vibes in which case, we would have to take care of his needs. All of the headliners, for example, started around 11:30pm which way past his bedtime. On Friday night, my husband was kind enough to take Jimmy back to the hotel around 7pm while I stayed out much later and enjoyed some of the late-night shows. Either way though, we had a great time seeing the daytime artists so I would have been happy in any case.
- Overpack on travel supplies: Usually, I prefer to pack light, but in this case, you should be prepared! You can come up with your own list based on your little ones, but here are some of the items we brought along during the day:
- Stroller (something lightweight, with tons of storage, shade, and decent wheels, like the Summer 3D-Trek)
- Noise canceling headphones (my favorites are the Peltor Sport Small Hearing Protectors)
- Snacks (that hold up well in the heat)
- Water, water, water – keep the little ones (and yourself) hydrated!
- Blanket(s) for sitting down and enjoying the music or eating lunch picnic-style
- A change of clothes
- Sanitizer wipes
- Go VIP, if you can swing it: Of course, this is not realistic for everyone, but if there’s anytime you’re thinking about splurging, this is a good time to do it. VIP passes offer tons of shade, smaller crowds, shorter lines, and higher quality food — all things that are a big benefit for kids. For me, the big sell was being able to keep my little guy in the shade as much as possible and it was well worth it.
A ton of prep went into this trip, but it was such a great experience to watch my little boy run around the massive festival grounds and take everything in. He climbed the art installations, clapped for the artists, danced around, and handed out hive fives like candy. He loved the experience and I cannot wait to one day share the photos with him as an adult.
There are a lot of negative opinions about bringing children to a music festival, but as long as you prepare (and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks), it can be an amazing family experience!