Unpopular Opinion: “I Think Parents Should Bring Children To Festivals”

"Just because you become a parent, doesn’t mean that your wild days of dancing around a field for a weekend are over"

 

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Recently an influencer I follow shared a post about her glorious weekend at a music festival. Her set-up was pretty ideal, she and her husband had rented an orange classic Volkswagon Camper, they hitched a sizable teepee just off it, the portable BBQ was lit, and her baby daughter was brightly beaming on a picnic blanket. Up until seeing that picture, I would have been of the belief that a music festival simply wasn’t the place for a child. We’ve all Seen Things at festivals that are probably not too appropriate for anyone under the age of 17. But seeing these happy snaps of a Mam and Dad sitting on fold-up chairs, sipping away on cans watching their little one play with a doll, it would convince anyone that actually, maybe music festivals are a place for children just as much as they are for adults.

These days, more and more festival organisers are catering to families. They’re doing this through specific children’s experiences and separate zones that give both children and parents space for themselves and others in the same situation. When you think about it, festivals are a space where your inner child gets to unleash itself. We’re given permission to let our hair down, play, explore and be in the moment, so it only makes sense that people with children should be able to experience that too, with the kids in tow. I’ve stumbled around some festivals in my time and come across some children trotting around while I’m at it. With their ear protectors tightly on and their tiny wellies on their feet, I’m yet to come across a child who doesn’t look like they’re enjoying themselves in that situation.

It’s important to introduce children to different types of culture. Sure, cartoons and chocolate Nesquik are a childhood staple, but so should being exposed to different genres of music and having a dance around the kitchen. Music is one of the few things on this planet that can bring us together and some of my most vivid childhood memories revolve around it. I remember singing with my Mam in the car to the Heartbeat soundtrack, and dancing in my cousin’s bedroom to S Club 7, the point I’m trying to make here, is that music cements our memories far more than anything else can.

Studies have found a strong link between music and memory, this is because music evokes strong emotions inside someone and in turn those strong emotions boost your memory. So, exposing children to experiences like music festivals will leave them with lasting memories as they grow up, and you can enjoy yourself in the process. Sharing her experience with bringing her three children to Kaleidoscope this year, Bethan says that there’s no adventure greater than a festival. “We love music and adventures. Listening to music is one of my favourite ways to spend time with the kids, and so heading to a festival was the perfect way to combine adventure and music.”

 

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Continuing on, Bethan said that her children had the time of their lives while there, “They loved the freedom of roaming around, taking part in different workshops, being at their first rave, and even having the opportunity to sing on stage.”

See, just because you become a parent, doesn’t mean that your wild days of dancing around a field for a weekend are over. Granted, muddy holes and mosh pits mixed with young children does not sound like a match made in heaven, but it’s all about adapting to make your music-filled weekend worthwhile and packing the right stuff too.

 

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Before going anywhere you’ll need to consider the type of festival you’re heading to, is it safe for children? Are there areas and facilities for families? Think about your child’s personality and their particular likes and dislikes. Are they okay in social settings? Would they panic in a crowd? Once that’s done, Bethan says she has nailed her perfect checklist when packing for such an occasion, sharing: “Bring snacks, toilet roll, practice putting up your tent first and most importantly allow your child to feel free in the music and dance like nobody is watching. Being at a festival is a time away from the norms of life and to really hang out and make memories.”

So that’s my opinion, it might ruffle a few feathers, but actually, I think kids do belong at festivals. Making memories with my kids while I have a ball? Sign me up. You can catch me rocking around EP in 10 years’ time with a baby strapped to my chest and a larger in my hand, because who says you shouldn’t do both?

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