Tickets? Check. Beer? Check. Goodies? Check.
The festival season is fast approaching. However, this year is going to be a very different experience for me and my crew. This year, I’m bringing along a six-month old, my son Harry. Crazy, you say? I don’t think so. Does it change the whole festival-going experience as we’ve known it so far. For sure.
Since 2001, my wife and I have hit at least a festival a year: the Vibes, the late and great Berkfest, Langerado, and for the past four years, Mountain Jam. We’ve got the whole thing down to a science. We know what to bring and we know how to get it all in one cart to schlep up the mountain. This year is a whole new deal, though.
It was one thing to spend a weekend on the Mountain just two adults. However, this year there are things we’ll need to bring to the Mountain because we’ve got our son with us. There’s the tent, to give him a place to crash during the day, hearing protectors, toys, changes of clothing, and the aforementioned diapers and wipes, and there are many things I am sure I haven’t even thought of yet. None of this stuff was with us last year.
I’ve been surprised at the number of times people have wanted to know why I would expose my son to “that environment.” Inevitably these are people that have never been to a festival. Sure there’s a certain amount of sketchy people, but I live in New York City. I see at least three sketchy people on the way to the office each day.
It’s not like this is the first time I’ve gone to a festival with kids, although they were much older than my son. In ’07, my niece and nephew (then six and eight) came along for the afternoons at Mountain Jam. They had an awesome time, were fascinated by the freaky people, and were treated quite nicely by them in return. They did wonder why the place smelled “funny,” but didn’t think anything of it. They’re kids. They do look like they’re having a pretty good time, don’t they?
Sure, there’s the risk that HB could be having a bad day, if that’s the case we’ll have to adjust our plan. That’s what you do when you’re a parent. But, for all of the challenges that bringing a baby to the festival will add, they pale in comparison to the joy I’m going to have sharing the experience with HB. When I think of dancing with my son on the side of a mountain, with 10,000 other fans getting down to Michael Franti with us, I’m overcome with emotion.
Should be a great weekend on the Mountain. Have you traveled with kids to a festival? Have any tips to pass along? Please share them in the comments!