Discuss: And Baby Makes Three – Festivals and Kids

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Tickets? Check. Beer? Check. Goodies? Check.

Wipes and Diapers? Check.
At the Pool
HB, ready for a weekend on the Mountain

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.

Sammi, Face Painted
My niece, Sammi, and her freshly painted face, at Langerado ’07

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.

Matthew, Stone Cold Chillin'
My nephew, Matthew, at Langerado ’07

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!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this post.
    My 4 kids came with me to each and every Iguana Head Hippie Fest from first to the last one.
    They had a ball, and people were cool to them… they played with the other kids who also were there.
    Every morning we’d get up early, get trashbags and do a camp clean up. Not just our camp, but all the trash littered thru the campgrounds. Not only did people wake up to a clean place, it gave the kids a sense of purpose, of doing something important.

    While yours is too small right now for this, here is something to consider when Harry gets older.
    We did the Mr Rogers tie dye t-shirts.
    Do this only if you have an abundance of water at your camp, and someplace safe to dump the used water and dye. We used organic dyes, but you can make your own or use rit.
    We got old t shirts from the thrift store, mixed some dye in pans or buckets, dowel rods and paint brushes (cheap sponge ones do nicely).
    Oh, and rubber bands. Gathered other kids to join in. Make sure the kids wear paint smocks (yes those old grown up shirts work nicely) and gloves.
    Put each child’s name on the tag or upper back of the shirt.
    The kids stab the t shirt in the middle of the back, so when the rod faces up, the shirt drapes over.
    Then they put on the rubber bands over the shirt and rod.
    We stick the rods in the dirt so they stand up, and each kid gets to paint on the dye as they see fit.
    this is a blast for the kids, and they do a great job.
    Once each kid is finished, we rinse with the rubber bands still on till the water runs clear. Then we give them a good vinegar water soak for about 15-20 minutes. Once again, rinse to clear.

    Hang in trees or line to dry completely.
    Each kid now has a shirt from the fest, and will wear it with pride. Some use permanent markers and write the name of the fest on the shirt.
    When laundering, always wash in cold water and hang dry, or the colors will fade and bleed.

    Have fun!

    Now all my kids are in their 20s and know the ropes when they go to their own festivals.
    Me? I’m happy to go on my own again!

  • Kittybrat

    Thanks for this post.
    My 4 kids came with me to each and every Iguana Head Hippie Fest from first to the last one.
    They had a ball, and people were cool to them… they played with the other kids who also were there.
    Every morning we’d get up early, get trashbags and do a camp clean up. Not just our camp, but all the trash littered thru the campgrounds. Not only did people wake up to a clean place, it gave the kids a sense of purpose, of doing something important.

    While yours is too small right now for this, here is something to consider when Harry gets older.
    We did the Mr Rogers tie dye t-shirts.
    Do this only if you have an abundance of water at your camp, and someplace safe to dump the used water and dye. We used organic dyes, but you can make your own or use rit.
    We got old t shirts from the thrift store, mixed some dye in pans or buckets, dowel rods and paint brushes (cheap sponge ones do nicely).
    Oh, and rubber bands. Gathered other kids to join in. Make sure the kids wear paint smocks (yes those old grown up shirts work nicely) and gloves.
    Put each child’s name on the tag or upper back of the shirt.
    The kids stab the t shirt in the middle of the back, so when the rod faces up, the shirt drapes over.
    Then they put on the rubber bands over the shirt and rod.
    We stick the rods in the dirt so they stand up, and each kid gets to paint on the dye as they see fit.
    this is a blast for the kids, and they do a great job.
    Once each kid is finished, we rinse with the rubber bands still on till the water runs clear. Then we give them a good vinegar water soak for about 15-20 minutes. Once again, rinse to clear.

    Hang in trees or line to dry completely.
    Each kid now has a shirt from the fest, and will wear it with pride. Some use permanent markers and write the name of the fest on the shirt.
    When laundering, always wash in cold water and hang dry, or the colors will fade and bleed.

    Have fun!

    Now all my kids are in their 20s and know the ropes when they go to their own festivals.
    Me? I’m happy to go on my own again!

  • http://www.ashowaweek.com hadley

    The best festival I’ve seen for kids is High Sierra. The venue is gorgeous and it’s super clean. Happy babies all over the damn place.

  • http://www.ashowaweek.com hadley

    The best festival I’ve seen for kids is High Sierra. The venue is gorgeous and it’s super clean. Happy babies all over the damn place.

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  • http://www.maxgxldealer.com maxgxldealer

    Mornin`

    that’s awesome, pal. that’s awesome, love to read this post

  • http://www.maxgxldealer.com maxgxldealer

    Mornin`

    that’s awesome, pal. that’s awesome, love to read this post