Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking a baby camping at a music festival

A music festival may be the last place you envision your little one.  If loud music, heat, dust, bugs, dirt, strangers, camping and a baby make you want to run the other way, this post may not be for you. :-) 

However, if good music, friends, camping, laughter, camp food, your kids and summer love sound like fun, bringing a baby camping to a music festival might be a great fit!
Enjoying the music at the mainstage
Perhaps some people may think it's ludicrous to bring a child to an outdoor music festival, but judging from all the families I saw camping with small children, I'm guessing it's more popular than one can imagine.

Bringing a child (or perhaps several) camping at a music festival can be a wonderful time! My daughter was enthralled with all the music and loved interacting (or being a complete ham) with different faces that she's never seen before.

Here are some pointers I learned on our most recent excursion!

 
1. Plan ahead:

(I missed this step entirely, as 40 minutes before the group was leaving to camp at a Christian music festival and my daughter and I were contentedly situated at home, I decided to go.  Oops.  Then I ran around my house throwing things into reusable grocery bags, hoping and praying that I grabbed everything necessary.) 
  • Check the weather
  • Pack for all situations (more on this in a bit)
  • Know who performs where and when to optimize shows that you want to see with your child's naptime or mealtimes
  • Is this event family friendly?  Do they have additional children's programs or play areas?
  • Plan where you will camp.  Is it close to the concert areas?  Do you want to be close to the concert areas?  Are the restrooms nearby?  Can you park close by?
  • Get familiar with a few key stores or restaurants in the city, in case your baby needs a change of scenery, or maybe you need a break!
2. Provide additional entertainment:

Your child may not find your favorite events all that wonderful.  We had a day and a half of rain, leaving us with a muddy disaster - something I didn't really want my daughter playing in because I didn't want to clean it up! 
  • Your child's favorite snacks are a wonderful distraction when you're both at your end
  • A portable DVD player for a rainy (or muddy or unbearably hot) day
  • A few favorite toys, for entertainment in the car as well as when your attention needs to be elsewhere (like preparing a meal)
Muddy mess while camping!

3. Plan on being alone and/or missing events:
  • With a child, you simply cannot be a part of every single thing that you want to be a part of.  Is it still worth it to you if you have to spend 2-3 hours of your day back at your campsite while your child naps?  Is it still worth it if you miss you favorite concert?
  • Bring something for YOU to do while your child naps or has downtime at the campsite

4. Bring a stroller AND a baby carrier:

I can't emphasize this point enough!  There were times when my daughter was too hot, I was too hot, and she just wanted to be in the stroller and getting fresh air.  There were times when she just wanted to be held.  There were times when I needed to nurse her, but I was going to be late for a concert if I sat down and fed her.  The carrier was perfect for killing two birds with one stone: nursing your baby, while walking to or from your destination.  She even ended up sleeping in her baby carrier during one of the concerts!  And don't forget, a stroller makes a great pack mule, far better than your husband! ;-)

5. Pack right, not light:
  • You simply can't have too many blankets.  We ended up have very cold weather one of the days, and every single blanket I had was used in some way, shape or form on that day
  • Bring cold weather clothes.  Again, unforseen cold weather left my daughter wearing the same clothes two days in a row
  • Bring warm weather clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • A hat for baby
  • Natural bug repellent
  • Sunblock, if you use it
  • Umbrella
  • A small fan if you have a power source
  • A pack and play or playpen for your child - for sleeping and for times when you don't want them getting near dangerous items like a camp stove
  • Earplugs (although my daughter ended up spending every moment trying to get those things out of her ears, and eventually even ate one)
  • I'm a cloth diapering Mama, but in this instance, bring the disposables!
  • Wipes  
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Make sure your cooler is filled with cold water, and that your diaper bag has it's fair share so you don't have to keep trekking back to the campsite to get more water.
  • Bring your camera - after all, you are making great memories
6. Make friends everywhere:

  • You need your neighbors to be your friends!  They'll love you and your loud child a lot more when 6 AM rolls around and your child is fully awake and being loud!
  • Become friends with people around you at the concerts.  They will not only lend a little more grace to you and your cutie, but they can help be a watchful eye (like notify you when your daughter eats her earplug).

Have you gone camping or brought your child to a music festival?  What tips to you have about surviving camping or a music festival with a small child? 

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    12 Comments:

    At July 19, 2011 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Megan said...

    You are one brave momma!! Chris and I went for two days but we stayed in his sisters house. I couldn't imagine camping in that rain!! If it was dry I suppose it wouldn't have been too bad, but I HATE camping in the rain and being all wet. If it makes you feel any better scarlett wore the same clothes two days in a row too because I only packed one warm outfit and we only brought one big blanket. Poor Chris he ended up being more cold than Scarlett and I who were all wrapped up. I didn't realize it would be that cold :( Anyways, I am glad that you guys and India had fun. I love sonshine!!

     
    At July 19, 2011 at 10:40 AM , Anonymous Jill said...

    Camping at a music festival is one of the first places I imagine bringing my little ones! But we're hippies for sure. :) We took both girls to see Jack Johnson when Sierra was 4 weeks old. Cassidy was three and it was her 5th experience camping out for music. Your list is perfect!

    For the Jack show, we rented an RV for the first time and camped at the venue (we usually camp nearby). That way I had a nice place to go if Sierra wasn't tolerating the show. I kept her in the Moby Wrap and she slept through the entire thing! She woke up to nurse during the encore. It was so special to nurse her while he was singing about his own daughter.

    We will attending the Dave Matthews Band Caravan at the Gorge over Labor Day weekend and I'm thinking the stroller might be a great addition. Mostly for our 4 year old in case she gets tired. So far, the Ergo has been our best concert friend. :)

     
    At July 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are crazy doing this...why would you bring a 1 year old out in weather like that. Not very smart on your part. What about your baby's health?

     
    At July 19, 2011 at 8:56 PM , Blogger Uniquely Normal Mom said...

    Anonymous,
    As far as the weather, were you there? Doubtful. Therefore you have no idea as to what the weather was like other than my brief description.

    Also, I don't know if you realize this, but people have survived for centuries without A/C. I have friends who live in climates of 90 degree plus Farenheit weather daily and you know what? The health of their children is fine.

    Why is an 83 degree day so concerning to you?

     
    At July 19, 2011 at 11:02 PM , Blogger Vanessa said...

    Sounds like a great time! I also think you have many great tips.

    Oh and anonymous, did you not see the pictures she has posted of her daughter at the music festival? She seemed pretty healthy to me! I've also seen her in person since then and she is happy and healthy!

     
    At July 20, 2011 at 7:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am not stupid, Uniquely Normal mom. However, in regards to climate and the health of children. I know more than my fair share of kids that are NOT healthy due to the excessive heat and overall climate where they live. With the way things are today; why would you even risk a child's health in excessive heat like this. You may be a "green mama", but sometimes we have to let the "green" go and think of our children first. And, on another note, you claim to be a christian, but your response to me was very un christian like.

     
    At July 20, 2011 at 11:02 PM , Blogger Uniquely Normal Mom said...

    Anonymous,

    I'm not the type to stir up controversy. If I was, I'd have a political or religious blog. This is just a simple post with tips and ideas for when people take kids camping. Obviously, we are going to have to agree to disagree if 77 degree weather (I actually looked it up and it was 77 degrees for a high on the day we spent the most time outside, not 83) is hazardous to a child's health.

    As far as thinking I was being 'green' by doing this, I know full well that I wasn't. Going camping at a music festival with a group of people, in a motorhome with A/C,heat, electricity and running water is hardly green. So I guess you could say that I did 'let the green' go and thought of my child's health.

    Lastly, I think I responded in a rather kind, but firm manner, to someone who anonymously questioned my intelligence, my parenting skills and insinuated that I'm not concerned about my child's health. Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I'm going to be quiet and let anyone say what they want without accountability for their allegations. As a Christian, I will clearly and firmly respond when such charges are brought against me.

    You didn't mince your words for me, and neither did I for you. I figured since you were forthright in your words, you could handle a straight response.

    Take care, Anon, I hope you understand where I'm coming from - that I had no desire to put my child in a hazardous situation...and I don't think I did.

     
    At July 21, 2011 at 1:27 AM , Anonymous Amber R said...

    77 degrees.. goodness. Where I am, it's been 103 daily- THAT would be hazardous. I was so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed a safe, happy family event!

     
    At August 9, 2011 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Amber R said...

    77 degrees.. goodness. Where I am, it's been 103 daily- THAT would be hazardous. I was so happy to hear that you and your family enjoyed a safe, happy family event!

     
    At August 9, 2011 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I am not stupid, Uniquely Normal mom. However, in regards to climate and the health of children. I know more than my fair share of kids that are NOT healthy due to the excessive heat and overall climate where they live. With the way things are today; why would you even risk a child's health in excessive heat like this. You may be a "green mama", but sometimes we have to let the "green" go and think of our children first. And, on another note, you claim to be a christian, but your response to me was very un christian like.

     
    At August 9, 2011 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You are crazy doing this...why would you bring a 1 year old out in weather like that. Not very smart on your part. What about your baby's health?

     
    At April 16, 2012 at 8:26 AM , Anonymous Kristina Humphrey Griffin said...

    Thanks so much for this post!! I am planning on going to CreationFest this year with my (will be) 13 month old, 7 year old, and 9 year old. I have no idea what I 'm doing but my husband and I have done the festival thing without the kids before and I take care of them every day so it shouldn't be TOO hard to combine that experience. ;)

     

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