Tips for taking a baby to Glastonbury Festival
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Tips for taking a baby to Glastonbury Festival
Taking a baby to Glastonbury Festival is something I highly recommend to everyone. The five nights we spent there as a family form some of my all time favourite memories. Obviously it is a very different experience to attending with no responsibilities, I have done both, and each brings a unique, unforgettable experience. This post is going to be about how to attend the Festival with a baby – attending Glastonbury festival with a Toddler is a whole other thing that I will save for a separate post!
Lots of people don’t realise that Glastonbury Festival is set up to cater to all age groups (we visit with three generations of our family!) There are two camping fields designated for the ‘festival families’, meaning you don’t have to sleep next to a tent full of drunk people. There is a ‘Kidz Field’ full of everything a baby / toddler / child could wish for. There will always be people saying things like “Taking a baby to a festival is so selfish”, “Festivals aren’t for babies”. What I’ve come to learn is people will judge your parenting whether you sit at home watching Cbeebies all day, or whether you take them to Glastonbury festival – so you do you, live your best life – and if you and your baby are healthy and happy – that is really all that matters.
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Getting Glastonbury Tickets
First things first, you need tickets. And this is undoubtedly the hardest part. Once you have your tickets, the rest is easy!
Before you can buy tickets you need to register, and you can do this here
Ensure that everyone you want to go is registered, you will need their details when/if you are blessed with the ability to purchase tickets. Children aged 12 and under don’t need tickets or registration.
Ticket sale day
The first opportunity to buy tickets is usually in October. Note the date and don’t forget it. Ticket sales launch at 9am, usually on a Sunday, and you need to be ready. You need to be slick and prepared with everyones details. These tickets are like gold dust and obtaining them requires some effort. I will do another post about how to best increase your chances of getting through to the ticket purchase page, but for this post I will stick with the basics. In this round of sales, each person can buy six tickets per transaction. You will need a variety of people on a variety of devices, pressing refresh over and over until one of you hopefully get to the sales page. If there are more than six of you wanting tickets, plan who is buying which tickets should they get through. Tickets usually sell out in around 30-40 minutes, you need to persevere for this whole time, in 2017 we managed to get tickets in the very last minute. There is a separate sales day for coach tickets, where you must travel the the festival on a provided coach. This is usually a few days before the general sale, so try on both days!
If you don’t manage to get tickets in the October round, don’t give up just yet. Lots of people purchase excess tickets in the initial sale that they don’t end up needing, people decide they cant attend – these tickets get put back on sale in April. During this round you can only purchase four tickets but everything else remains the same. Coach resale tickets are limited to two per transaction.
First Glastonbury – 12 weeks old
Preparing for Glastonbury Festival with a baby
So you’ve managed to get your tickets – you proudly tell everyone you are going to Glastonbury Festival with your baby! That’s when people will start putting doubts into your mind, but don’t listen to them! It was hard for me as I was pregnant with my first baby, I knew nothing about being a parent – and I had all of these experienced mums and dads telling me it would be a nightmare. Put all your energy into preparing and know you will be ready for any scenario.
A tent big enough to stand in (incase the baby needs soothing during the night and you need to walk around)
A hardcore Pram/buggy – We have a three wheeled, inflatable tyre, off road style pram (Mountain buggy Urban Jungle). You will need something that can handle the terrain and that the baby can be comfortable in during the day.
Battery powered fairy lights – Important for decorating your pram/buggy at night. Leo would sleep comfortably in his pram whilst we went about living our best life in the evenings. Having the fairy lights around his pram meant he was easily visible to everyone in the dark. Obviously we weren’t out partying until the early hours in Shangri la, but we were able to catch the headline acts.
Weather control – Be prepared for the freezing cold, torrential rain and scorching hot temperatures. We had clothes for all weather. As well as waterproofing, battery powered fans, and make shift shelter should the sun get too much. Don’t forget a rain cover and a sun umbrella for your pram. We happened to end up having 36 degree C temperatures, in a tent, with a tiny baby. I would have happily welcomed the rain at any point! The battery powered fans and regular application of wet flannels to Leo made sure he stayed comfortable.
Ear defenders – Essential to protect those little ears. We spent the week before the festival getting him used to the feeling of them on his head. We would apply them while walking around the house, during a nap – it’s important to know they will keep them on when you get there.
Have a feeding plan – Easy if you are breastfeeding. We were doing a combination of breast and bottle as I wasn’t producing enough milk. To sterilise the bottles we took Milton sterilising tablets and a container to fill with water. We had a small gas stove to boil water to use for making up the formula. We had to make it half an hour before we planned to give it, to allow it to cool.
A place for baby to sleep – We took the carry cot top to our pram and used this for his bed at night. Make sure you have sleep suit options for if it is very cold, or very hot. We took a foil blanket to put underneath his carry cot, to make sure the cold from the ground didn’t go through to him.
Keeping (semi) clean – Take Biodegradable baby wipes – and lots of them! Even though there are showers to be found on site, we didn’t bother with the hassle and kept ourselves semi-clean with wipes. We took a plastic storage container as a way of transporting some of our things, and this doubled up as a little bath for Leo to cool him down and freshen up. There is baby bath time in the NCT tent in the Kidz Field too.
Something familiar for nighttime – whether its a sleeping bag, blanket, soft toy, musical bear – whatever their thing is that helps them gets them to sleep, make sure you take it!
Glastonbury Festival is like a small village. There isn’t much you wont be able to obtain while you are there. If you turned up with nothing, you could buy a tent and everything you needed (for a price!). You will likely be closer to nurses and doctors at the festival than you would be at home. You have shelter, food and water – it isn’t THAT much different to being at home. So relax, go with the flow, and have an amazing time!
Breast feeding anywhere at the festival wasn’t an issue
Arriving at the festival
The festival starts on a Wednesday and runs through to Monday morning. The car parks open late on Tuesday ready for the gates opening on Wednesday morning. Everyone has different arrival tactics, but we usually arrive Tuesday night and sleep in the car, and then get in the queue around 4am on Wednesday morning. This means we are right by the front of the queue, we get onto the site early and get prime pick of the camping spots. Leo slept easily in the car, and continued to snooze in the queue. There are two family camping fields as I will discuss below. On being the first to arrive we quickly realised that the field we chose (Wicket ground) is much less popular than the other (Cockmill). We could have turned up on Thursday or Friday and still found a (less appealing) spot.
The two family fields are Wicket ground and Cockmill meadow. Each has their own pro’s and con’s. Personally I think Wicket ground is better for families with young babies, and Cockmill is better for those with toddlers/kids who need more entertaining.
Wicket ground: This is the only camping field with a perimeter fence and security at the gate. Only families are allowed in here making it the safest field to camp with your baby. You will want to park in the Yellow car park and enter at Gate A. From there the Wicket Ground is only a short walk. The toilets on site were the nicest of all the ones we used during the festival. I use the term ‘nice’ lightly, but families seemed to be a lot more respectful when going to the loo! The down side (or you could say up side) to the location is that it is a fair walk to the main stages. This gives you the benefit of relative quiet compared to other sites, but does mean you have a long way to go to get your older kids to the kidz field!
Cockmill Meadow: This field is aimed at families, however anyone can camp here. There is no perimeter fence or security dictating who enters. It fills up quickly so you will need to get there early on Wednesday to get a decent spot. You will want to park in the purple car park and enter at gate B. Cockmill meadow is right by the Kidz Field, so a perfect location for those with toddlers and older children. It is also right by the medical centre and close to the main stages. We will be camping here when we next go with Leo now that he is older.
Queueing for the Festival
You’re at Glastonbury Festival with a baby!
So you have your camp set up, it’s officially happening – now what?! I remember feeling extremely safe in my fenced off camp site, with my baby comfortably laid in the tent, and for a second thinking “Shall we just stay here?”. But then I looked around and there were hundreds of families, all as crazy as us, setting up their decorated trolleys, cracking open a can of beer and getting ready to head out into the jungle! The atmosphere is buzzing and there is a really strong feeling of community amongst the festival families.
The main festival doesn’t officially kick off until Friday, but there is so much to see and do on the Wednesday and Thursday. Once you have your tent set up, go for a walk around the site. It is absolutely huge, and there will be so much for your baby to look at along the way. You can grab some lunch, have a few drinks and take a big deep sigh of relief that you have made it, and it really isn’t as scary as you thought it would be!
Feeding a baby at Glastonbury Festival
We were doing a combination of breast and bottle feeding so we got to experience both. Breastfeeding was a lot easier as we could do it easily anywhere (and there is absolutely no judgement at a place like Glastonbury!) plus it didn’t require any equipment. For bottle feeding we brought a large tub to cold water sterilise the bottles. We had a flask that we filled with boiling water in the morning, then used this to mix with formula as we needed it.
Bathing a baby at Glastonbury Festival
There is an NCT tent at the back of the Kidz Field which is a sanctuary for babies and parents. Here you can bath your baby. They also have baby food, spare clothes, changing mats, baby toys, books – everything you could possibly need.
Relaxing in the Green Kidz Field
What to do with a baby at Glastonbury Festival?!
There are tons of areas that your baby can enjoy. But you can still enjoy the music and do what you want to do too (to a degree!) Get them set up comfortably in their pram with their ear defenders on. For a lot of the festival Leo was sleeping or just relaxing in the pram, whilst we enjoyed sets from the back. Big stages like the Pyramid stage allow you to safely sit at the back and enjoy the artists without it being too loud and crowded for the baby. We would put a picnic blanket down on the Pyramid field in the afternoon and enjoy a few sets whilst Leo rolled about just as he would have at home.
Great places for families with babies
Kidz Field – watch some performances at the Big Top, enjoy the regular parades, older babies can play in a small soft play area. Listen to a story in the Story Tellers Marquee.
NCT tent – for comfort. You can also play in the huge sandpit just outside, read some stories, play with some sensory toys.
Green Kidz Field – there is a fenced off baby area with comfy places to lay them down, books, toys and crafts.
Circus and theatre fields – Lots of parades, performers and fun things going off all day.
Green Fields – really peaceful family friendly area. Lots of crafts and displays to walk around and look at. The healing fields offer massages, homeopathy, palm reading, tarot readings – it was great to explore these areas that we would have otherwise missed.
Glastonbury on Sea – a seaside pier with a bandstand, penny arcade, candy floss, Punch and Judy, dodgems and an helter skelter!
The Park – there is a big hill at the park with an amazing view over the whole festival, a great place to go and sit and enjoy the sunset.
Hopefully now you feel a little more prepared for taking your baby to Glastonbury Festival, you will definitely have the time of your life!
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