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Tootsa MacGinty

The BG Guide to… festival essentials

It can’t have escaped your notice that it’s Glastonbury weekend, so from now until September there’ll be a festival a week to attend, should you be that way inclined. We’ll be checking out Camp Bestival as always – this year with toddler Kitty in tow (can’t believe she was just five weeks old when we took her last year), along with seasoned festival-goer Alfie. If you’re planning on taking kids to a festival, here are a few packing ideas, plus things I can’t live without.

If there’s one thing you can rely on it’s that you can’t rely on the British weather, so pack accordingly. We always take sunhats (keep an eye out for my top ten next week), sunscreen (Lavera is great), UV suits (Solamigos is my new go-to brand), sunglasses and sun tent, plus full rainwear. My wet weather gear of choice at the moment comes from Kozi Kidz – loving the rainbow jacket – and Raindrops – how cute are these dungarees? In terms of footwear, we’ll be alternating between Splats, literally the best children’s wellies I’ve ever come across, plus they take up less space in your luggage than traditional ones, and our ever-reliable Sun-San Saltwater sandals, as good in rain as they are in sunshine.

Let’s talk equipment. I haven’t really been able to talk about tents in the past as we’re a campervan kinda family, but, thanks to some rather fabulous friends and family, I’m now the proud owner of a gigantic bell tent and I can’t recommend it enough. Light, airy, stylish (think of all the accessories you can add), it’s glamping in the extreme. Mine is from Pukka Tents – well worth a look if you’re investing.

In my experience, you’ll never have a problem persuading a child to sleep in a sleeping bag, but if you need added incentive, there are some beautiful designs out there – my favourite is this elephant print from Aurina. Take pillows and extra blankets as is can get chilly at night and there’s nothing worse than being cold and damp in a tent. A camping chair is also handy for breakfasts at basecamp – I like the Gelert Moon chair, but there’s a huge variety around, with prices starting around £5.

Queues for showers can be extensive, so it’s handy to have an alternative. Wipes are an essential for interim cleanliness, but we’ve also found the Flexibath handy, particularly for Kitty. If using the showers, pack flip flops and/or small roll-up bathmat as they can get grubby. We’ve also found that keeping a potty at our camp is handy to avoid lengthy nighttime walks to the toilet. Pack an anti-bac hand sanitiser (I like Bentley‘s) and toilet rolls in case the ones in the loos run out.

Getting around. We couldn’t live without our Radio Flyer wagon, easily one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. It comes into its own at festivals, where it acts as transport for tired children and equipment. Yes, they are expensive, but I think it’s a must if you don’t want a child on your shoulders all weekend. I’ve recently discovered Toby Wagons on offer – £75 represents excellent value as it would cost you more to hire a trolley for the weekend. A canopy, either bought or homemade, is a useful addition to protect against the elements.

Finally, a couple of safety items. 1. Ear defenders – essential for babies, great for older children who may want to sleep in their wagon while you’re out and about in the evening. We have both Peltor and Baby Banz. 2. ID bracelet. You’ll be given a wristband to write your mobile number on, but it’s always worth having a back up. I’m going to invest in an ID Me reflective wristband for Alfie, just in case the unthinkable happens and he gets lost. Glow sticks are also handy for nighttime (and keep little ones entertained). Finally, don’t forget your fancy dress – this is the perfect opportunity to go completely OTT on your outfit.

I’m sure I’ll think of more as I start to gather our stuff together. Stay tuned for posts on our recommended festivals and our festival reviews over the course of the summer.

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