Before I went to a festival with my newborn, I scoured the internet for examples of people who’d done the same. I found one website dedicated to kid-friendly festivals and not much else. Which is as good a reason as any to go ahead and write a guide myself!
I’m a fairly seasoned festival-goer and even went to a festival while pregnant with Anaïs (Bestival – not recommended!) but I was apprehensive about the idea of packing my perfect little baby (not literally you understand) and taking her to what can all too often be a debauched affair.
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Add to that a recent growth spurt and some ‘sleep regression’ (FYI I have so many thoughts about this) and I was less than excited about it all. But Oli knows me well and strongly suggested we just go, because: “Wilderness isn’t far from London, so if we don’t have fun we can come home.”
We had fun. So we didn’t come home early!
We honestly had the most fun scampering around, dressing Anaïs up and watching her little face light up when she saw bonkers festival-goers in full fancy dress. And we really didn’t need to take everything but the kitchen sink, although we could have done with a touch more comfort.
In truth, having a newborn seemed easier than having toddlers at a festival.
Still here? Great.
One of the things I was most worried about was the potential of Anaïs overheating in the tent.
I was also (weirdly) worried someone would steal my baby or plethora of pricey baby shiz from the tent. Hence why I didn’t bring too much
I was an idiot on both counts because: a) we live in the UK where even in the height of summer it’s tear-inducingly cold at night and b) everyone at Wilderness had expensive baby gear & tbh there’s were pricier than ours.
Yes, Wilderness is posher than thou. But I liked that. Everything felt kitsch and safe and friendly. And I’m pretty posh anyway (read: Southern) so why would I care?
Family Friendly Fun
We didn’t really go for the music, although the lineup was good and had lots of interesting additions, like Laura Mvula singing Nina Simone with an orchestra. Being a small festival, it was really manageable to go to two main events — unlike bigger festivals where it takes an age to walk from one end to another.
There’s also absolute stacks of stuff to do if you don’t want to immerse yourself in the music. Wilderness went ALL out on the crafts, with a whole section of the main site dedicated to Instagram-worthy making. Think flower crown making, macrame pots, and whittling. Yes, whittling!
We enjoyed a spot of live podcasting with the Scummy Mummies and Cherry Healey and chilled out to a brilliant travel talk by my friend Flora
in an intimate outdoor spot by the lake.
To be honest, we were slack with the planning (shock!) but if we go again I’ll make sure to book some stuff. An Ottolenghi tasting menu, hunter gatherer walk, some sort of cool crafting shiz and a Neal’s Yard Massage would be top of my list for next year.
In terms of baby-specific stuff……I mean, babies don’t actually need activities to have fun. In fact, I feel like taking a newborn is easier than any other age. Anaïs chilled happily in the sling with her eat defenders most of the time!
Now for the
boring practical stuff……
Wilderness will be held from Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th, 2018 and tickets are currently being sold at the reduced rate of £168.50 (+ £11.50 booking fee). Kids are charged at tiered rates and we paid £6.50 for Anaïs ticket (which is a bit of a joke IMO as she used ZERO facilities…..)
We booked family camping (a requirement if you’re camping with little ones) and this was super close to the car park (5 mins walk) and the main entrance to the festival (3 mins.)
The toilets were plentiful and oh so clean, to the point where I felt I was using all my karma each time I used one!
We took a Pro Action 6 man tent
with two compartments, a living area, and porch plus camping seats. We also took a cosy airbed 🙂
Lots of people were using camping stoves, so if you wanted, you could easily make a lot of your own food. But the sinks only had cold water so washing up looked to be a bit of a drag….
Wilderness was pretty small, but there were still big queues for the shower each morning. And being in family camping, it was dreamily quiet after about 10 pm. Winning.
In terms of activities, I’d recommend checking out the website in advance as most were booked solid by Thursday. And the long table dining looked amazing! Bathing Under the Stars (Luxe Scandi hot tubs) is a must-do if you can — we didn’t partake due to the Bambino but did it at Bestival and I’d highly recommend it!
Would you take a newborn baby to a festival?
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