FIRST TIME AT A FESTIVAL?…
Elderflower Fields is the perfect first festival for families with kids, but planning can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to festivals. This beginners guide should give you a good idea of what to bring and what to expect when you get here.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Before you leave home, in fact right now, there are a few things you can do which will help your festival experience be more fun.
Firstly, book into activities. The vast majority of activities and entertainment at Elderflower Fields are drop in and free, which means you just need to check when and where they’re happening in the schedule and then turn up. But a few activities you need to book online in advance if you want to take part at the festival. The most important of these are the Sports and Arts camps. There are enough spaces for every child to enjoy one session in each of the camps, they’re free, but you need to book a slot online before you get to the festival. Head to the activities booking page here to learn more and reserve your space.
Other activities which need booking include the Overnight Kids Camp, Mountain Boarding, Kayaking and Nightjar Walks. Details on these and all other activities can be found on the activities page here. We recommend you spend a bit of time exploring what’s on and how to take part.
Another thing you might want to consider before you leave home is accommodation. The best way to experience Elderflower Fields is under canvas – there’s really nothing better. We keep the campsites quite dark, so with clear skies you’ll get a spectacular starry display thrown in for free! If you bring your own tent and pitch in one of the three family campsites, then there is nothing extra to pay once you have your festival ticket.
Some people however prefer a little more comfort and there are two options if the thought of having to put up a tent terrifies you. Firstly, you could hire a beautiful, pre-pitched tent in our boutique camping area. You can choose from either a bell tent or a tipi and can also hire bedding if you like. Full details on the glamping page here.
Secondly, if you’re lucky enough to own a camper van or caravan, you can buy a live in vehicle pitch. These cost £35 and must be purchased online in advance of the festival. Head over to the camper van page for more information and to book.
If a little luxury is something that appeals, the last thing you can book in advance is a treatment in our fabulous Green People Woodland Spa. It’s a great way to unwind while the kids are enjoying the activities – treatments cost £45 for an hour session. For full details of what’s on offer and to book, visit the spa page here.
WHAT TO PACK
Tickets? Check! Children? Check! It’s tempting when packing for an outdoor camping trip to bring everything just in case. But remember, unless you’re in the live-in vehicle field, you’re going to have to lug all of that stuff from the car park to the campsite and back again! We can’t emphasise enough how much easier your experience will be if you pack light… And if you forget anything essential, there’s always the festival shop.
Here’s our list what to bring and what not to bring.
Tent. Obviously. But if you’re thinking about bringing you’re lovely canvas bell tent, do remember you’ve got to get it from your car to the campsite and back again. Either bring or hire a trolley if you need to. Don’t forget a mallet. Space is limited in the campsites, so please don’t bring gazebos or other big shelters and be kind and considerate to your fellow campers.
Mattresses and bedding. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and roll mats. Nothing is worse than feeling like you can’t get a good nights sleep and it can be surprisingly cold in the middle of the night in May. It’s also a good idea to keep spare blankets in the car, just in case.
Torches / lights. The main roads and paths around the festival site are quite well lit, but we intentionally keep the campsites a little dark so that everyone can enjoy the stars! Bring torches to help avoid tripping over other people’s guy ropes and maybe a lantern for inside the tent.
Clothing & fancy dress. We probably sound like your mum for saying this, but pack clothing for all eventualities, even if the forecast is great! It is possible to have a simply amazing festival experience in the wet, provided you’re able to warm up and change into some dry clothes, so make sure you bring jumpers and anoraks as well as flip flops and sun cream… Fancy dress is strongly encouraged for both kids and parents. Elderflower Fields is a festival – let your hair down and have a dance wearing a crazy outfit. Honestly, you’ll love it!
Food and Drink. Our food and drink vendors offer a huge selection of fantastic quality meals for the whole family. It’s not a bad idea to bring a few snacks and drinks for back at camp, but you don’t need to bring food for the whole weekend. Take a look at the food and drink page to see what’s on offer this year…
Water bottles. This is one of our top tips – bring your own good quality drinking bottle or camelbak and fill up with water from the taps around the site. Save money and the environment – what could be better?!
Safety & Hygiene. There are free hot showers at Elderflower Fields, but they get super busy in the mornings. Our advice is head there mid afternoon or very early if you want to avoid queuing. You could also consider no-rinse body wash and dry shampoo. Or, dare we suggest it, not wash for a day or two… Do make sure you pack sun cream, ear defenders for the kids, and a potty if you have small children. Toilets and hand wash stations are located across the site.
What not to bring. If you bring any of the following items, you’ll either have them confiscated or be asked to leave the festival so don’t get caught out! Glass – decant before you leave home. No glass whatsoever is allowed on site because it can be so dangerous to barefooted children and animals if Broken. No Chinese lanterns. No pets or animals. No sound systems. Make sure you check the festival terms & conditions for a full list of what is and isn’t allowed.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
The chances are, if you’ve got kids, camping gear and supplies for the weekend, you’ll be coming by car (though that is not the only way to get to Elderflower Fields). Plan your route using the festival postcode: TN22 3HW. As you approach the festival on the A22, keep an eye out for the yellow AA signs which will direct you to the site entrance.
Plan your arrival time. The site opens at 12noon on Friday 27th May. You won’t be allowed onto the festival site or into the car parks before that, so please don’t arrive earlier. Our advice is to avoid peak times (4pm – 6pm) if at all possible. Also note that the site closes at 10pm so please arrive in time to park and get your wristbands before that time (you don’t want to be putting up your tent in the dark anyway!).
Once into the festival site, you’ll be directed where to park. From there you’ll need to walk with all your equipment to the ticketing tent (the absolute furthest would be is about 500m). There you can exchange your tickets for wristbands and then it’s onwards to the campsites!
Walking is the best way to get you and your stuff to the campsites. The furthest you could conceivably camp from the ticket tent is just under 1km. The nearest is about 300m. It’s downhill from the ticket tent, but remember, this means it’s uphill when it’s time to pack up and go home!…
To make the journey easier, you could hire or buy a trolley. For the first time in 2016 we’ll have a trolley hire company located right in the car park where you can borrow a trolley to help wheel your gear to the campsites. Alternatively, as in 2015 we’ve got our buggy and trailer service running all day on Friday and Monday. Please note that the buggy service gets really long queues at times and it’s often way quicker to walk!
Once you’re at your chosen campsite, find a spot to pitch up and then find a visual marker so that you the kids can find where the tent is. Use flags, trees or other structures to help identify your spot.
OTHER USEFUL STUFF
Lost & Found. If you lose a child, parent or possession, the place to go is the info tent. We’ve got a great team of stewards there who’ll help reunite you. Take time when you arrive to locate the info tent on the site map and explain to your kids that’s where they should head if they get lost.
Phone charging. We know what it’s like – you’ve just lined up a killer selfie for your Instagram and your phone dies. Fear not, this year we have phone charging available at the info tent.
Babies & Toddlers. We try to make Elderflower Fields the perfect first festival for small kids, but be aware, it’s a hilly and in places a rough and wild site. Walking around all day can be tiring for little legs so consider bringing or hiring a trolley. Prams and pushchairs can be especially difficult to get around the site, unless you have one of the three wheel off road variety. There will be a breast feeding and nappy change tipi next to the info tent in the centre of the site where you can breast or bottle feed and relax in relative peace. All main toilet blocks will have one large disabled toilet with a fold down baby change table.
Money & Security. There are no cash points on site, but most of our food and drink vendors this year will accept card payments. We recommend you bring both cash and cards. Please do not bring valuables or leave them unattended in cars or tents.
And that’s pretty much it. From there on, it’s up to you to explore and find your own wild adventure!… You’ll get a printed festival mini guide when you arrive (you can also pick these up from the info tent) which will have full listings of what’s on when and where, so have a browse and then relax and enjoy Elderflower Fields :-)
Published on 23 March 2016 by Ben Robinson