'The best way of taking kids to festivals Bring granny!' Bestival's Josie da Bank tells FEMAIL her top tips for family festival fun
16:21 GMT, 3 September 2012
Josie Gorham knows a thing or two about throwing a party.
Known throughout the festival world as Josie da Bank, she and her husband (Radio One DJ Rob da Bank) have been hosting the riotous Isle of Wight hootenanny Bestival since 2004.
And in 2008, having started a family of their own, the music-mad couple launched the festival's Dorset-based baby brother, Camp Bestival.
Josie and Rob da Bank inside a tent at Camp Bestival with their sons Arlo, six, Merlin, four, and two-year-old Miller
Now, on the eve of Bestival's ninth
outing (and with three little boys in tow), Josie, 39, tells Femail her top
tips for combining children and festival fun….
1. Go to a festival that caters for children
This is the most important thing, because if the kids are happy, you're happy, and if they aren't, you won't be either.
More relaxing festivals like Camp Bestival, Green Man, Glastonbury or Wilderness are going to be more accommodating for children than heavy dance music festivals like Glade.
There needs to be kids entertainment and something for them to do all the time otherwise they get bored. Bestival is good for children but it's rather big and can be quite hectic – Camp Bestival really is the ultimate family show.
I designed Camp Bestival especially for children because when I had my first son, Arlo, I considered turning Bestival into a more family affair.
But I then realised that Bestival already had its own identiy, and that we needed a brand new one, one especially for parents with kids.
Now at Camp Bestival we even have special little compost loos made especially for little people by the Natural Event Toilet Company – the big ones can be quite daunting if you're small.
Merlin, left, and Arlo, right, get into the fancy dress spirit at Camp Bestival, run by their parents Rob and Josie da Bank
2. Bring the grandparents
Robbie and I have three children – Arlo who is six,
Merlin who's four, and now two-year-old baby Miller.
At Bestival we only bring them for one day and then send them home because we tend to be really busy working all weekend.
But when we go to Camp Bestival the boys come for the whole event. We bring both sets of
grandparents – they are an enormous help – so there are three generations
all camping together on site!
It's brilliant having our parents there, and really rewarding. I wouldn't advise bringing grandparents to Bestival as it can't get very busy – saying that, mine do come! They just don't camp.
Camp Bestival, set in the Dorset grounds of Lulworth Castle, was created especially by Josie and Rob for families with young children
3. Camp in the Family Campsite
It's a very good idea to camp among other families in this area which is quieter and has more and better facilities
You could even bring a camper van to make the camping itself easier, or stay off-site in a hotel or B&B and just go in for the day. Turn it into a bit of a holiday.
There used to be a company called Boutique Babysitting who organised child-minding for parents at festivals, but they don't do it anymore.
The main problem with kids at festivals is that they get tired very easily. If you hire a trolley – something which has become very popular at Camp Bestival – you can solve this dilemma by popping the kids in it and letting them have a nap while you wheel them around.
That way you don't need to worry about leaving children all alone in a tent – and you still get to stay out late when they fall asleep.
A girl hula hoops at Camp Bestival with Lulworth Castle in the background
4. Take them to see things they will enjoy
All our boys love the Insect Circus at Camp Bestival, the puppet shows, the theatre productions and the fireworks and circus workshops.
Having children means you need to accept that how you do a festival is going to change – you're not going to be able to go off and have a good time partying like you did when you were 18.
If you want to go partying with adults at a festival, simply don't bring your kids in the first place!
Robbie and I always go to Glastonbury – it's our favourite show and it's where we got engaged – but we never bring the boys.
It's therefore been quite nice this year to have Glastonbury off, and not to worry about who is going to look after the kids!
'There needs to be kids entertainment and something for them to do all the time, otherwise they get bored – Camp Bestival really is the ultimate family show'
5. Make sure they are comfortable
Take some of their home comforts with you – be that a cosy blanket, cuddly toys or familiar food – to help them maintain a bit of their usual routine.
Make sure you bring little wellies and raincoats, and attempt to make them wear ear-protecting headphones.
Our boys hate them and just pull them off, so just try not to stand too close to the speakers!
'All our boys love the Insect Circus at Camp Bestival, the puppet shows, the theatre productions and the fireworks and circus workshops'
6. Don't let them get too tired
If children are having tantrums or being grumpy they are probably just tired and over-stimulated.
Irritability is a sign it's all got a bit too much for them.
Try to get them away from the crowds, give them something to eat and the opportunity to chill out a bit. Then they'll be fine.
Bestival takes place this weekend, from 6-9 September, on the Isle of Wight.
Bestival is now in its ninth year on the Isle of Wight
Rob and Josie da Bank got engaged at Glastonbury, their favourite festival to go to without their children
The da Banks' first son, Arlo, now six, was the impetus behind Camp Bestival, the festival the couple created for families with young children