Sunday, September 21, 2008

Child on the Go at a Music Festival....

About a month ago some friends of ours informed us they were headed to the Outside Lands art and music festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. We were seriously jealous.... they were getting to see some killer bands for a awesome cause and so we thought...enjoy all the tunes munchkin free. See they have an adorable 18month old.

And I later grew more jealous when I learned they had a great day...seeing 6 performances with their daughter in tow. So Mom, Blythe, has been kind enough to share their tips from the day. And they called this the inaugural event, so with these tips...count us in next go around.
Enjoy! And Thanks B!
We recently took our 18 month old daughter to a day of the outside lands music festival in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It was our first concert with her and it went off without a hitch. Here are a couple of things that helped us all enjoy the day:

· Preparation... with the weekend festival, there was a very helpful website that was full of good information to have: parking (or lack thereof in this case), schedule, and most importantly, what’s allowed in and what is not.

· Food & Drink… we were allowed to bring soft sided coolers, so we packed one with all of the possible food and beverage items for kiddo and one for our dinner so we didn’t have to shell out quite so much on food & drink while there. We were sure to bring some of the favorites for our daughter so she would be more apt to eat given more than the usual amount of distraction. Also, we had plenty of water for her since it was outside.

· Comfort… we hauled in an old comforter for us all to sit on during the different acts. It was a nice place for us to sit and to keep all the other items we had semi contained. Given that it was an outdoor concert with 6 different stages, we packed everything in a very large bag that we could help carry things from stage to stage – a bit of a traveling circus, but it worked (we heard 6 bands in all).

· Transportation inside… we went sans extra transit method given that our kid likes to walk and can be corralled easily enough (and our stroller is not made for off-roading through the fields of the park). We did see several strollers that doubled as kid stuff carriers and we saw some soft side kid carriers. They were not allowing backpacks with frames into the venue in general, so that is one thing to look up before you try.

· Entertainment… while we had built in entertainment for the adults, I wanted to make sure we could enjoy the music and not have to be a constant entertainer for the kiddo. I packed a variety of items that I knew she would be enamored with…crayons, stickers, a notepad, a ball, bubbles (although we got outdone by the bubble machine someone else brought in), and a couple other things she was into that week. I considered what I brought to keep her entertained in one spot on the plane and expanded my ideas from there.

· Location at the concert… two things to consider in scoping out your spots at the concert – noise and people surrounding you.
> Location consideration 1: Noise… we opted not to go with earplugs for our daughter and chose our spots well enough away from the stage to be away from the crowded area and at a reasonable noise level. We did see kids with a variety of different ear plugs in (I think our curious George would have ripped all of them right out) and I’ve also read that getting hunting earphones/protectors is a good way to go.
> Location consideration 2 – surrounding parties… by the end of the day, we were sitting close to several families with kids (when we go again, we will look for this). This was great for two reasons. First, there’s less of a chance your kid will have to inhale smoke or hear words and phrases you may not utter around them normally and second, entertainment value. We ended up being the “base” for few kids that were interested in the crayons, ball, etc, which we were more than happy to share, as it gave our daughter even more entertainment and allowed other parents to enjoy the music as we were. We had fun chatting with the other parents too.

· Exit plan… we knew that we would not make it through the end of the last concert. We laid out our blanket in a strategic location so we could hit the exit without too much trouble (or walking in front of too many people). Our plan was to change our daughter into pjs on the blanket, let her drink her cup of milk there if she wanted and then bail and let her cash out in the car on the way home. It worked perfectly, but we also had contingencies in mind if things didn’t go the way we planned.

All in all, it was a great day for everyone and we are certainly going to try something similar again.

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