Post by msbrandymichelle on Jun 18, 2010 12:31:56 GMT -5
This was our first year at Bonnaroo & what an experience! We took our 2 oldest children - nearly 5 & 6. Here's what I found important, interesting, & a must.
Getting to Family Camping was not bad at all (but waiting in traffic was! PEE BEFORE YOU GET TO MANCHESTER!!!!!!!!!!)! We told everyone who would listen we wanted Family Camping & they were all accommodating. We got there, got set up w/ the help of our neighbors. It was beautiful. I saw lots of families not in family camping & honestly I don't know how or why they choose that route (I'm sure friends play a big part in that). We all worked off eachother, sharing our food, sunscreen, water, toys, etc. I don't know what we would have done w/o Family Camping.
Also, there were very few occurrences of people walking through to sell us fun time items... Parents were respectful of eachother's situations, so negative party-vibes were not really present at all, which was really nice w/ little ones around.
The girls wore big floppy hats which I view as the best buy for the trip. They blocked their faces, heads, & shoulders. My youngest started refusing to wear her sunglasses, so the hats were GREAT! One wore swim shoes, the other crocs. They also had flip-flops. I have decided no matter what shoes they wear, (unless tennis shoes w/ socks) they will get blisters. So bring lots of blister stuff (bandaids, antibiotic ointment, etc.). The last day they wore their crocs & water shoes w/ 2 layers of socks.
SUNBLOCK! It may say water-safe & that it lasts hours, but forget all that. The kids got so wet & wiped off so much that we re-applied after each set. Not a one got a sunburn Another family brought their kiddo & he got sunburned & it ruined their whole experience & they left the 2nd day (can you imagine paying this much to have a miserable 2 days then leave?!). SUNBLOCK! 1 in the bag, 1 at the tent, 2 extras for backup.
Thank god for Kidz Jam! I brought ear plugs, but did not count on my kids CONSTANTLY losing them! Also, when water lines got too long to get water & the kids were out (or they made us dump their water at the Centeroo gate), a walk to Kidz Jam would solve the problem. It also gave us something to let the kids do when we didn't have somewhere to be & we just wanted to relax. <3 Kidz Jam!
Kids dictate what you see. The first night my kids were just so tired, muddy, & cranky that they were just not in a good place. So, I missed 2 bands I SUPER wanted to see (I'm just assuming they were terrible sets & I didn't miss out ). But, it's something you have to expect & work w/ when you bring your kids. You're a parent after-all.
I cooked the whole time we were there. We ate 2 meals in Centeroo ($30 for us to get something for me, my husband, & for the kids to split). Every morning I made sandwiches, burritos, whatever & packed them in my kiddos' bags (again, I packed them in the kiddos' bags). They also had TONS of snacks & we still had to run to Kidz Jam occasionally for oranges. The kids were forever hungry, but I had to force them to drink water. Force your kids to drink water! (Not physically of course I found a simple "drink this" worked everytime)
We washed up in the sink troughs every morning & every night. It was amazing how hot it was & no matter what the kids were either sandy or muddy when we left Centeroo for the night. Day 1 & 2 we just washed up & maybe carried a wet rag (that dried in 20 minutes), days 3 & 4 I told the kids to get as wet as possible in the morning & to soak their clothes so they kept cool. (FYI - the showers are $7 & the same COLD water you get out of the sink troughs. I put the girls' hair in braids so they wouldn't have to worry about styling, conditioning, etc. We never bothered w/ the showers & I'd just sponge-bathe wash the girls' hair & bodies w/ Dr. Bronner's.)
We opted for tents more than stages if the option came. Troo Music Lounge was a lifesaver w/ the fans & water hose! He also refilled our water bottles there. I coulda kissed the man!
I was worried about the level of partiedness people would display at Bonnaroo... we only had 1 drunk guy come up & talk to the kids, but they just thought he was super funny & nice. People around were definitely in the mix of it all, but to the girls, they just looked super happy, tired, or really into the music. My kids have seen us & other people smoke cigarettes, so they thought nothing of other people smoking...
People were so nice to the kids! We had people body paint them, give them bubbles, dance w/ them, talk to them, etc. People are generally very respectful of kids!
Also! Something I loved was we did not see 1 act of hostility there. At most concerts mosh pit = fights = people getting kicked out. Maybe it was cuz we were on the lawn or far back most of the time, but I didn't see 1 person shove, hit... nothing! Very peaceful!
We bought the little cloth pocket frizbees day 2 or 3 & they were GREAT for What Stage when you were far in the back & the kids didn't wanna sit & jam. Bubbles were also great for this situation.
Also, in Family Camping, at night you can hear What Stage clearly. So, if you have to take the kiddos to bed, you can still hear the show. And not like you've been seeing many stages & performances when you have kids to keep a watchout for in crowds.
Now, we did not bring our 1-year old & I'm VERY glad. It was SO HOT & I saw so many parents wearing their babies. I'm a big advocate of wearing babies, but that is super hot. Strollers were pretty nice I think. I saw some very young babies there & I don't know how the parents were doing it. It was soooooo hot. And I saw some parents w/ toddlers that seemed to be doing just fine. I think walking makes a big difference. I wouldn't take our youngest unable to walk. Walking = dancing & playing. And I think once they can do that it could be a lot easier. But little legs would get tired, but they'd still be young enough to nap easily.
So, I think that's about it. I wrote a lot, but in case 1 other parent is as anal as I was about planning & not knowing what to expect, maybe this helps. There's just so much to consider.
Yay Bonnaroo! (Next year we're going w/o kids. It looks like a completely different experience & I'd like to give that a try.)
Edited to add: BRING UNOPENED GALLON WATER JUGS (freeze them at home). They suck to haul around, but not having water & there being a 45+ minute wait at water stations & a long walk back to Kidz Jam sucks even more! The whole family could chug off the water jugs & they don't create as much waste as separate disposable, sealed, bottles that last a good 3 chugs. And you can take em in & pour them in canteens once you get thru the gates.
Wow what a great time you guys had! Thanks for posting this, I am thinking of bringing my 6 and 10 year old one year when they get a little older (just my personal preference as a parent knowing my own kids, not commenting on anyone else here) and this post has a lot of great info. Sounds like you are a really responsible parent and I'm sure the kiddos really appreciate you showing them a blast.