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Music Festivals with Kids
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Music Festivals with Kids
Before our son was born my husband and I spent the summers
going to festivals, outdoor events and camping. We were too
tired last year to go anywhere but we're thinking of taking
our two year old on the road this summer. We already know
about High Sierra and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Any other
suggestions on local family-friendly festivals or events
within a reasonable (day+) drive? Camping, music, swimming,
nature,fun stuff all welcome. Andrea
Yea, summer festivals!! I found out I was pregnant at High
Sierra, and our daughter has been going since she was 2 yrs
old. Another good one is the Oregon Country Faire near
Eugene. You can find info at www.oregoncountryfair.org. It's
a 3-day fest the week after High Sierra. It's only during
the day, and there are many things for kids to do, including
a whole kid area and a childcare area. The only downside is
that you can't camp onsite unless you are a volunteer. But,
there are many campgrounds nearby. We camped at the nearest
State Park last time, and it was great! Happy Festival!!
Caveat: I have never been to any of these events with a
2-year-old, although I have seen some 2-year-olds at some of
these events. Your 2-year-old's unique, so this list is only
a starting point. Revel at your own discretion! :-)
Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather near Yosemite.
Memorial day and labor day weekends. Weather is a bit
unpredictable but the music is great and the setting is
heavenly. Lots for little ones to do.
Two-Day Town in the Livermore Valley
Apple Blossom Festival (spring) and gravenstein apple fair
(august) in Sebastopol
Cotati accordion festival
russian river jazz festival
monterey jazz festival
I worked many autumn Renaissance faires as a street 'hawker'
and feel they are frankly too hot and intense (Indian
summer, in-your-face shakespearean theatrics) for toddlers -
but FABULOUS for anyone age 4 to 99. I also enjoy the
Vallejo Pirate Festival on Father's Day, but there are a lot
of cannons going off, plus big inebriated people with
Hopland Solar Living festival
San Francisco Carnaval (May)
Berkeley Kite Festival
How Berkeley Can you Be?
San Francisco Sunday Streets
I think Niles occasionally has events relating to Charlie
Chaplin and choo-choo trains.
I'm not associated with Steven Restivo productions, but they
put on a lot of good events, so check their web site.
Also check local park & rec web sites - Berkeley, Oakland,
Albany, Alameda, Fremont all have cool stuff going on that
they announce periodically.
yea, verily, foresooth
My family is going to High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy this
summer. It is a 4 day camping festival over July 4 weekend. We've
done this twice before but this time we have a 3.5 yr old and a 9
month old. The weather is usually very hot during the day and
cold at night, and dry. Facilities are limited (some showers, a
few bathrooms, mostly porta potties) and the campgrounds are very
crowded so we won't have a whole lot of space. Has anyone been to
a camping music festival with kids and how did you like it? What
tips do you have and what would you do differently? I'm worried
about keeping the kids comfortable during the hot sunny days and
warm enough at night. Our baby usually sleeps with us so it'd be
easiest to continue that arrangement in the tent, but how do I do
that with sleeping bags? Any veterans of High Sierra have any
input? What child activities did you like?
We have done High Sierra the last two summers with our daughter
(1.5 and 2.5y at the times)and it was great! Here are my
- A big wagon to drag them around in, with a sunshade if
possible- my daughter often fell asleep in the wagon, padded
with blankets. We used the plastic little tykes one, and it
rolled everywhere easily
- Stay in the family camp area if you want quiet at night (we
didn't last year and it was fine for us, but it definitely
- Definitely get the family pass for the pool- we went every day
last year when the temp was 105. Having the pass also lets you
not wait in line as long when the pool is crowded. There are
also good showers at the pool, so that is where we mostly got
- Earplugs- there are some great soft, waxy ones that they sell
in most drugstores- you basically can break to be the right
size and smoosh them into the kids ears so it covers the
opening- this let our daughter sleep through concerts in the
evening and we knew we were protecting her hearing for the rest
of the shows
The kids area could be better, but they did have some nice
shade to relax in and some good toys, and arts/crafts/playdoh
for a nice break. The kids parade is fun, but I think more for
Oh- and bring any fun dress up clothes for your older one if
he/she is into that...
Have a great time! We are sadly not going this year, but will
likely be back next year. Last year after we came home, my
daughter was playing ''music festival'' for weeks- she would
climb in and out of her play tent and say, ''Now let's go hear
We have a pass to the High Sierra Music Festival happening in
Quincy this June and would love to hear about anyone's
experience. We are two adults, a seven and a three y.o.
Was it a good experience for the kids? Too crowded? Too smokey?
Too loud? Too too?!
Is there good swimming on the grounds? Enough showers? Any info
would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
Not with the band
My husband and I attended High Sierra Music Festival twice before kids
and loved it; we went last year, and will wait another year or so before
going again when the kids are a little older--but I think your kids at
their ages (and you parents) would have a blast. It felt very
''child-friendly''; dedicated kid-music stage all day, activities and
play area for the kids; lots of families. We had no interest in camping
on site (seemed a shame with such beautiful wilderness all around to camp
in a parking lot), so we opted to drive in each day from a campground
near Buck's Lake http://www.plumascounty.org/Camping/BucksLake.htm
We had a great time camping there-it was beautiful and only about a 20-30
minute pleasant drive into the festival. Our problem was that both kids
still needed naps during the day, so it was logistically not very easy to
coordinate that with coming and going to the festival. Hope that helps!
My husband and I went with our daughter the last two years (3 months and
15 months). It's a great place and you can totally create your own
experience. Some of the stages are loud, so we just stayed in the very
back where my daughter could play and dance. But there are 4 stages so
you are guarunteed to find a kind of music/volume that you like. I saw
lots of kids there having a blast. There is a pool right outside the
gates and we went there every day for a couple hours to get out of the
heat. Showers exist, but there are lines. I showered at the pool cause
it didn't take as long, or if you are up early with kids the lines aren't
that bad. It's a fun way for me and my husband to hear music, see our
friends and spend time with our daughter. Go for it .
I'm not with the band, either, but I've been going to High Sierra for 9
years. In fact, up until this year, my husband and I have worked or
volunteered for the festival because we love it so much. We even spent
our honeymoon there! That said, we only started taking our daughter last
year when she was 2 1/2. We decided to wait because she was a bad napper
and a very ''spirited'' baby and toddler. We were afraid that the noise
at night would freak her out or that she would wake everyone else at
5AM. Here's my experience of HSMF with a child:
Get a car pass or else you'll have to cart the kids and all of your stuff
on a bus from the lot to the festival. Camp in the Shady Grove family
area furthest from the main stage: it's shady and quieter at night. Bring
a wagon (or bikes)for transporting stuff all over the festival. If you
can, bring an extra adult so that you and your spouse can have some alone
time for the night shows. There's a kids' area with programs (and
clowns)all day long, as well as a parade. The pool is right next to the
fairgrounds (near Shady Grove), but it gets crowded, so be prepared for
standing in line. Kids have a great time, and festival folks LOVE kids.
Some considerations, though...The late-
night shows can go until 4AM sometimes, and the woodmill next door goes
all night, so it's not a silent night. Also, you should be comfortable
having your kids around partying people...because they're everywhere!
HSMF is not as family-
friendly as Strawberry, but if your kids like music, they'll have a good
time. Unfortunately for me, my daughter loved everything EXCEPT the music
last year! See ya there!
Any recommendations, advice about going to Hardly Strictly
Bluegrass with kids?We've recently been venturing out with our
kids to free concerts in the city (Stern Grove in particular).
And feel we've learned the tips and tricks to making it a fun
experience. Has anyone taken preschoolers there and would
recommend it? I imagine transportation/ parking will be the big
Old timey family
We've gone to this every year - both with and without our kids. I have to say
it's WAY more fun without them. That said, we've gone with friends who have a
six year old & we have a six year old and a two year old. When the six year
olds were babies, it was a breeze. Once they turned about 3 or 4, it became a
bit of a drag - just because sitting around listening to music isn't their
thing. Two years ago they made a mad dash & got away from us during a point
when the crowd was all standing. What a nightmare to find them again. Last
year we hired sitters and had a great time sans kids. So, I'd say, it's doable
with kids but be on your toes, be ready with some fun blanket toys and
distractions and be ready to wander around a lot (and hear a lot of whining...)
-Getting a sitter this year, too!
We went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass two years ago when Dolly Parton was there.
Our kids were 5 and 6. We took BART from Oakland, transferred to the N Judah,
got off at 19th Ave. and walked into the park. That wasn't the best route as
it was a pretty long walk to the actual location. Coming back out we caught
the bus up Fulton, which is the closest. However, we had to wait for several
very full buses to pass by first. So either you need to frame out the day in
everyone's minds as a BART/bus adventure along with walking around to all the
different stages, or I think I'd recommend driving, parking somewhere in the
Richmond district a few blocks away, and either walking or busing from there.
Not the best eco-option, but with two little ones it may save your sanity. As
far as the festival itself, the headliner stage you won't be able to get near
at all, but the rest of the stages will be fine. And even though you can't get
near the headliner stage, you'll obviously be able to hear just fine. Honestly, I'm not quite sure it was worth it.....but
maybe if we had started out going into the park in the right place, my
recommendation might be different!
We are planning to go to the Strawberry Music Festival over Labor Day weekend this
year. We have never been before and are taking our 7-year old son along. I
understand that the festival is very spread out, with lots of different camping areas
and activity areas. I would like to find out which areas are the best for camping with
a child. Is there such thing as a ''quiet'' area? Also, what advice do you have for
what to bring? Do most people cook or buy food there? Any advice is greatly
Strawberry is MADE FOR KIDS! There are plenty of camping areas
that are fairly quiet. Just look for an area that has lots of
families and it will be pretty quiet. We always try to stay near
hidden meadow loop. During the day the lake area is filled with
kids activities and the music is nearly always enchanting to the
kids while it's on at the main stage. This is my six and a half
year olds 5th festival upcoming and he looks forward to it all
year long. I hope you're planning on going with a couple of
other families as this makes it even more enjoyable, you can
share child care etc... THis is by far the best kid friendly
multi day music festival experience that I've attended in the
Strawberry is a great place for kids. There are kid activities
for all ages, including lots of art and make-it-yourself
activities for the 7 year old, storytime, songtime, a beach, and
a lake. However there is really no such thing as a ''quiet zone'',
except by agreement of a few people camping together. It is
considered pretty much OK to have music jams late into the night.
These are never obnoxious in the wild party sense... but the
better the music the more likely it is to keep going. Food is
readily available for purchase, pretty good, and not so painfully
expensive. Many many people visit Strawberry every year, camp
with the same group in the same traditional spot, and cook great
We've been taking our Daughter to Strawberry since she was an
infant. When you go in, veer to the left toward the store and
camp in the area behind the store. It's near a playground and
not too far from the lake. This area is more quiet than the
areas closer to the stage, but you can never be guaranteed a
quiet camping spot. Part of the charm of Strawberry is people
getting together and jamming on acoustical instruments late into
the night. Think of it as live lullabies. The food for sale
there is fine. To make things easy, we usually just bring lunch
and snack food and buy the rest. As for what to bring: DO
prepare to rain!! It doesn't always happen, but if it does,
you'll be MUCH happier if you came prepared.
this page was last updated: Apr 14, 2011
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