Essential Festival Tips For Teenagers & Their Parents

Essential Festival Tips For Teenagers & Their Parents

The festival season is upon us again and for many teenagers attending their first festival is an undisputed rite of passage, as they celebrate the end of exams and enjoy some quasi adult independence.

As a parent it can be a testing time but it can be made easier.  The first time my eldest teen went I spent days, (maybe weeks) talking to not only parents of teenagers that had already been, but also young twenty somethings full of festival “know-how”.

Now it is me that friends are contacting for advice so for those who maybe in a similar situation this year with their own teenager here are my top tips for reducing your stress and making their experience a lot easier.

  • Ticket PDF: we learnt the hard way!  Make sure they download a PDF of their ticket onto their phone in case they forget the paper version!
  • Tent: Don’t send them with your best “family” tent, as it will smell like an underground toilet as people stumble past and pee at will in the middle of the night.  Buy a cheap pop up festival tent from Argos which they can just leave behind. It is also a good idea to buy one slightly bigger than they need so there is room for them to store their kit and still have room to collapse after a day’s partying.
  • Tent Finder App: Gone are the days of attaching a flag to your tent to help you locate it amidst the sea of tents, now finding your tent in the middle of the night has just been made easier with the launch of a new app from Boutique Camping that lets you mark where you pitch your tent using GPS and then is saved as a pin on your phone map – genius!
  • Phone+Portable Charger: They will get separated from their friends and will regret it if they don’t take their phones. Most festivals have lockers for hire and come with charging sockets which are worth hiring otherwise get a portable charger which they can use to charge their phone several times over.
  • Bum-Bag: To store their valuables when they are partying.
  • Wellies: They are ubiquitous with festivals but there are 2 important things to bear in mind, firstly don’t send them with cheap ones or they will return with blisters aplenty after days of sweaty dancing and secondly they will want a change of footwear at some point – wellies 24/7 is really only for the foolhardy or for those that just don’t dance!
  • Mac-In-A-Sac: Even if the forecast is non-stop sunshine, remember this is England after-all.
  • Headtorch: For those moments when they may need to find the loo in the middle of the night and want their hands free.
  • Bin-bags: To store dirty clothes, rubbish and stick over any holes that may appear in their tent.
  • Giant Wet Wipes: These are a shower in a bag essentially and as the novelty of being dirty wears off after 36 hours, they will thank you for forcing that extra packet in their rucksack as they head out of the door.
  • Deodorant/Toothpaste: No explanation needed, but make sure it is a roll-on deodorant, our teenager had his spray can confiscated in a bag search at his last festival.
  • Plastic Bottles:  Some festivals are more rigorous than others, but glass bottles are a no-go so decant liquids into plastic bottles to ensure they can keep hold of it.
  • Food: Festival food is expensive and even teenagers have a limit on how many buns they can eat containing a variety of meat.  Fruit in a tin is perfect for those mornings when they wake up wanting something resembling fresh and juicy, plus it will help to get their blood sugar up.  Beyond The Beaten Track is also a good range of hot meal kits recommended by DoE, but they will need a stove.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Festivals are germ farms and anti-bacterial gel is a necessity before they tuck into their festival grub, to avoid spending days huddled in a tent with food poisoning.
  • Loo Roll: They can never have too much!
  • Medical Kit: Neurofen (because they will get a headache!) and blister plasters!
  • Berocca: A high dose of vitamins and energy in a tablet for the days when they are wilting and need a pick-me-up.
  • Sunscreen: All teenagers dismiss it, but sunstroke is not a good look when you are trying to be festival cool.
  • First Aid by British Red Cross: Medical assistance is widely available at festivals but sometimes problems arise that need immediate attention.  When my teenager choked it was the fast reaction of a friend that saved him.  This app from the British Red Cross is full of practical tips on handling everyday scenarios.
  • Water: For re-hydrating and cleaning.

A final word of warning goes to the parents….Teenagers like to think they are invincible but humans were not designed to withstand 3-5 days of continuous drinking, eating rubbish food, jumping and sleep deprivation, they will return smelly, grumpy and exhausted and totally disinclined to answer any questions.  Expect grunting of a disproportionate nature from anything you may have experienced before and for them to sleep for close to 24 hours – yes seeing is believing!

Do you have any top tips to share?  Please let me know in the comments.

Editor’s note:  This post was first published last year and has been recently updated with some new tips. 


A teenage girl at a festival holding her hands in the air and making a heart sign.






  1. June 26, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    The tent finder app sounds like a great idea! And this post is just packed full of useful tips! My kids are a long way from going to festivals yet, but I’m sharing this for any friends who have older kids! #blogcrush
    Lucy At Home recently posted…My Big, Fat Blogging Secret: Should I Stay Anonymous?My Profile

    • Jo
      June 23, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Oh wow that is so fabulous thank you so much – I am new to the blog crush will have to check it out. I really enjoy yours too. It is great to find another like-minded spirit and hopefully we will get to meet one day. Have a fab weekend. x

      • Oldhouseintheshires
        June 24, 2017 / 3:39 pm

        Oh definitely! I love reading your blog…..this post is very topical as Daughter wants to go to Reading….hoo hum. X
        Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…Tips for New BloggersMy Profile

        • Jo
          June 24, 2017 / 4:38 pm

          I look forward to reading about how she gets on. The year my son went it was a washout – the fields were more akin to a mud bath so pitching a tent was tough. She will have a fabulous time though and it has to be done. Have you seen those great cotton sleeping bags by Sleeping Beauties? Discovered them yesterday and am definitely getting one for my daughter. Perfect if it is hot which of course it should be in August.

    • Jo
      June 23, 2017 / 8:55 am

      It is a real eye opener. I never did festivals as a teen but my eldest is definitely hooked. Thanks for popping by.

  2. June 16, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    Oh Gosh it’s a right of passage isn’t it? This is such a useful post Jo and one that parents of teens will be bookmarking, including me. I have to say that it sounds like hell on earth to me. Someone peeing on my tent! No thank you!
    Sharon Parry recently posted…Tweens, Teens and Beyond Linky #12My Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      It is also addictive. Once they have mastered their first festival there seems to be no stopping them. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. June 16, 2017 / 11:04 am

    I think I’ll be bookmarking this post to come back to when my lot decide to festival!Great tips. Love the tent tracker app idea!! #teenstweensbeyond
    Daydreamer Mum recently posted…Out of my handsΒ My Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 3:56 pm

      I am a bit of a sucker for other people’s top tips. My teens hate it but I am of the opinion you can never be knowingly under-prepared. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. June 15, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    My festival days pre-dated wet wipes, hand santizers and the like …. I must have smelt and looked rank by the time we got home. Fortunately all the photos are long gone πŸ™‚ But I had the best time πŸ™‚ Great tips.

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      Yes they have it easy really in comparison but the smell of my son when he returned from his first festival will stay with me forever. #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. June 15, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    mmmmm Jo – you aren’t doing it for me. Wee smelling tent – not that we own one of course but well if we did!!!! Giant wet wipes – wow do they exist? Tent finders – again wow – that would save me if nothing else did. I know you aren’t talking about the adults but this is something we may need to do in the interim. And the thought of someone p’ing up the tent!!! #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:16 pm

      Sorry if I have put you off Nicky. Not my cup of tea at all I am afraid, love my creature comforts too much. #TweensTeensBeyond

  6. June 15, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    I’d add – start taking kids with you from an early age – so wehn they go alone they are old hands at it all!! Great Post #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:30 pm

      Great advice. I have read a lot of posts about parents introducing their youngsters to festivals and always thought how brave they are but it must make it second nature for them as they grow up. #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. June 15, 2017 / 2:20 am

    Mine has some social anxiety , as does her mom, so festivals haven’t been a big thing for us. I also was at Woodstock 99 when all the rioting and burning went on. It was an unbelievable weekend and experience that I’m glad I had, but I think I’ll stick to club shows nowadays! #teenstweensbeyond
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Social Media and Teenage StupidityMy Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      Oh you and me both Jeremy. I have to confess to also being in the group that likes a seat rather than standing too. #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. June 14, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Those are great tips! I went to a couple of festivals as a teenager and even 25 years ago I had most of those things with me! Apart from the mobile phone and the tent-finder app, of course. My son has done a lot of camping with Scouts, Explorers, DofE etc, but I’m not looking forward to when he upgrades to festivals!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Going to the circus with my daughterMy Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Oh Sarah you sound like an old hand at this and your son will take it all in his stride if he has done the DofE expeditions. In fact it was that I think that saved my son. #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. Alisa
    June 14, 2017 / 1:54 pm

    I must admit that my inner environmentalist is cringing at the idea of all those cheap tents being treated so disposably. I’m kind of in the same boat as Stevie from A Cornish Mum. But great tips (even just for my own camping trips!). We have a few years yet, but I am in no doubt that my daughter will definitely want to get on board with festival-going!

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:20 pm

      Rest assured everyone does it and they are recycled by the festival organisers. It is almost uncool to be a teenager that hasn’t been to a festival nowadays. #TweensTeensBeyond

  10. June 14, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Wow, this is pretty thorough and made the checklist-er in me take a big leap of joy πŸ˜€

    Those are some valuable tips and I hope it comes in handy for people who are planning to organise concert trips for their kids.

    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Confessions of an Exhausted MomMy Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:21 pm

      A woman after my own heart. I love a list and particularly one packed with top tips. Thanks for your comment. #TweensTeensBeyond

  11. Oldhouseintheshires
    June 13, 2017 / 9:35 pm

    A tent finder App?? Who knew? That’s awesome! My daughter went to Glastonbury last year aged 16. Very,very scary for me! I was like, “how you going to get there?” Oooh ummmm. “How will you pay for the ticket?” Oooh ummmm. It made her realise quite quickly that there was a lot to organise! In the end a dad of a friend went too as “the adult on site” that said had to be there?!! They also stayed together (or told me they did!). I knew I could trust her but it was scary just to let her go….until I saw her in the second row watching Cold Play and then I was just majorly jealous! This year she wants to go to Reading but this time, there in no adult on site so again, I’m scared. I will let her though….I trust her and we have to let them do these things… let me look into that Tent Finder App…..thanks. Great post. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Oldhouseintheshires recently posted…My Glorious Gardens series: Middlewick House Open Gardens in June.My Profile

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Oh she will love Reading and yes the Tent Finder App is a must have for there as well as turning up early to get your tent pitched in a good spot. #TweensTeensBeyond

  12. June 13, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Oh my word, the giant wet wipes are genius! Is it okay to admit I was scared of sending my kids to one of these festivals the whole time I read this? Ask me again in five years when my oldest is 18. πŸ™‚


    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      You maybe lucky and avoid the whole thing but I think it comes to all teenagers at some point, although not so sure about my youngest. As a redhead she doesn’t do well outdoors for long periods. #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:26 pm

      Yes Kim you have other teen hurdles to cross first. #TweensTeensBeyond

  13. June 13, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Mine aren’t quite old enough to go to festivals overnight yet (do we even have them in NZ??) but it made me laugh to read about the tent smelling of pee!! Oh… such things to look forward to!

    • Jo
      June 19, 2017 / 4:27 pm

      I am sure you do. Can imagine you have the perfect outdoor environment for them. Never a dull moment with a teen. #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. June 13, 2017 / 7:39 am

    I can’t help but feel excited. Since my kids are not yet teens and the tress is a little in the future all I can see is how much fun the kids will have.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Welcome vanityMy Profile

  15. June 13, 2017 / 3:41 am

    oh the tent, O M G, the teen brought it home but left it under his bed, it was an Argos pop up one, i thought he’d left it behind, weeks later there was a stench from his room and i actually gagged, he’d rolled it up, wet and with food inside it, i could’ve killed him
    chickenruby recently posted…My Sunday Photo – Week 128 K is for KhalasMy Profile

    • Jo
      June 13, 2017 / 5:57 am

      OMG indeed! That is totally revolting and hilarious at the same time Suzanne. I would have gone loopy. The second year my son went I told him to dump any clothing/shoes that could not be salvaged before he came home as the first year there were some items he brought back that were indescribable. It is funny as as a general rule he hates camping but festivals clearly bring out the worst in people. Thanks for sharing your horror story. x

  16. June 13, 2017 / 1:24 am

    oh my gosh you are completely freaking me out! AHHHH. Is it ok to just keep her locked up in our home for the foreseeable future? OK probably not legal, but I am not ready for this. Great tips though I will keep a record of this post!
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…walking through the mist #livingfearlesslyauthenticMy Profile

  17. August 23, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    A great list here for any parent with teenagers going to festivals. My festival days are long gone, well those that involve a tent and no shower, and instead we opt for the day festivals now that we have a baby. You’ve listed some brilliant tips, especially the tins of fruit, as you do get a bit of sick after burgers after day 2, however the food now is festivals is pretty impressive with a wide range of offer – but it can be pricy. I hope that they festival experience goes well…..oh and don’t forget the suntan lotion. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…The Partner’s View – Upside MumMy Profile

    • Jo
      August 28, 2016 / 9:53 pm

      You sound like you are a pro! Good point on the suntan lotion, the teenager got sunstroke after 5 days in the Cornish heat without it and a hat – he had them when he left but they were swiftly lost. #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. August 19, 2016 / 11:42 pm

    One thing with taking a pop-up tent to leave behind, hopefully they’ll pop them in the bin as I have just seen photos of the aftermath of Boardmasters down here and it is pretty shocking the level of disgusting mess. That many teenagers in one place it is bound to happen though πŸ˜‰ I hope he had a great time down here, some fab tips here. Thanks for linking up to #PicknMix

    Stevie x
    A Cornish Mum recently posted…Pick β€˜n Mix Fridays – 19th August 2016My Profile

    • Jo
      August 21, 2016 / 10:02 pm

      You are right but sadly I think the aftermath of festivals is never a pleasure to behold with that many people in one place for five consecutive days. Hopefully the money they charge for the tickets and food etc covers the cost of a good clean up operation and if it doesn’t it should, particularly for the benefit of the locals in the areas of all these festivals. The flipside of course is the boost to the local economy which must be extensive. #PickNMix

  19. Jo
    August 19, 2016 / 10:21 pm

    Yes my youngest is 13 and I know that I will be approaching the whole festival thing differently with her, in the meantime she is lurking in the background picking up tips! #anythinggoes

  20. Mud cakes and wine
    August 19, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    Brilliant post, brought back a few memories ? great ideas too. Mine are only 6,4 and 7 months but still want to learn #picknmix

    • Jo
      August 19, 2016 / 9:48 pm

      Happy memories I hope??!! At least you will be well prepared. Thanks for commenting. #picknmix

  21. August 19, 2016 / 10:47 am

    Great advice though after reading it I am dreading my daughter being old enough to go to a festival! haha #picknmix

    • Jo
      August 19, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      If you are prepared it makes it easier….felt much better about it this year than last. #picknmix

  22. Petite Pudding
    August 18, 2016 / 8:39 pm

    Ah we have all this to come – I remember my own festival days and wish I had packed half of the things on this list! #BigPinkLink
    Petite Pudding recently posted…Top Tips for Raising Children with DogsMy Profile

    • Jo
      August 19, 2016 / 8:33 am

      Not sure why I never got into the whole festival thing, maybe I will have to give a go. Thanks for commenting. My daughter is desperate for a dog so will be popping over to read your tips. #BigPinkLink

  23. August 15, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    This is a brilliant list, I’ll be referring to it next time we’re off to a festival. And I completely agree about wet wipes and hand sanitiser. Love the suggestion of a head torch, you really don’t want to be taking a hand held torch to a port-a-loo in the middle of the night!! Thank you for linking to #bigpinklink

    • Jo
      August 15, 2016 / 9:45 pm

      Glad you have learnt something new even as an old hand. #bigpinklink

    • Jo
      August 19, 2016 / 8:31 am

      Glad you found it useful. The more tips the better for me. Thanks for commenting. #bigpinklink

  24. August 15, 2016 / 8:06 pm

    Mine haven’t ventured to festivals yet, however, this is brilliant advice from a woman who knows – thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ Alison x #AnythingGoes

    • Jo
      August 15, 2016 / 9:44 pm

      All advice is good advice I think. Good luck for the day it they do head off. #anythinggoes

    • Jo
      August 19, 2016 / 8:29 am

      They will soon enough and it is great fun. The washing when they get back isn’t of course. #AnythingGoes

  25. August 15, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    Ahhh. Thanks for this! My youngest is off to Reading next week and that list you’ve shared is ideal! Didn’t think about a torch or Berocca but def makes sense! I wish my girl hadn’t gone for the early bird tickets – just means she has even more days to start getting smelly and drunk (oh god help me!) My 20 year old son has been and told her not to bother with earlybird because by the time it starts in earnest, she’ll be exhausted and ready to get home! Lovely helpful post – glad I found you! Thanks. Lisa xx @ukglowology

    • Jo
      August 15, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      So glad you found it useful..The great thing about the early bird tickets is you get the best spots for camping so surprised your son said that..may need to add that point. Hope she enjoys it. xxx

  26. August 13, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    Great tips! I don’t have teenagers but this all sounds like very sensible information, and I’m sure the packing list will be useful to anyone thinking of attending a festival, teenager or not. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Jo
      August 13, 2016 / 6:00 pm

      Thanks Elaine – you can never have enough top tips I find. #fortheloveofBLOG

  27. August 11, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    That brings back lots of memories of my first Reading and Glastonbury festivals, albeit they were actually pretty affordable back in the 90s!! A hat is generally useful if it’s a sunny one – all the rest of the things you mention are essential with as much waterproof bags as you can fit in especially as cheapo tents tend to flood with condensation and soak all of your clean stuff!! #BloggerClubUK

    • Jo
      August 11, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Yes of course – the hat! Although I had that discussion with my son as he headed off and he said “It will ruin my hair!!!” I should add he is sporting a buzz cut so was mildly amused! #BloggerClubUK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
%d bloggers like this: