First time at a festival?…

Elderflower Fields is the perfect first festival for those with young children, but planning can be a little overwhelming if you’re new to this kind of camping experience. This beginner’s guide will give you a good idea of what to bring and what to expect when you arrive.

Before You Leave

Before you leave home, in fact right now, there are a few things you can do which will help your festival experience be more fun.

Firstly, book into activities. Many of the activities at Elderflower Fields are drop in and free, just check when and where they’re happening in the programme you’ll be given when you arrive, turn up, and take part. There’s everything from silly sports and science experiments to fire starting and arts camp! Check out our programme page here. Some activities are offered as optional extras and can be booked in advance to help you plan a little. Please see the activities that carry a fee as optional extras – there’s heaps of Elderflower Fields fun to keep the kids busy all weekend without them. More details can be found on the programme page, but an overview of all the bookable activities here.

Another thing you might want to consider before you leave home is accommodation and how you’ll carry your camping kit across the festival. The best way to experience Elderflower Fields is under canvas – there’s really nothing better. We keep the campsites quite dark, so with clear skies you’ll get a spectacular starry display thrown in for free! If you bring your own tent and pitch in one of the three family campsites, then there is nothing extra to pay once you have your festival ticket.

Some people, however, prefer a little more comfort and if the thought of having to put up a tent terrifies you, why not hire a beautiful, pre-pitched tent in our boutique camping area? Full details on the glamping page here.

If a little luxury is something that appeals, the last thing you can book in advance is a treatment in our fabulous Woodland Spa. It’s a great way to unwind while the kids are enjoying the activities – book yourself into the Woodland Spa for a massage and/or Wild Spa hot tub and sauna.

You can also take advantage of our Mortimer Nannies service with their ‘Stay Up Late’ sessions here.

What to Pack

Tickets? Check! Children? Check! When packing for an outdoor camping trip it’s tempting to bring everything just in case. But remember, unless you’re in the live-in vehicle field, you’ll need to lug everything from the car park to the campsite and back up the hill again! We can’t emphasize enough how much easier your experience will be if you pack light and bring a sturdy buggy or trolly to move things.

Here’s our list of what to bring and what not to bring.

Tent. Obviously. Unless you have booked one of our pre-erected glamping options. If you’re thinking of bringing your lovely canvas bell tent, remember you’ve got to get it from your car to the campsite and back again. We do not have a trolly hire service. A mallet is also useful. The campsites are spacious, but please don’t bring gazebos or other big shelters and be considerate to fellow campers.

Mattresses and bedding. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows and roll mats. Nothing is worse than feeling like you can’t get a good night’s sleep and it can be surprisingly cold in the middle of the night. It’s also a good idea to keep spare blankets and a set of dry clothes for everyone in the car, just in case.

Torches/lights. The main roads and paths around the festival site are quite well-lit, but we intentionally keep the campsites a little dark so everyone can enjoy the stars. Bring torches to help avoid tripping over other people’s guy ropes and to see what you are doing inside the tent. Solar fairy lights are also helpful for spotting your tent. 

Clothes. We probably sound like your mum, but pack clothes for all eventualities, even if the forecast is great! It is possible to have an amazing festival experience in the wet provided you’re properly equipped. Pack wellies and raincoats as well as flip-flops and sun cream and leave what you don’t need in the car.

Fancy dress. Fancy dress is strongly encouraged for everyone, especially on Sunday for our big family dance-off. Elderflower Fields is a festival – dress to impress!

Food & drink Our vendors offer a huge selection of quality meals for everyone. It’s a good idea to bring some snacks and drinks to keep the kids happy back at camp, but you don’t need to bring food for the whole weekend. If you plan to cook, consider the environment when you pack. Leave excess packaging at home, and please, no glass whatsoever. In the event of exceptional dry weather, a fire ban may be imposed. We will announce this on social media and in our final newsletter to ticket holders if there is a camping stove and BBQ ban. Take a look at the food and drink page to see what’s on offer this year. 

Alcohol.Those over 18 are allowed to bring their own alcohol for personal consumption in the campsites/live-in vehicle field only. Please only bring a reasonable amount per person and note that this shall not be permitted into the festival arena, where we have fully licensed bars available. Re-stocking from off-site is not permitted, and there is a site wide glass ban. We reserve the right to confiscate alcohol in breach of these terms.

Cups, mugs and water bottles. BRING BACK YOUR CUPS! Every year we produce hundreds of reusable cups for the bars. Reuse your bar cups to save waste and money on your first drink. 

Bring a good quality drinking bottle and fill it up with water from the taps around the site which is safe to drink. No single-use plastic bottles are sold on-site so do remember to pack something.

Using your coffee cup for hot drink purchases will save you a cup levy on your morning coffee and help us reduce waste.

Safety & Hygiene. There are free hot showers at Elderflower Fields, but they get super busy in the mornings. Our advice is to go mid-afternoon or very early if you want to avoid queuing. You could also consider no-rinse body wash and dry shampoo. Or, dare we suggest it, not wash for a day or two…

Pack sun cream, ear defenders for any kids not keen on loud music, and a potty if you have small children. Toilets and hand wash stations are located across the site.

What not to bring. The following items will be confiscated and you may be asked to leave the festival so don’t get caught out! Glass – decant before you leave home. Glass can be so dangerous to barefooted children and animals if broken. No Chinese lanterns or glow sticks please – nature hates them! No excessive amounts of alcohol. No pets or animals. No sound systems. Check the festival terms & conditions for a full list of what is and isn’t allowed.

When You Arrive

If you’ve got kids, camping gear and supplies for the weekend, it’s likely you’ll be arriving by car (though that is not the only way to get to Elderflower Fields). Plan your route using the festival postcode: TN22 3HW. As you approach the festival on the A22, look for the yellow AA signs which will direct you to the site entrance.

Plan your arrival time. The site opens at 12noon on Friday 24th May. You won’t be allowed onto the festival site or into the car parks before. Please don’t arrive earlier. Peak times are on Friday between 12 and 2pm and again between 4 and 7pm. We aim to get everyone on site as quickly and safely as possible. Note that the gates & wristband exchange close at 9pm so please arrive in time to park and camp before that time (you don’t want to be putting up your tent in the dark!).

Once on the festival site, you’ll need to show your car park pass to be directed where to park – make sure you tell the car parking stewards if you have booked a live-in vehicle pitch, glamping, or have accessibility requirements. From there you’ll need to walk with all your equipment to the ticketing tent (the absolute furthest this would be is about 500m). There you can exchange your tickets for wristbands and then it’s onwards to the campsites!

Walking is the best way to get you and your kit to the campsites. The furthest you could conceivably camp from the car parks is just over 1km. The nearest is about 50m! It’s downhill from the car park, but remember, this means it’s uphill when it’s time to pack up and go home. A festival trolley is useful if have the room to bring one. We do not have a trolly hire service on site.

Once you’re at your chosen campsite, find a spot to pitch up, and then find a visual marker your kids can use to find your camp Use flags, trees or other structures to help identify your spot. Please be considerate towards your fellow campers – do not reserve large areas around your tent and please, no gazebos.

Other useful stuff

Lost & Found. If you lose a child, parent or possession, the place to go is the Info Tent. The fantastic team of stewards will help reunite you. When you arrive, locate the Info Tent on the site map and explain to your kids this is where they should head if they get lost and that stewards in hi vis vests will help them.

Phone charging. Phone charging is available at the info tent at £2 per hour charge.

Babies & Toddlers. Elderflower Fields the perfect first festival for small kids, but be aware, the site is hilly and in places a rough and wild. Walking around all day can be tiring for little legs. Bring a sturdy all-terrain buggy or a trolley. Small wheels can be difficult to get around the site. A feeding and nappy change tipi is located next to the info tent in the centre of the site where you can relax in relative peace. All main toilet blocks will have one large disabled toilet with a fold-down baby change table.

Money & Security. No cash points on site. Food and drink vendors accept card payments. We recommend you bring a card for contactless payment and a little cash. £20 refundable cash deposit (per headphone set) is needed to take part in the silent disco. Please do not bring valuables or leave them unattended in cars or tents.

What3Words. A useful tool that can help you find your way around the site, locate your tent or car and get help in an emergency. The app is free to use and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. 

Monday Luggage Drop. On Monday a tractor and trailer luggage drop service is offered to help get your camping gear back up the hill to the car park. This will operate every 45 minutes starting at 8am, from the top of the main family camping field, next to the bell tents. Luggage is dropped at a central location in the car park. £2 per item (please do not bundle multiple bags or items together) – pre-book at any point over the weekend via the Info Tent. Please note, this is for luggage only, not people.

And that’s pretty much it. From there on, it’s up to you to explore and find your own wild adventure!… You’ll get a printed festival guide when you arrive (you can also pick these up from the Info Tent). It’s a full listing of what’s on when and where and a digital version is available here.

Relax… let the kids lead the way and enjoy Elderflower Fields :-)