First time at a festival?…

Elderflower Fields is the perfect first festival for families with kids, but planning can be a bit overwhelming if you’re new to festivals. This beginner’s guide should give you a good idea of what to bring and what to expect when you get here.

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. The vast majority of activities and entertainment at Elderflower Fields are drop in and free, just check when and where they’re happening in your programme (pick one up when you arrive) and then turn up. But a few activities you need to book online in advance including our free Sports and Arts camps. Head to the activities booking page here to learn more and reserve your space.

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 – treatments cost £60 for an hour session. For full details of what’s on offer and to book, visit the spa page here.

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

What to Pack

Tickets? Check! Children? Check! It’s tempting when packing for an outdoor camping trip to bring everything just in case. But remember, unless you’re in the live-in vehicle field, you’re going to have to lug all of that stuff 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… 

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. But if you’re thinking about bringing your lovely canvas bell tent, do remember you’ve got to get it from your car to the campsite and back again so bring a trolley if you need to. 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 nights 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 clothes 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 that everyone can enjoy the stars! Bring torches to help avoid tripping over other people’s guy ropes and maybe a lantern for inside the tent.

Clothing & fancy dress. We probably sound like your mum, but pack clothing 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, so make sure you bring wellies and raincoats as well as flip flops and sun cream. You can also pack your Elderflower Fields T-shirts available to pre-order only here. Fancy dress is strongly encouraged for everyone, especially on Sunday for our big family dance-off after the birthday parade. Elderflower Fields is a festival – dress in your finest, let your hair down, and have a dance. Honestly, you’ll love it!

Food and Drink. Our food and drink vendors offer a huge selection of fantastic quality meals for the whole family. It’s not a bad 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 we ask you to consider the environment in what you pack, leaving excess packaging at home, and please, no glass whatsoever. In the event of exceptionally dry weather a fire ban may be impossed. 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. 

Cups, mugs and water bottles. BRING BACK YOUR CUPS! Every year we produce hundreds of reusable cups for the bars. Reuse yours to save an extra £1 on your first drink. A limited number of 10th anniversary souvenir cups will also be available from our merchandise tent.

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

Using your own coffee cup for your 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… Do make sure you 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. If you bring any of the following items, you’ll either have them confiscated or be asked to leave the festival so don’t get caught out! Glass – decant before you leave home. No glass whatsoever is allowed on site because it can be so dangerous to barefooted children and animals if broken. No Chinese lanterns. No pets or animals. No sound systems. Make sure you check the festival terms & conditions for a full list of what is and isn’t allowed.

When You Arrive

The chances are, if you’ve got kids, camping gear and supplies for the weekend, you’ll be coming 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, keep an eye out for the yellow AA signs which will direct you to the site entrance.

Plan your arrival time. The site opens at 12noon on Friday 27th May 2022. You won’t be allowed onto the festival site or into the car parks before that, so please don’t arrive earlier. Peak times are on Friday between 12 and 2pm and again between 4 and 7pm. but we aim to get everyone on site as quickly and safely as possible. Note that the gates 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 in to the festival site, you’ll be directed where to park – make sure you tell the car parking stewards if you have booked glamping, or if you 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. 

Once you’re at your chosen campsite, find a spot to pitch up, and then find a visual marker so that you the kids can find where the tent is. 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. We’ve got a great team of stewards there who’ll help reunite you. Take time when you arrive to locate the Info Tent on the site map and explain to your kids that’s where they should head if they get lost.

Phone charging. Phone charging is available at the info tent.

Babies & Toddlers. We try to make Elderflower Fields the perfect first festival for small kids, but be aware, it’s a hilly and in places a rough and wild site. Walking around all day can be tiring for little legs so bring a sturdy all terrain buggy or a trolley. Pushchairs with small wheels can be especially difficult to get around the site. There will be a feeding and nappy change tipi 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. There are no cash points on site, but our food and drink vendors this year will accept card payments. We recommend you bring a card for contactless payment and also a little cash as you’ll need a £20 refundable cash deposit (per headphone set) if you wish to take part in the silent disco. Please do not bring valuables or leave them unattended in cars or tents.

What3Words. A really 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 totally free to use and can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. 

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 mini guide when you arrive (you can also pick these up from the Info Tent) which will have full listings of what’s on when and where, so have a browse and then relax and enjoy Elderflower Fields :-)