Last weekend, we conquered yet another music festival (Meyer’s third) with the little one in tow acting like seasoned vets. We had so much fun at Arroyo Seco Weekend for the second year in a row and luckily Meyer was an angel for us! Not only was the weather a perfect mix of sunny and breezy, with no humidity like last year, but the atmosphere was so happy and alive. There were so many families in attendance…Dads holding their kid’s hands and Moms pushing strollers around, that we felt right at home. There were a handful of first time music fest parents who were carting around giant wagons stuffed to the brim with every baby product under the sun, and the more experienced music fest junkies whose kids (like mine) were grooving to the music and strutting around with their flower crowns like they owned the place.
With a toddler, you can’t expect to see every band you want, especially when they tend to come on in the evening, so we had to pick and choose who we saw. We enjoyed the music of Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Spitzer Orchestra, Fantastic Negrito, Gary Clark Jr. and Alanis Morissette. Meyer was seriously dancing all over our blanket and I even caught her bobbing her head to the beat while on Anthony’s shoulders a few times. We ate until we couldn’t have another bite and relished in the atmosphere of a great Southern California weekend. I was in heaven sitting in the shade on our Mickey Mouse blanket, sipping my cider from 101 Cider House, enjoying the tunes and magical weather with my family. Being from Maine, I had to try the lobster tacos and lobster Mac and Cheese at Wicked Maine Lobster, which did not disappoint. There was so much lobster piled high on that bowl of creamy mac and cheese, I was shocked! Then we satisfied our sweet tooth with a vegan, gluten-free, organic yogurt cone from Yoga-urt (one scoop strawberry and one scoop vanilla), a vegan chocolate chip cookie from The Naughty Cookie and donuts from Dream Donut Truck. I highly recommend the lemonade donut, it will change your life!
If your kids wanted to explore a little more, you could check out Visions of the Future by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. The cool looking dome had planets hanging from the ceiling, an astronaut photo opportunity and activities for kids with fun ways to learn about the solar system. One of my favorite things about the Arroyo Seco Festival is the Kidsspace Children’s Museum area, which offered drum circles, a play space for toddlers, bubbles and various other activities for kids. They could play with musical instruments, take a photo with a drum set, or make their own guitars and buttons. I encountered another mom inside the play space who admitted that she was a little nervous about bringing her two kids to a music festival for the first time so her and her husband left them at home on Saturday, so they could scope it out without them. She said she felt guilty though once she got to the festival since she saw so many families and kids enjoying the day. She agreed with me that there were a lot of activities for her kids if they got bored with the music but thought next time she would get some headphones for them to muffle the noise. It’s all about being prepared! It doesn’t hurt to bring too much the first time, but you will learn what you need the next time you go. Depending on the venue, low back chairs and a blanket are always key, as well as a stroller or a wagon (depending on how big your kids are), headphones, plenty of sunscreen, wet wipes, antibacterial hand gel, snacks and empty water bottles (they can be filled at the water stations).
As I have said before, music festivals are the perfect place for kids to soak in the culture, tunes and experiences they have to offer. But be prepared, be positive and don’t expect your kid to be perfect. There could be meltdowns that will cause you to miss your favorite bands. There will be potty breaks in the middle of your favorite song, but there will also be memories made and a heck of an awesome weekend for the little one to tell their friends about. Although we didn’t make it to see Kings of Leon (hey, it was a Sunday night and Meyer (also Mommy and Daddy) has a bedtime!) we still had an amazing and memorable weekend and will certainly be back next year for more!
Photo credits: Arroyo Seco Weekend