Feeding a family at a festival

The Dead Good Burritto Company

A few people have asked me about food at a festival – mainly in terms of how expensive is it, especially when you’re taking a family with you. You could easily buy every meal out, but that would have blown our budget feeding 5 people three times a day plus snacks! You could also completyl self-cater for every meal… but what we opted for was to take food for breakfast/lunch/snacks and then buy an evening meal each day.

Camp Bestival has an amazing array of food stalls, and to be fair, they were pretty reasonably priced and tasted fantastic too! We found a great pizza stall that satisfied even my fussiest eater, Baya. Kiki was excited to find mushy peas WITH mint sauce{!} and there was a stall in the soul journey that offered mexican food – I had there mixed plate with tortillas, salsa, sour cream, rice and veggie chili more than once.

With such a choice of incredible food on offer, it would be a shame ot not be able to try at least some of it out. By eating out for dinner each night, we got to sample some of the delights while sticking to our budget.

We ate breakfast in the tent, and made sure we were all full before we headed out for the day. I packed a picnic each day with plenty of snacks to keep us going. I don’t know about anyone else, but if my kids get hungry then they need to eat NOW! So having snacks to hand avoided having to buy costly snacks multiple times each day. We made sure there were plenty of bits at the tent too if we were in need of supper before we crashed each night.

Here’s a list of food we took with us:

Essentials
Tea
Coffee
Orange/Apple Juice
Milk {we took two 1-litre bottles, and froze one before we went}
Squash – it was incredibly hot last year and we drank tonnes. We took juice bottles into the arena each day, there are water taps where you can fill up for free. This year we have these super concentrated squash’s to throw in our day bag, I use them really weak to just add a hint of flavour for my ‘won’t drink water’ five year old!}
Alcohol – obvs not for me this year! But last year I took some cider, and G took some cans of lager to have when we were at the tent. Remember that most festivals don’t let you take in glass bottles, so any spirits will need decanting before you go. Also some may have guidelines on how much alcohol they allow you to take onto the campsite.

Breakfast
Cereal – we took a couple of those mini selection packs, the girls ate them when they first woke up each day. Also useful for supper!
Brioche – transports easily, yummy toasted with a little jam!
Sausage/Bacon
Baps – we had a veggie sausage or bacon butty each day for breakfast too… turned out great to have a nice full tummy and lots of fuel to start a busy day

Lunch/Snacks for day time
Wraps – easier to transport than sliced bread
Cheese – I took a box of cheese I grated at home for putting in our wraps
Fruit – apples/oranges/bananas – easy fruits to throw in your daybag with out getting squished
Crisps
Cereal Bars
Individual Cake bars
Mini boxes of raisins
Oatcakes/Mini breadsticks

We take anything that needs keeping cool in a cool box. Last year we filled the cool box with ice for a few hours before we needed to pack the food in so it was good and cold. Make sure everything going in is cold, and fill it right up. Stuff any gaps with newspaper. The key is to opening it as little as possible and keeping it shut nice and tight. While stuff had obviously defrosted by the end of the weekend, everything was still fairly cool. We also ate the bacon first, and took veggie sausages that were frozen for the last couple of days.

Again, all of the snack foods proved useful if we needed something extra once we got back to the tents at night. My kids seem to eat an awful lot anyway, and when we’re on the go all day we eat even more! Having snacks on us always in the daytime really helped – if the girls know that we don’t have snacks, they’ll tell me they’re hungry every time they see something that looks tasty! We budgeted around £40 a day for our evening meal – which fed the five of us [two adults and three kids} very well.

This worked really well for us last year, and I’m hoping it does again this year! I’ve been stocking up on bits an pieces with my grocery shop the last few weeks, so all that’s left is to get the fresh food at the last minute. Are you going to any festivals with your kids this year?

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20 Comments

  1. July 22, 2014 / 11:10

    Excellent post for people who like going to festivals. I have to admit that I’ve never really had an urge to go one. I hope you all have a wonderful time :)

  2. July 22, 2014 / 13:52

    We are not going to any festivals this year but these tips are great. It is so expensive feeding our family of four on usual days out, let alone at festivals. I like your idea of just eating out once per day, that saves loads of money. Thanks for sharing.

  3. July 22, 2014 / 16:13

    When we go away for a couple of days we do something similar by taking our own breakfasts and lunches and then going out for dinner.

  4. July 22, 2014 / 20:54

    Fab, thanks for this! We’re taking our one year old to her first festival, Green Man, next month and these posts are really helpful!

  5. July 22, 2014 / 21:01

    That sounds like a great idea, to have only the evening meal out…how did you keep everything cool though – the cheese etc?

  6. July 22, 2014 / 23:02

    Great tips as we are going to tow festivals in August so I’ll be putting these tips into action! x

  7. July 23, 2014 / 03:03

    I loved Bestival, there was a fab French stall selling chicken/garlic/potato dishes and the Mexican place was fab too. I am a self cater with treats festy goer.

  8. July 23, 2014 / 06:51

    Ive never been to a festival, or camping and can’t say the idea really appeals to me, but I can imagine food being something that’s quite tricky to organise if you don’t want to pay a fortune. Sounds like you got it spot on though!

  9. computer beat
    July 23, 2014 / 07:20

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!

  10. July 23, 2014 / 10:43

    Oh I’m loving all your festival posts (you should put them all together and publish a how to guide for festivals with kids). I’m still in awe that one of your kids likes mushy peas (mine loathe it). xx

  11. July 23, 2014 / 14:45

    I’ve never done a festival with the kids – Would love to though x x

  12. July 23, 2014 / 20:38

    £40 a evening for the 5 of you is really good, I expected it to be more! x

  13. July 23, 2014 / 23:07

    This sounds like so much fun…I was totally put off festivals by some super-muddy Glastonburys but reckon this would be a whole new experience with children x.

  14. July 24, 2014 / 07:26

    I was wondering what food to take, this is a great idea…………..my kids just want smores lol

  15. July 24, 2014 / 21:31

    I would say that £40 a day is a pretty great price.
    I would think food will cost more to be honest, so it is a great piece of news for me.

  16. July 25, 2014 / 16:03

    This is such a useful post – but it has cemented my idea that I am way too lazy to camp or do festivals while the kiddos are so young. Way too much effort involved!

  17. July 26, 2014 / 15:27

    Great post! We do the whole massive bag of snacks, fruit and carrots to get us through the day then buy dinner. With such a great selection of food places you have to really! Have a fab one and hopefully see you in the bar :)

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