A music festival might seem an unlikely place to travel to with children, but in Japan not only is this tolerated – it’s encouraged. The annual Fuji Rock Festival is an extremely family-friendly environment and caters for children to play and enjoy themselves in safe surrounds while parents rock to the tunes of Nine Inch Nails and Foals. Here's the travel guide to how to do a rock festival with kids.
If you love music festivals and travel, having children is no reason to stop attending. Fuji Rock Festival (26 to 28 July 2013) has an awesome international line-up – including Bjork, Fun and Of Monsters and Men.
But before you start imaging head banging and drunken louts, the atmosphere is very chilled and relaxed. The Fuji Rock Festival is open to anyone people of all ages including kids. The only restriction is a curfew imposed on those under 18 but, since it is 11pm, that’s hardly an issue for those travelling with kids 12 and under.
It is well organised to ensure the environment is safe so everyone can enjoy themselves. Moshing and stage diving is prohibited. Smoking is restricted.
But the most impressive are the facilities for the kids – there is a special covered families-only area so you are protected from the weather. The grounds are quite large so there are numerous options for places to sit if you are concerned about the volume levels. [To read about another impressive family-friendly music festival, see the suitcases&strollers story Austin City Limits.]
There is also a dedicated play area for children with a padded indoor space for tiny tots and an outdoor jungle gym and wet play area. These are not supervised so you will need to be there with your kids.
In addition, families have reserved portaloos where the queues are much shorter. The only downside is there aren’t any change tables, but there is plenty of grass to do nappy changes in the open air.
[For more family travel tips on family friendly festivals, see the suitcases&strollers story Camp Bestival.]
The Practicalities of Fuji Rock Festival With Kids
While the whole event is well catered for families, you should still be prepared for some logistical hurdles. For instance, carparking tickets must be purchased at the time of the entrance ticket – if you don’t reserve a carpark you cannot drive your car to the festival. Even if you reserve your carpark, it could be several kilometers away from the venue, requiring transition via a shuttle. Similarly, accommodation is determined by a lottery and must be booked at the time of booking tickets. All of these difficulties can be made easier if you book as far in advance as possible.
Food is available but the queues can be long so pack snacks and food to bring with you. You cannot take umbrellas into the grounds, so pack wet weather ponchos and gear with you.
It’s advisable to leave the grounds at least half an hour before the last act finishes as it can be quite crowded as everyone tries to exit at the same time.