The last time I went to GrassRoots Music Fest, four fabulous days packed with music and dance in Trumansburg, NY, was after my junior year of college. Back in 2004. That was eight lllooonnnggg years ago.
Permit me to share a couple embarrassing photos.
When Ada was born, it wasn't exactly automatic that she'd be going. Instead, I found myself chatting with my college friend Rachael -- she's the one in the photo above, and her son Oliver is 7.5 months -- one chilly day during winter . . . and we just decided it would be fun to camp with the babes.
And it was. Though, this time around, I wasn't all about baring my midriff. We arrived early on Thursday morning to sit in line for a few hours before we could set up our campsite. That was something I didn't think about -- the waiting. But it ended up being fine.
We set up chairs. Nursed under covers. Napped in slings. Took turns running to/from a nearby coffee shop for drinks and bathroom breaks.
Camp setup took maybe an hour. We were surprised to see so many people arrived before we did. With a baby, you can't exactly be diehard and get there at the crack of dawn. Thankfully, we settled in an area nestled between some nice families. Though, we did end up also being next to a pack of college boys who were treating the festival as a lost weekend of sorts. But I'll get into that later.
I don't want to go into excruciating detail about what we did, what we ate, etc. I'll share some photos and a brief summary instead.
The first 24 hours we were there, it rained. It was chilly. And that weather wasn't forecasted when we packed. So, Friday morning, Stephen and I took a quick trip off site to get supplies. A couple hoodies. And a pair of cheap rain boots for me. At least my Hunter obsession is quelled. I only spent $20 and I love them.
Anyway, the trip allowed Ada to nap in the car. And that began a theme. Ada had trouble napping with all the music. It played from noon till 2AM and sometimes longer. All her naps had to be taken while we walked her in her stroller or sling. We even took her on a family run Saturday morning, making it a 7-miler so we'd get in at least an hour of snoozing.
Strangely, Ada slept at night very well despite all the people and sounds. The college guys who were staying near us were getting pretty wasted. I sort of forgot about that whole aspect of festival-going. Don't ask me how. Anyway, it wasn't ideal -- and we had a rude awakening one of the mornings when the ring-leader returned to the campsite at 5AM still drunk from the night before. But overall, it was OK.
Sleeping arrangements we had determined before camping included Ada sleeping in her Pack 'n Play. Which she did for the portion of her night-sleep from around 8PM till 11PM. After that, we had her sleeping with us. Mostly because it was colder than I expected. And also because she was nursing more frequently while we were there (perhaps hydration and emotional needs).
It was weird sleeping with her again -- a rare treat, really. She can't settle enough to share the bed these days. It's been months. So, that also means that I was extremely uncomfortable sleeping with her, just physical and also because I couldn't stop worrying about making sure I did things as safely as possible.
We didn't get to see as many of the bands as we necessarily wanted to see. However, the key was keeping expectations low for that going in. I think we saw maybe two full sets the whole time we were there. We're hoping to go back next year -- and we met several families with babies a year or so older who were able to do a lot more than they had the year before.
I am planning to go into detail with some tips and best practices, as well as stuff we did wrong in another post or two. What I can tell you is this: We had so much fun. It was easier than expected. There were certainly challenges, but nothing unmanageable.
Have you taken your little one to a festival? Or camping? What was your experience? What did you learn?
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