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Music Festivals and Children.

Andy Robertson

Admitting children to music festivals has always been a dichotomy for event organisers because there are pros and cons to allowing under 18s to attend a music festival. By excluding anyone under 18 an organiser is also excluding a whole sector of family centric demographics.

Some years ago, there was the ‘Underage’ festival that ran in London every year up until 2012, specifically for 13 to 17-year olds. It’s not known why this festival ceased to run but it could have been financial or logistically difficult. Of the 250 music festivals taking place in the UK each year it is estimated that about 10% of these allow children to attend in a family friendly format.

Benefits of Being Family Friendly.  
By making a music festival family friendly the organisers are opening up their audience to a large and potentially more moneyed audience. Just because festival fans have children doesn’t mean they no longer want to attend festivals. The family friendly festivals can be great for children opening them up to new experiences with dedicated children's areas for arts and crafts for example.

Allowing under 18s will have implications for the festival logistics including perhaps revised insurance and strict monitoring of licensed vendors. In addition, there could be additional health and safety factors to consider and it is likely the organisers will need to have a Child Protection Policy too. This means that the event organisers must do their utmost to provide a safe and caring environment for children. When attending a festival, the onus is on parents to ensure that children are adequately supervised by themselves or by another responsible adult acting on their behalf, particularly in relation to compliance with licensing laws. Volunteers and marshals need to be familiar with any Child Protection Policy and it is likely that staff will need appropriate training given prior to the event. The terms of ticket purchase will have to stipulate under what conditions children are allowed to enter, usually only being admitted with an accompanying adult.  The provision of a lost and found facility will also need planning along with a clearly communicated process for visitors who misplace their children.

Why do Some Festivals Prohibit Under 18s? 
It is probably easier for a music festival to just refuse entry to anyone under 18, particularly when considering the additional logistical factors noted above. In addition, many festival goers will avoid family friendly festivals as they perceive music festival attendance as a purely adult experience usually entailing the consumption of probably too much alcohol. Quite likely a partying millennial does not want to be disturbed by unruly children. Some music festivals have implemented a compromise policy on admittance by allowing under 18s but having a cut off at 14 or something similar. 

Using an event software management platform like
FestivalPro users get all the functionality they need to manage ticketing and terms of purchase. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has built in features that organisers can use to manage volunteer training and logging of any policies and specific requirements needed to cater for accepting attendance from under 18s.   

Photo by Zichuan Han from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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