Taking Fergus and Sweet William to Jazz Fest was a lot of fun. Carefully preparing for the heat, noise, and sun made a big difference. Here’s what I took along for the babies:
• Stroller (I’m crazy about the huge sun canopy of our new City Mini GT Double)
• 2 lightweight swaddle blankets to drape over the stroller for additional shade
• picnic blanket
• camp chair with sun canopy
• refillable glass water bottle
• organic peanut butter sandwich, fruit, and granola
• sun hats
• Badger 30+ sunblock
• hearing protector earmuffs
• 2 extra lightweight, light colored, cotton outfits
Jazz Fest is in many ways family-friendly. Volunteers at the entrance gate hand out wrist bands with space for you to write your contact information and your child’s name. The grounds are navigable with a stroller. Cooling tents with fans and misters are effective and entertaining and I’m sure I’ll be grateful for the childrens’ activity stations when the boys are a little older. If anyone needs a break, the Grandstand is a quiet, air conditioned spot to relax and watch the crowds below.
Another great thing about Jazz Fest is the crowd. The attendees are mostly friendly and helpful — and not especially drunk! If only fewer of them smoked. The tents are non-smoking, but we sometimes had to relocate to avoid smoke at the open stages.
Unfortunately, the music in the Kids’ Tent was painfully loud. We skipped it and spread out our blanket in the shade of the Economy Hall tent, instead. Maybe Fergus and William will grow up to like the traditional New Orleans Jazz that they heard there.
I felt completely comfortable nursing Fergus as we sat listening to the music, but trying to pump on the days when we went without the boys was tough. I had heard that nursing moms could use the medical tents, but they turned out to be exposed stations where EMTs waited around. I ended up dragging a chair into the women’s restroom on the third floor of the Grandstand. It wasn’t pleasant (I thought I would asphyxiate on air fresheners and cleaning products), but it worked.
UPDATE: I finally found the medical tent located next to the Gentilly Stage. It has a semi-private cooling tent with fans and misters, which is a great (if wet) place to breastfeed or pump. There’s running water and a supply of clean ice for your cooler. (5/7/12)