Rock on at ACL’s Kiddie Limits


kiddie limits village

The times of locking in a festival date (or any date for that matter) and cruising along to a gig or music festival to indulge my inner rocker with good music, good friends, good food, a beverage, and good times – rock n’ roll times… are gone. Well, they’re more complicated now I’ve birthed two mini rockers of my own. Nowadays, arrangements need to be arranged – babysitters, food, drinks and promises of being home soon to tuck them in, and to be honest, I’m OK with the logistics of having grown up fun whilst being a parent because I wouldn’t have it any other way, more times than not I’m wanting to share my good times WITH the kids. Well as if they knew the complexities of parenthood and inner rocker tendencies, Auckland City Limits created Kiddie Limits! Kids under 10 are free to enter with an accompanying adult and welcome to roam with you at your discretion throughout the festival, with Kiddie Limits being a special zone designated to family fun and music within the festival! So, we can have our cake and eat it too!


Set inside the quaint wee village of Auckland’s Motat (Museum of Transport and Technology) we are transported to a village family fair scene, circa – olden days, and as we know anything olden days = caaaaaute!

The Kiddie rockers have their own line-up on the Kiddie stage including Itty Bitty beats, a magic show, Mr Lam Sam’s musical mayhem and a variety show. While you’re all hanging out – note the entire festival allows foldable chairs and ground blankets – there’s also plenty of other activities to keep those excited bodies busy. A Hotshots photo booth was our fam fave, face painting, temporary tattoos, a bit of a bubble dance off, balloons twisted into flowers and dogs – they all seem to ask for flowers or dogs. There was a craft zone where painting was taking place, a paper plane and crystal necklace workshop, and a Jack Sparrowesqe pirate roaming the land with roving pirate games – I’m pretty sure I saw a tug of war happening at one point too. The kids made the most of every and all activity as kids do, leaving nothing not done!

kiddie limits facepaint
kiddie limits tats
kiddie limits slushies


Whilst there was a food truck offering hot dogs and chips in the Kiddie Limit zone which somewhat satisfies the kiddie palate instead we all ventured off to the main Eats zone for vietnamese, burger fuel and colourful slushies. There was plenty of options from the typical festival fare to asian dishes. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased at the various festival bars but no alcohol is to be consumed at Kiddie Limits.


It was a special pleasure to be able to enjoy some of the festival acts with the earmuff wearing kids, and this year Auckland City Limits had another awesome line-up of artists from Beck to Future, The Avalanches, Kiwi faves Katchafire, P Money and my personal Queen – Grace Jones! During the afternoon on a hill the sun shone, we enjoyed a beer, the kids enjoyed an orange, and from a distance Katchafire fired us up. The silent disco was another firm favourite – and we were just watching, it’s enormously entertaining! George Ezra was given a thumbs up by the 3 year old who’s already shown that he naturally gravitates towards singing and dance. Finally with the kids sent home to nanna and poppa I discarded my “mum” hat and bowed to my Queen.

kiddie limits katchafire
kiddie limit fun


The crowd was the best. Kiddie Limits was of course a quieter space for families but surprisingly (for some reason it’s surprising) the crowd throughout the festival was so… together. For the most part it was the young and the youngish with kids, and no one was obviously drunk I’m pleased to report. I didn’t see any aggression, and only one young person even noticed we were there when he nearly tripped over the 3 year old and asked his friend why kids were there, but even that was polite. I was impressed to see how chilled out everyone was, it seems we were all there for good music, good friends, good food, a beverage – good times.


  • Adults: We would have liked more food options in the Kiddie Limits zone. You could go to the Eats zone but maybe a few alternatives to hotdogs and chips in Kiddie Limits would save us the walk.
  • Adults: Maybe a couple of slightly older musical acts thrown in between the Kiddie acts, would help us survive the day. Even a 12 year old singing sensation would help. I mean, I try to be a good mother, but after a certain amount of time of watching Kiddie acts, I could lose the will to live. So of course that’s when you’d take advantage of the acts in the main zones but considering it’s a bit of a slog for the little ones to wander back and forth it’s not something you’d want to do often.
  • Adults: On that note, while Kiddie Limits zone was nicely separated from the main stages, a more direct route between Kiddie Limits and the Eats zone and smaller stages would have helped the flow.
  • Kids: Carnival food – popcorn, donuts, slushies, ice-cream, candy floss. We’re not thinking health retreat with this list clearly, but wanting a treat at what feels like a fun fair to the kids is an understandable request.
  • Kids: A kids ride – the kids felt well and truly ripped off the adults had the Hurricane ride and they didn’t have “even just a merry-go-round”.
kiddie limits facepaint
kiddie limits fun


  • Going as a family to a music festival for a fun day out.
  • A pass out, yes, you can leave at the organisers discretion to drop the kids home to grandparents and babysitters when the adults are ready to get their kid-less rock n roll on.
  • You’re allowed to bring foldable chairs, ground blankets, small snacks if you need.
  • Plastic water bottles can be refilled.
  • Cuteness factor – watching your very own popstars dancing and giving a thumbs up to a band has got to be one of the cutest things you’ll see in your life.


  • A stroller to walk the younger ones to and from other areas, and especially if catching a bus home – the bus stop right outside the event going West was closed, the next stop was miles away. There are free busses going into the city which may have had easier access.
  • Sunscreen and hats.
  • Sound blocking earmuffs – the main stages can get LOUD even when you’re just walking past.
  • A plastic water bottle to refill.


We wouldn’t hesitate to go to Auckland City Limits again to spend some of the day as a family before making use of the “pass out” to send the kids home while mum and dad rock on!

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Written for Kidspot by Ronnie Swainston

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