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It’s almost time for the annual ritual known as the summer road trip. YES.

Whether traveling to see grandparents or taking the fam to a music festival, you need to find creative ways to keep the kids happy — and your sanity intact.

A summer music festival is a smart destination when you’re traveling avec famille. If you’re stateside, summer could begin this weekend at the Kansas City’s Jiggle Jam to see Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players. Or in the Hudson River Valley next month for the Clearwater Festival to see Dean Jones and Dog on Fleas.

In July and August, there’s the Winnipeg Folk Festival where not only Whitehorse and Serena Ryder are headlining, but kids’ acts include locals Seanster and the Monsters, Newfoundland’s Shelley Bean, and Grammy-winners The Okee Dokee Brothers from Minnesota. Once again, Lollapalooza will host a Kidzapalooza stage, featuring the likes of The Not-Its and Ella Jenkins.

In anticipation of more than a few hours with a car full of kids, here are some tips for maintaining sanity from our friends at Coolmompicks and Today’s Parent. Music can be an enormous help, and old stand-bys like “99 Bottles” and “The Wheels on the Bus” can work — for a while.

Let’s face it though, two hours of “Down By The Bay” could dissolve any parent’s cheerful disposition. To help out, we created this brand-new Summer Road Trip Mix of family music favourites — all awesome and all 100% independent.

Only Until June 1stSummer Road Trip 2013 is a FREE DOWNLOAD

Click here to listen and download them all — or just the tracks you like best.

These are one-of-a-kind tunes, from the “Honk Honk” rocker by Toronto’s The Monkey Bunch to the soul sounds of Shine and the Moonbeams to sing-a-long songs with Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke. There’s even a quiet lullaby, “Down at the Sea Hotel” from Montreal-based Secret Mountain.

Two tracks are pre-releases for summer 2013 albums: Trout Fishing in America’s “Slow” and  Alastair Moock (with The Okee Dokee Brothers) covering a Woody Guthrie classic, “Hard Travelin.”

This set could be just the ticket to safe and sane – and fun – road trip with kids.

And we’ll leave you with what might be the ultimate ‘getaway’ song: David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” as performed by Commander Chris Hadfield and viewed by millions of people here on Earth :



May your travels leave you “floating in a most peculiar way.”

Beth Blenz-Clucas lives in Portland, Oregon

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