Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Festivals - the family way!

Since we bought Clementine we've been thinking that attending more festivals with our two little terrors is something we might like to do.  I asked a lovely friend who has her own blog at Mama Sunshine to write a guest post for me about her experience of attending festivals with children.  Without further ado, I shall hand you over to Mama Sunshine...

One of the highlights of our family’s year is going to a music festival. We literally start getting excited from January onwards, when we start to make crazy bets with our friends about who will be headlining next year’s festival.  I think this year I was hoping for the Rolling Stones, Orbital, Stevie Wonder and the Stone Roses all at once! But to be honest, I don’t really care that much about which bands are playing, because when you go to a festival with a child, you see it through their eyes and it is less about music and more about having fun.

Image Credit: Guardian.co.uk

My children are aged 7 and 2 and have been going to festivals ever since they were babies. Our days of going to Glastonbury are long gone and our family friendly festival of choice is Camp Bestival  (insert link here). This takes place at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. There has been a massive increase in the family friendly festival market over the past couple of years, but Camp Bestival is the Big Daddy. Over the past 3 years, we have seen the heavyweight, headline acts of

Mr Tumble 
(he works the crowd in an amazing way- and we had a fabulous time singing “If You’re Happy and you know it!” with 10,000 people.)
The Gruffalo

And my daughter has developed a love of  Blondie and Madness and had to be woken up especially to dance along!

Image Credit: Virtual Festivals

We also had a wonderful time learning to ballroom dance in a sparkly tent, with a live band. I danced the tango with my then 5 year old and a 5 month old baby in a sling and were very proud when all 3 of us won rosettes! Another highlight was the silent disco, where you and your children don microphones, choose your favourite music by switching channels and sing your socks off. There is also a soft play, amazing food, children’s loos, circus skills, jousting, a park and an amazing fireworks display which was so beautiful, it literally brought me to tears. Last year there was a medieval theme and the Camp Bestival Team managed to project a medieval adventure onto the castle, with music and fireworks.

The whole family got dressed up for the occasion. I was a medieval wench, my husband was a monk, my daughter was a princess and my one year old son was a very tiny knight, complete with chain-mail and sword. This year there is a Silly Olympics/ 70s disco theme, so we are currently brainstorming costume ideas. There’s loads for older kids and teenagers too.

Of course, there are absolutely loads of festivals available, which cater for different age groups, budgets and musical interests. Two smaller festivals which I think sound really exciting are the Deer Shed Festival in Harrogate, which is excellent value and  sounds very relaxed with a great line up, and the Just So Festival in Derbyshire, which is less focussed upon music, but has an emphasis on storytelling and creativity.

Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

If you are a festival novice, the most important items you need to bring are suncream, ear defenders, fairy wings, waterproofs and a huge smile. Oh and a little wagon, which allows your little ones to sleep while you watch a couple of cheeky bands at night. Our wagon is wooden, painted with stars and festooned with flashing LED lights, which looks great but also stops drunken parents from stepping on your precious little ones.

There is loads of great advice on festivalkidz.co.uk about the range of festivals which are out there, as well as what to pack and survival tips. If you are thinking about going to a festival, don’t think anymore, just book your tickets and start counting the days!

Thanks Mama Sunshine! I'm hoping to go to Camp Bestival myself this year so have picked up a few handy hints - especially the ear defenders and fairy wings.

Do check out Mama Sunshine's blog, she's relatively new to the world of blogging but she's very cool and guess what, she's also a campervan owner!


  1. see you at Camp bestival!!

    http://tattooedmummy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/during-summer-i-went-to-camp-bestival.html <where I talk about last years trip :-)

  2. GirlyMathsGeek8 May 2012 14:57

    Lovely post from a lovely lady

    Fiona xxx

  3. Great post! :)
    I'm going to be MCing a festival soon and this has really got me pleased about it :) x

  4. We took our daughter to the Just So Festival last year, it was lovely. Hoping to go this year with our new addition.

  5. Thanks for the comments girls!

    Mrs M, I've never been called cool before. Youve made my day lol.
    Yoohoo girlymathsgeek :)

    Tattooed Mummy, I will check out your post. Am hoping to blog more about festivals in the next couple of months, come and visit me on my blog and we can get excited together...

    Emily Wood, you sound like a proper cool lady!

    Miss Jane, I'd love to go to Just So.

  6. I made my daughter's costume yesterday, it's a Silly Olympics theme so we are going as Mario at the Olympics. My daughter's going as Princess Peach, my son as Mario, I will be Luigi or Sonic and my husband is going as Wario. Can't wait :D

  7. I love going to festivals with my kids too. Hope you don't mind me sharing my festival-going tips: http://wedonteatanythingwithaface.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/family-friendly-festival-guide-and.html

  8. Woo Hoo! We are off to Camp Bestival this year! Can't wait - and now the suns shining (for a change)it's all the more exciting!

  9. That post has brought back some amazing memories. Last year beat 2010 hands down as we loved the line up and the kiddies were that bit older and got so much more out of it. I'm taking kids to Penn Festival this year, on my own with a friend - no men!! Am skipping Camp B due to finances etc :( will hopefully be back in 2013 thought!
    Is Mama Sunshine on Twitter? x x

  10. Oh, here's my view on Camp B! http://www.melkshammum.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/camp-bestival-2011.html
    x x


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