|I took these photos back in the day the The Workhouse festival, 2006|
Before we had the little man we were both in our own ways festival goers, John going to Reading and me rocking out year on year at Glastonbury, Lovebox, Beach Break Live and Guilfest to name a few and why should having children stop the festival spirit and fun? Yes it will make things at times harder and it will change the experience but that doesn't mean it won't be as enjoyable and fulfilling. The key is in the planning, pick a festival that has family facilities and is keen for children to be involved and has some sort of entertainment for them. Another very important tip is to have good camping equipment, I will go into more detail about this later in the post. We are hoping to attend at least one overnight festival this year, with the little man in tow and we are really looking forward to it, come rain or shine.
|Me a few years back at a festival with my trusty two-man tent.|
5 UK Family Friendly Festivals
1. Wychwood Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse, 31 May - 2nd June
An intimate, compact and safe family friendly festival that combines contemporary and world music, comedy, poetry and workshops into a wonderful three day event. The line up includes Bill Bailey, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, Kate Nash, The Wedding present, Lucy Rose and Mr Bloom for the little ones. The site prides themselves on clean facilities and a wide range of activities for toddlers, teenagers and adults and has been nominated for Best Family Festival at the UK festival awards every year. With workshops for every age, a special toddler area and an overall chilled and relaxed atmosphere this is the perfect first stop on your summer of music.
Adult weekend tickets are £120 and under 10's are free
Larmer Tree festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, 17-21 July
An independent and sponsor-free festival that has been awarded "Best Family Festival" and "Best Toilets", is really one worth checking out. Set in the beautiful Wiltshirt/Dorset boarder is offers a designated children's area, water garden, woodland crafts, big top and an amazing line up to boot including Seasick Steve, Van Morrisson, The Beat and Imelda May. They also have comfy camping and glamping options.
Adult tickets start at £140 and under 5's go free.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, 1-4th August
A family festival with everything you need for a good time, good food, music, art, shows and activities, as they say "Kids are King" at Bestival. In it's 6th year it's built up a real name for itself on the family friendly circuit and when it manages to create a line up that includes Mr Tumble to Billy Bragg, DJ Fresh to Toots and the Maytals you can see why. The theme for 2013 is "Around the World" and they have some great features such as an indian circus, italian pop up restaurant and Belgian Ska Bands it sounds like it's going to be a very entertaining weekend. They also have a array of children's areas including a toddler space, kids theatre and mother and baby chill out area.
Adult weekend tickets start at £180 and under 10's go free, they also have an easy payment plan
Croissant Neuf Summer Party - secret location Near Usk, Wales, 8-11th August
A multi-award winning solar powered family friendly festival that is one of the best kept secrets. The line-up is still yet to be fully confirmed but it's said to be bursting with music, crafts, workshops and circus. The layout of the site is open which means you can keep an eye on the kids having fun and the Big Top Mania provides a kid-zone with theatre shows to watch, games, toys and a designated toddler area. With a central communal campfire, walk about entertainers, a market and healing area this is a very chilled out, small and community feel family festival.
Adult weekend ticket £105 and under 5's go free
Green Man Festival - Brecon Beacons, 15-18th August
A charming and well established 10-year old Welsh festivals in the Black mountains and is based on one of the most beautiful festival sites in the UK if you can face the possibility of rain (which seems to affect Wales more than anywhere else). The festival has a great line up this year with band of Horses, Ben Howard, The Horrors and Midlake to name a few. They have a "little folk" area which is crammed with things for little ones to do including fancy dress box, story telling, arts and crafts and fun rides to keep them entertained. They also have a designated family friendly camping area.
Adult weekend tickets are £145 and under 4's go free.
|My trusty van I spent a summer in Cornwall in, camping and surfing|
Another factor to take when embarking on a family camping trip or festival weekend, is of course a tent. While some may choose to glamp, which a lot of festivals now offer but is an expensive option and don't get me wrong both John and I love glamping for a weekend away but to capture the true spirit of festivals you should try proper camping at least once. I however cannot stress enough the importance of a decent tent, it really should be seen as an investement. I am not saying you need to spend hundreds, otherwise you might as well glamp, but choose wisely and go with a well known company and read reviews first. I highly recommend Blacks for quality camping and outdoor equipment, they literally have everything you need and offer great advice both in store and online and are a great one-stop shop for all your family camping and festival needs. I have spent a lot of time camping in my life, as well as living in a camper-van in Cornwall for one summer and there are a few tips to help you stay comfortable and dry.
1. Stick with well known brands and read online reviews first.
2. Make sure you pick a tent with a high hydrostatic head so that you can be sure you remain dry even when it rains and go with one with a sewn-in ground sheet to keep any dirt, mess or condensation out.
3. Invest in a decent sleeping bag and add a liner for the colder days as this increases insulation and can be removed on warmer nights.
4. Dont forget to pack a torch or lantern - this always comes in handy.
5. Always remember to pack a first aid kit, just in case.
|My little one-man tent, wild camping, in Scotland|