I love this time of year when the sun starts shining and you hear about all the festivals that are being held. It can be a great excuse for families to spend time together, having fun and playing. If only the sunshine could be guaranteed!
I am off to the Glastonbury festival next week, albeit without my children now, but I have many a good memory of them traipsing through mud making mosaic mirrors in the Kidz Field, still smiling and dancing along to the music. There is never a dull moment to be had at this festival, and it is family friendly. There are separate family camping fields, alongside a whole field set up with rides, games, face painting and shows with different aged children in mind. It is also free to take children with you up until the age of 12.
There are a lot of smaller festivals which are even more family friendly to keep an eye out for up and down the country. Glastonbury is great, but it is huge. It takes a long time getting between the different stages and with the sheer volume of people you do need to keep an eye on your little ones. I have never met a person there that doesn’t consider children, and nowhere is off limits to children, but there are also many areas of this festival that are set up for adult’s play and fantasy and so you never know what you may come across!
Festivals are a great place for freedom and being away from distractions. Although it is getting easier to charge your phones while camping thanks to power bars etc, it still isn’t the same as being in a building with mains power. Being with your children and learning new circus skills can be great fun. If you can’t juggle and they can’t juggle trying to learn together can be hilarious. Children love nothing more than seeing Mum or Dad being hopeless at something and being able to laugh about it! Being at a festival really is the time to use your phone just for emergencies.
You do need to make compromises when taking your children with you to festivals. It’s not all plain sailing! Sometimes you do need to let the little ones go back to the tent earlier than you’d like, and just because they may have stayed up later than usual, doesn’t necessarily mean they will make up the sleep in the morning. They can become tired and teasy and begin to moan when they are not doing something that is their choice. Depending on the size of the festival, you may want to ensure you have a pushchair or trolley for even a child aged 5 or 6, depending on the amount of walking involved. This also doubles up as a safe place for them to have an afternoon nap if needs be if they are staying up a lot later than usual. It is also a place to sleep if out late at night for a few hours before heading back to the tent. Some form of noise defenders are also a good idea, especially if your children are sensitive to loud noises. I have never known music to be quiet at festivals!
Remember though, that festivals are not for everyone. Just because you may love a festival, your children may not. Or they may do when they are younger when they are happy following you around, but as they grow older and form their own ideas of what constitutes good music, they may not be so obliging to sitting in a wet, muddy field listening to your favourite band. They may also still love a festival, but it’s not the same being with Mum and Dad rather than their friends. Parents can be soooo embarrassing! My oldest daughter has been going to festivals with us since she was 2 and she’s now 16. Up to about the age of 11 she absolutely loved coming with us, danced with us and let her hair down. Then, it wasn’t so much fun unless she was with a friend and she certainly wasn’t going to dance with us! Now she can’t wait for Glastonbury in two years time to hopefully get tickets to go on her own with her own friends.
So while the sun is shining, start looking for a festival near you. I hear The Great Estate at Scorrier House was great this year for families and The Port Eliot Festival in St Germans is at the end of July. Boardmasters is also in Newquay this summer and lots of live music events take place in many parts of Cornwall throughout the Summer. You also have the Looe festival in September. Even if you decide to go to a festival without your children, get out there and have some fun and play yourself. Just because we are parents doesn’t mean we don’t deserve some time off to recharge the batteries and do some things that we love!