In my youth I always fancied the idea of going to a festival but the sight of friends coming back from a long weekend covered in mud and hungover used to put me off - I was, and still am, a stickler for home comforts like a comfy bed and plumbing. The idea of all day drinking also became less and less enticing the older I became. However, festivals are no longer just a weekend long excuse for a booze up. Far from simply music and alcohol, festivals around the country have become extravaganzas of the arts, with creativity and entertainment at their core. Days of music, art, literature, dance, crafts and sports can be found in all manor of locations, from beaches and forests to high streets and warehouses. In the last decade, it has become more commercial to create events that appeal to the whole family, rather than to a select portion of society. So the idea of now packing up a tent and decamping at one of these events to have a really fantastic weekend away with the kids, exploring, creating, and playing, and still enjoy some grown up time kicking back and listening to one of our favourite artists seems like a much more attractive proposal. Take a look at some of our top family friendly options to provide an alternative to a summer spent in the park....
A relatively new festival on the scene, Victorious Festival has been running since 2011 and is notorious for the effort it puts in to keeping the kids entertained. Held by the sea in Portsmouth, this festival has it’s very own Kids Arena, complete with a kids stage that is filled over the weekend with some of the best in Children’s entertainment. This year you’ll find Andy and the Oddsocks headlining on Saturday, and Cook and Line on Sunday. Paddington will be stopping by, and Finn and Jake are also making an appearance. There’s an assault course, roller disco, art wall and colouring tent. Little ones can practice their football skills, circus skills, build a rocket, and even get their 5 minutes of fame singing their hearts out at Kideoke. You’ll find all the usuals from facepainting to crafting, and of course (goes without saying) music and the dancing! There’s even a pyjama party play zone for the very little ones, who are just as welcome as the older children at this family orientated festival.
If you haven’t heard of Green Man Festival, tucked away in the stunning landscape of the Brecon Beacons, you should probably go and google it now. Though it has enjoyed yearly success and expansion since its conception in 2003, it still very much feels like the intimate four day experience you could expect in it’s baby years. Taking a unique step outside of the comfort zones of the modern day festival, Green Man has turned down corporate sponsors, favouring independence and prioritising the preservation of it’s charm and the preferences of it’s festival-goers over the pursuit of big business. Green Man advertises that it’s truly a festival for all, from the tiniest of tots through to the Nanas and the Grandpops. The area for “Little Folk” has a theme each year, with this years choice an adventure into the lost city of Atlantis. The beauty of the creative activities, workshops and play zones on offer is that it all happens in the heart of nature, with a backdrop of mountains, fields and forests to set those wild imaginations free.
Latitude has been hailed the festival for culture lovers, with the arts, creativity and learning at the forefront of this hugely popular four day weekend in Suffolk. Kids and teens are so welcome at Latitude that there’s even a programme to get schools to bring their classes for a day. Little bit different to a day at a museum, right? Little ones can find their zen in the enchanted garden, painting, crafting, playing music, watch theatre, or getting grubby handed with science and wildlife activities. Adventurous kids can star gaze and go pond dipping, wander back at the end of the day, get their aprons on and make pizza! (adult taste-testers always welcome of course). This festival is the perfect getaway if you also need to get teens off the sofa in the summer, as the activities aren’t just for the little ones. You can find a cinema, music hub, fashion wonderland and more to keep bored youngsters busy. And we haven’t even started on the main line up, the comedy or the creative fun to be had by the adults...
Wild Child Festival
This new festival runs from 17th-19th August in the leafy South London enclave of Dulwich and I'm particularly excited about this one as it will be my first introduction to the world of festivals and one totally aimed at kids. The concept is the brain child of parents and arts educators and promises to give us a day of theatre, music, Circus, tech and science, dance, arts and crafts with a little magic thrown in too. For the tiniest festival goers there is messy play, classical music concerts, theatre and sensory gardens which I'm sure my 2 year old will love. For the older ones like my 7 year old there's storytelling, crafty dens, circus school, magic workshops and science and coding camps. Grown ups can also join in the dance classes and theatre and comedy shows. This promises to be a fantastic few days and I'm looking forward to reporting back with tales of fun and frolics!
Are you headed on an adventure anywhere this festival season? Which festival would you recommend bringing the kids along to? Maybe you’re in the know about a smaller festival local to you that’s pioneering the young festival experience…Comment below and share the secret!