So…. the first music festival this year with Frida and the kids was
MAKER 21-23 June Millbrook, Near Torpoint, Cornwall http://www.makerfestival.co.uk
I’d heard about this one from some local friends but it wasn’t until looking at the website that I realised how near it was. Having recently bought Frida it suddenly seemed like a possibility. There were only a few days to go but I decided to take a chance and just book it. I couldn’t believe there were still van pitches available. Then, on the day, I miraculously hooked up with some familiar faces and their children so we all camped in the same place (ideal). Couldn’t believe my luck.
We took it in turns to check on the kids, throughout the weekend but they’d formed a gang, gone feral and were only interested in being fed. The girls came down briefly to the festival ground, a few hundred yards away, to do some of the craft activities but were happier building dens with wood from the firepit pile, going barefoot, getting muddy and exploring the woods (fenced off for safety) Music was good and varied with enough spacing between the stages not to get that annoying ‘cross over’ cacophony we’d experienced at ‘Beautiful Days’ There was even a cozy space set up for an enthusiast with vintage film clips. At one point I escaped down past the yurt rental for a sunny walk along the coast path above Kingsand. Next time I’m determined to find the access point onto the beach.
The Highs: stunning location, use of campsite facilities as well as portaloos, very laid back, small enough for the kids to roam free safely, children’s craft activities, both stages under cover, excellent choice of good food and only a few stalls, permanent pub and cafe on site, late night undercover dancing in ‘the bunker’, plenty of van and caravan pitches, howling at the full moon on solstice night (I wasn’t alone!) and sitting with a friendly crowd on the actual concrete bunker to watch a glorious sun rise reflected across the bay.
The Lows: Fairly exposed to the winds and grey weather
Would we go again? Most definitely
PRIDDY 12-14 July Near Cheddar Gorge, Somerset http://www.priddyfolk.org
I’m ambivalent about folk festivals. We’ve been regular visitors to Sidmouth Folk Week over the years but mainly as a chance to spend some time with my Mum as she keeps a caravan nearby. The lure of handing the children over to nearby grandparents for the night was really the initial main attraction. We’d heard from some friends it was family friendly but another just laughed and said she used to go there when she lived in Bridgwater and it was strictly a ‘farmer’s do in a field’ - fine if you were into comparing tractor sizes. Halleuja for the internet… the website looked o.k and gave me chance to You Tube the line up. I don’t as a general rule plan for music festivals, I’ve always preferred just to wander. Sussing it out proved a good move this time.
The weather was gloriously hot so we were really glad to see a luxury, portable shower block when we arrived on the campsite. We pitched in a tree lined (always good for hammock hanging) overflow field which stayed half empty and was a great space for the kids to congregate and run wild. The short walk down to the site took us through an immaculate village graveyard which turned out to be a good place to lie around in the shade during the day and watch the stars after the late night dance band. The kids were overjoyed to see a massive inflatable slide.
The Highs: Peaceful rural location, showers, hot sunshine, all stages undercover, kids music and craft activities, De Fuego, Ushti Baba and Celtic Sound system, good selection of food and stalls, the dedicated area for daily’jamming’ sessions.
The Lows: Missed Belshazzar’s Feast, both stages were totally seated…no room to dance! Limited bar…too much real ale
Would we go again? Yes
LITTLE BIG GIG 20-23 Sept The Lizard, Cornwall www.littlebiggig.co.uk
At the end of the summer holidays some friends told me they’d just got back from this great campsite that “you’d really love”. They’d found it in a review published in the ‘Guardian’. The website for ‘Henry’s’ campsite sells it well showing another idyllic location. I also noticed they had a festival coming up. Unfortunately the van spaces were all gone, that’s another aspect of festivals with caravans… you usually need to commit and book early. So… I decided to buy myself a ticket and resurrect the 10 year old dome tent and go on my own. What a treat! as soon as I arrived I knew it was going to be a memorable weekend. Amazing location overlooking the Lizard Peninsula, just above the beautiful Kynance Cove. Crossing the rickety wooden bridge from the little field that was the main car park I heard the sweet sound of a young vocalist with guitar playing a set in a bank of hay bales. I grabbed a wheelbarrow and trekked down amongst the maze of hedged off pitches. It felt like the beginning of an exciting adventure just choosing where to camp. I settled for a space with an awesome panoramic view of the coast….unfortunately only visible for a couple of hours before the heavy mist set in. I felt a twinge of guilt when I saw the tiny wooden play castle and all the children chasing off the very lively free range chickens.
Happily I was adopted by a friendly bunch of revellers on the first night making some new and lovely festival friends. There were two stages, one permanent and undercover set up by the bar, the other purpose built in one of the camping fields. The sound on both was great, playing all sorts as well as being a bit of a showcase for some impressive local talent.
The highs: Amazing location, very safe for kids, music programmed not to miss anything on either stage i.e. no sound overlap, well stocked kids activities, the undercover fire pit with late night open mic, amazing singing workshop with Chloe Laing http://www.creationsounds.co.uk , good food, very low key, campsite loos and showers…no dreaded portaloos
The Lows: No food stalls or anyone selling anything (some may be relieved at this) the foggy damp weather, no late night dancing… probably because the site is so small
I’m hoping more people will turn up to this one next year….it’s a gem.
Would I go again? Can’t wait, but will book early so we can all go and maybe explore the coast a bit
So here endeth the first of many family festival experiences. I hope that next year we’ll get to a lot more local music festivals which we missed when we were doing our road trip. I’ve already got some new and colourful bunting for the sun awning and streamers for Frida’s door….look out here we come. Let the music play on……..