More on our activities this summer - for the first time the Southwarkbelle family went to a music festival. We camped, got soaked, ate burgers and discovered that missing most of the headline acts is worth it, for a three day long look of wonder on your child's face.
This summer was an opportunity that had to be grabbed. F had most of the school holiday off and I'm still on maternity leave, we probably won't get this much time off together again until we retire. So we (or to be honest, I) decided we should try going to a festival as a family.
After considerable research I decided on Beautiful Days. Compared to the likes of Glastonbury, Beautiful Days is pretty small. But it was touted as being very family friendly and had one major selling point for us - it's very close to the warm beds, flush toilets and babysitting services of my parents house. This also meant that we could leave the girls with them while we dragged everything from the carpark to the campsite and set up our new family sized tent. Actually that process was all pretty stress free. It turned out that, with the seat removed, our buggy makes a great festival trolley (it's an Uppababy vista btw)!
Pre-kids, my idea of a good festival would involve sitting in the sun with a pint of cider watching some bands I was vaguely interested in and maybe heading for the front if there weren't too many unpleasant things flying that way (anyone else who was at the infamous Daphne and Celeste incident of Reading 2000 knows what I mean). With the girls in tow our plan had been to try to see the headliners by letting E crash out in the buggy and M in a sling. We did manage a bit of this, but actually that wasn't the highlight.
The really good bit was seeing the amazement on E's face when a hoard of stilt walking, fairies came to say hello. Or the unblinking delight as she sat in a circle of huge Redwood trees every evening listening to stories about trolls and giants. Then there was the huge helter-skeleter, the kids shows in the circus tent, the fancy dress day and of course lots and lots of dancing.
|Fancy dress day with my little Bees|
Oh and the other really good bit - A long day in the fresh air and a late night watching the bands = very sleepy children!
PS here's a few top tips for other festival newbies:
Ear protectors are a great idea - Although M lost hers within hours of arriving
A big pack of glow sticks costs a few quid on ebay, they provide entertainment, help make kids visible in the dark and - if your tent ends up right next to a path - you can use them to mark your guy lines so no one falls over them in the night!
Battery powered fairy lights on the buggy stop anyone stumbling into that too.
Take TONS of clothes for the kids and more than one pair of wellies. It poured one day, E had full waterproofs and didn't mind a bit but she managed to (literally) fill her boots and we had to hurriedly buy some more.
Keep M away from your beer....