Once again the photos of Glastonbury show what can only be described as a mud bath with thousands of drowned rats clad in shorts, wellies and ponchos. While this may be the classic festival look, it hardly screams ‘family occasion’!
Yet plenty of families do go to Glastonbury and all sorts of other festivals and they rave about it.
So if you’re a festival goer with children, you can still enjoy a summer of music (and mud) and we’ve found some of the best family-friendly festivals that are less ‘hardcore’ for small children.
GuilFest – Stoke Park, Guildford – 18th-20th July
Returning this year under new management, GuilFest is the UK’s No. 1 family festival, featuring more than 200 music, comedy and theatre acts across several stages. Situated in Guildford’s Stoke Park, this year’s lineup includes The Boomtown Rats, Boney M and the Human League. There’s also the arts and craft village and the Kidzone, with guest appearances, circus performers and children’s rides, plus the nearby Guildford Spectrum and Lido. If you do decide to camp there’s even a separate, quiet campsite for families.
Camp Bestival – Lulworth Castle, Dorset – 31st July – 3rd August
The sister act to the Isle of Wight’s Bestival, Camp Bestival has won Best Family Festival three times. The kids’ area is huge, with soft plat, circus skills, arts and crafts and games, plus special performances for children, including Ben and Holly, Horrible Histories and West End Kids. Line-up includes Basement Jaxx, Chas & Dave, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and comedian Milton Jones. There are also specific campsites for families.
Just So Festival – Rode Hall Parkland, Cheshire – 15th-17th August
With highlights including Gabby Young & Other Animals, Shadowplay and various workshops (including song writing and ventriloquism), the Just So Festival really has families’ best interests at heart. It has a baby-feeding boudoir for mums to breastfeed or bottle feed their babies in peace, plus a designated nappy-changing tent in the peekaboo glade. The peekaboo glade also hosts bathtime (complete with bubbles) from 5-7pm.
Beautiful Days Festival – Escot Park, Devon – 15th-17th August
Frequently shortlisted for Best Family Festival, Beautiful Days is The Levellers’ festival with a large children’s area run by Majical Youth Theatre. There’s crafts, theatre, story-telling, music and all sorts, plus play areas in the campsites. Redwoods Camping is the designated family campsite with a storytelling area under the trees and the Lost Kids Tent and Medical Centre are both open 24 hours. This year’s line-up includes Seasick Steve, Levellers, Steeleye Spin and Bellowhead.
The Big Feastival – Alex James’ Farm, Kingham – 29th-31st August
Presented by Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James, The Big Feastival brings together music and food for all the family. Acts this year include Fatboy Slim, Fleetwood Bac and Jamie Cullum, plus a variety of top chefs including Jamie Oliver, Rachel Khoo and Levi Roots. Kids will love the Little Dudes Den with cookery classes, craft workshops and a vintage funfair.
Are you going to any festivals this year? Let us know if you’re taking your kids!
Don’t forget to check out our five favourite campsites in the UK, plus you can get epoints on any essential festival purchases: