I grew up going to festivals with my family. Our family holiday each year was spent at Sidmouth Folk Festival, a week long celebration of international music and dance, as well as a lot of country dancing, finger-in-the-ear singing, and beer. I generally enjoyed it, apart from the tween years when my mates were all going to Florida, and I was headed once again to East Devon.
This particular festival was fairly pub-centric, with music and song sessions taking place in dark and smoky bars, to which we children were not allowed. In the sunshine we could lark about in the beer garden with our gang of similarly abandoned kids. In the rain, there was row upon row of children in a rainbow of cagoules, hoods up, sat miserably at benches, watching the rain dilute their bottle of coke, and make their bag of crisps soggy.
Admittedly, there was the odd bit of kids entertainment- dancing in the gardens in the mornings, I seem to recall making instruments from boxes at a craft session, and of course, the highlight of each year- The Cockroach Circus.
Apart from Sidmouth, we also used to go to an array of weekend festivals- glorious long summers of tents blowing down in gales, and endless accordion music and unicycles. Looking back it was a fabulous way to grow up, and also exposed us to a range of people, cultures, sub-cultures, and plain oddities. It gave me my absolute love of music, and shaped my lefty lovie mindset.
I was blessed enough to segueway straight from parental pocket, to being booked to play at festivals with my bands, and have been lucky enough to carry on festivalling away throughout most of my adult life. Up until recently I have attended at least 2 a year, not currently being in a band and therefore having to pay and Syd’s arrival curtailed this for a little while. Festivals are very expensive these days, but in return they offer an awful lot more.
I too have dragged my children up at festivals. My daughter attended her first at 8 months old, and is a proper festival kid, never happier than face painted and tu-tu-ed up. Even now at almost 17. Syd hasn’t been to one yet. But that is about to change. This weekend coming we are off to Camp Bestival, and I think he will be in his element.
Gone are the years of the odd milk bottle music session, and occasional weird insect show, family festivals are beyond anything my small self would recognise. This weekend I will get to see Billy Bragg, and Syd will get to see Mr Tumble. How rare that two such diverse heroes should be available in the same field? I have not been before, but I have it on good authority that it is a heaven for small peeps. I hear rumours of Dinosaurs and ball pools, and every possible joy a nearly two year old could wish for, plus there are quite a few fabulous musicians/bands for me to see, and the chance to get my own childhood back courtesy of a number of 1980s acts. I am imagining days with us sharing the chasing a delighted small chap as he romps his way around castle filled fields of dreams, and then fingers crossed, evenings with a shandy, some great music and a ear-protected sleeping small chap next to us.
Of course the only scary bit is camping, I am a bit rubbish at it (see here). I wish I still had my caravan. I am horribly disorganised, but I have at least now bought a tent. And the weather forecast seems to be up and down depending on where you look. It better be sunny, tho if it isn’t I can always go and see the Schuh peeps at their Welly Exchange for some more practical footwear, and a lovely fundraising idea on their part. Lets hope I don’t need to!
Lists. I need to make lists, with things like water, and biscuits written on it. I did consider camping stoves and elaborate meals, but actually going to make do with snacks, and take away coffees, and dinners purchased from counters at vans. Its only a few days, we can manage that long on nachos and bananas!