The festival image has shifted over time. Glastonbury, the hippy drug fest of old with all manner of scallies able to breach the perimeter fence was transformed into a veritable village of happiness and muddy fun a few years back.
Now at Glasto the kids field is pretty amazing and the wider festival has appeal with pop-up theatre scattered throughout the fields and spectacles that engage the children – it’s now an attractive option for families.
Other festivals created spin-offs as the organisers matured and had their own offspring – probably the most famous being Camp Bestival. Other events with a more laid back feel, such as Latitude and The Big Chill, have been child- friendlier from the start.
There are now so many festivals around the country that it can be hard to choose which to go for. Kendal Calling for us a few years ago was perfect. Finn was almost two – running around burning off toddler energy and enjoying outdoor dancing but he was still cautious enough to want to stay close to us.
That was our last family festival experience and with Tilly finally on her feet and on the move we have started to look for a place to go to this summer.
Cloudspotting (26th-28th July) is billed as a ‘micro music, food and beer festival’. The poster we saw invites people to join them in a “woodland paradise for an intimate summer weekend of fun”.
Based at Slaidburn, in the Ribble Valley, it seems far enough away from Hebden to feel like an adventure but close enough to deposit the children at the grandparent’s house should they need a couple of hours of sofa time.
Quality food is vitally important when you are stuck in a field in the middle of remoteness so the lure of ‘locally sourced produce’ – especially in the foodie haven of the Ribble Valley – is strong.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a muso so the fact I have only heard of one of the acts in the line-up isn’t an issue. The fab thing about Youtube is being able to check out the line-up and getting a taste of if it’s for you. I thought some of them sound bloody great.
It’s described as ‘a smashing line up of music, arts and loads for the young uns to do’. It’s a pretty reasonable £70 entry fee for a full weekend camping ticket with a nominal £3 fee for under 16s for registration (slightly higher ticket price for camper vans, etc).
Festivals in Spain looked tempting for a while because of the guaranteed dry weather but I suppose the rain risk is part of the traditional festival experience. I can’t order a heat wave for the last weekend in July but I am happy to pack wellies and waterproofs and hope for the best for a weekend outdoors.