Our Writers’ Recommendations 2017

All of our writers are festival veterans with more festivals under their belts than they can count! So which festivals are they excited about this year?

Naomi

Messing about in the river at Green Man

We fell in love with Green Man last year – head over heels – and so we are excited about returning. We love the music, the theatre, the beautiful site itself full of trees with a little stream to play in – it’s a festival with everything.

Life just wouldn’t be the same without Shambala, a festival that’s packed full of so much fun and community that I wish I could live there year round.

Blissfields is a particularly special one – it blends excellent music and atmosphere, a stunning kids field, with its own unique arty boutique vibe – that we can’t wait for it to kick start our season. This year they are even offering free hot air balloon rides which I know is something the children are both excited and horrified about!

We are trying two new ones this year – Alfresco Festival in Tunbridge Wells and Valley Fest in Somerset – both are in beautiful sites. As you can see by our choices – we love our festivals small and with lots of nature to play in. So we might just stop by the irresistible Farmer Phils as well – a place that feels like our own little Eden.

Sarah

BoomTown family

Boomtown blew me away last year and I can’t wait to escape the screwed up world of reality and immerse our family in the chaotic world of creativity and love again.

Really looking forward to checking out Camp Bestival again and seeing how it’s blossomed since we visited 6 years ago.

We’ll also be doing something totally different this August bank holiday and stepping back in time to England’s Medieval Festival. Huzzah!!!

Lisa R

Wilderness – Photo credit – Carsten Windhorst

I will never forget the day I spent with my son at Wilderness last year. The sun shone, we watched the cricket, we danced, we lazed by the lake and ate ice cream and sang our heart out with the Wilderness Orchestra’s David Bowie tribute.

This year I’m really excited to learn more about the Bluedot Festival; it’s in an amazing venue (Jodrell Bank), features some excellent electronic music which makes my husband very happy and has lots of science and star gazing activities for the kids.

Kirsty

Last year we loved Starry Skies, I still can’t quite decide if it’s really a festival or more mini holiday but either way the kids had a wonderful time and loved the freedom of being able to run off into the woods with their new friends and minimal supervision from Mum and Dad. Which worked out pretty nicely for the grown ups too! It was a real escape from our usual high paced urban life and with so much space it was easy to spread out and get really comfy.

For 2017 I’m looking forward to Lakefest which has been on my Festival wish list for a while now. I’m sure we’ll all have lots of fun with this years Hawaiian theme.

Lisa M

Wood 2016
Hand washing at Wood

We loved Wood Festival last year. Being so teeny and safe, it was the perfect place to allow our children, aged nine and five, the freedom to roam the site with their new friends, while we tried some new activities and listened to some lovely folky music.

We always enjoy Cornbury with our children – there is so much on offer for them to do, the food is top quality and the site is lovely and easy to get around. We’re looking forward to seeing what they have on offer for us this year, it being the last one ever.

For 2017, we are super excited to get to experience Shambala, a Festival Kidz fave, for our family’s first time – my nine-year-old can’t wait to go to the overnight Bush Camp and we are all looking forward to soaking up what looks to be a true festival vibe.

It will also be our first visit to Folk by the Oak, the quirky day festival – we can’t wait to see The Levellers and love that the organisers encourage families to take their own picnic and drinks as well as sampling from what looks like a delicious array of caterers.

Catherine

We’ve done five years at Camp Bestival. It is the Children’s favourite due to the amount and range on offer for them. We find it so welcoming. It is lively and vibrantly colourful. They are kept so busy with the shows and workshops and thoroughly enjoy exploring all the different areas.

I love Beautiful Days and Bearded Theory because they emulate a lot of what I enjoyed about festivals in the nineties whilst also being amazing for kids.

Beautiful Days was the first festival that we went to as a family in 2011, and that’s when we all fell in love with the life. Bearded Theory has an astonishingly good line up this year. It’s quite possibly the best bargain for bands. I’m already wondering how we’ll juggle seeing and doing as much as possible of what they have on offer.

I also really appreciated the political aspect of the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival. Last year, as well as enjoying the activities and the slip and slide in the children’s area, my children got to find out about different trade unions, and learn a bit of the history. Both the children were also interested to listen to a speech by the Labour leader.

This year I’m looking forward to checking out Starry Skies and maybe Tewkesbury Medieval Festival. We love a bit of dressing up!

Tim

Violin at WOMAD 2016
Violin at WOMAD

Our joint favourite is WOMAD. It seems to have a niche audience and yet it shouldn’t do. Like foreign language films once you make the step you will soon be enjoying music beyond your usual filter bubble. For children who are naïve country mice the diversity and eclectic mix of music is illuminating. On top of this is the mazing World of Children and a host of other delights. The food’s good too.

Last year we went to Green Man and despite the rain it might qualify as our new favourite as it has a great atmosphere without being too big.

For smaller festivals, Green Gathering feels like a genuine festival experience whilst Larmer Tree has an excellent mix for children and adults alike.

Owl Costume for the Tribal Tournament - Just So Festival 2016
Owl Costume at Just So Festival

Christina

Fireworks at Camp Bestival

We loved Just So Festival last year – it was pretty special even though it rained a lot and our tent collapsed! No funfairs just great outdoor theatre, games and good old-fashioned fun – which really suited our boys, six and eight. It’s such a nicely paced festival.

We also love Camp Bestival and tend to spend the first few days in the thick of the many activities on offer and at the main stage then retreat to the quieter more chilled field for the last day – a perfect mix.

This year we are looking forward to trying out Farmfest – which has a great line-up and relaxed vibe and The Big Feastival to try out the nosh as well as the usual festive nonsense!


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