Choosing from the hundreds of excellent family-friendly festivals out there is really really tough.
Many families will place a different importance to different aspects. Personally I don’t like my festivals too crowded, I like quality music but I’m not so bothered by big names, and most importantly I like a good range of workshops and street theatre to keep everyone entertained. But people always ask me which are the best festivals for kids so here is my shortlist – the ones which I think have something extra-special about them:
Larmer Tree Festival – Set in gorgeous surroundings, the vibe is very relaxed and friendly. It feels very safe. Tons of workshops and loads of space. Music, comedy, theatre, literature, film, dance, art, crafts, massage and healing – Larmer Tree has it all. Look out for the Blooming Loopy hair garlands cart.
Just So Festival – This one is less focused on music – more a chance for adults and kids to immerse themselves in a festival of creativity, arts, stories, fantasy and imagination for a weekend. Super friendly and set in a site of true beauty, this festival is ‘just so’ gorgeous.
Camp Bestival – Totally geared up for families. Large enough to boast some big names across many genres to appeal to the entire family. So many activities and shows, you’ll struggle to pack it all into the weekend.
Wychwood – Laid back and mellow, the site has lots of hard standing so copes with wet summers well, Wychwood is incredibly welcoming to families. There are plenty of activities and workshops laid on and there is also a very special Children’s Literature Festival with lots of top kids authors. And we’ll be there with a stall so come and say hello!
Beautiful Days – A relaxed festival in Devon. Winner of Best Family Festival 2011 at the UK Festival Awards on the strength of their kid’s activities and workshops and family friendly atmosphere.
Penn Festival – A new boutique family festival in Buckinghamshire. This festival has a great relaxed atmosphere with a happy vibe. The Kid’s Area will be superb this year with Bigtopmania – a chance to experience big festival names in a small festival…
Shambala – Lovely thought gone into accommodating the needs of families, coupled with a lot of creativity and edge.
Deer Shed – The organisation of this festival has had a lot of thought put into children and families. There are all sorts of nice touches such as kid’s activities in the camping field so they are entertained while you pitch the tent. Children feel included and they are integral to the programming rather than an afterthought.
WOMAD – Eclectic World Music line up and more cultural education opportunities than you could possibly imagine!
Latitude – A great mix of Literature and Music, and multi-coloured sheep – I kid you not!
Nibley – Not-for-profit and family focused community minded event, relaxed and welcoming vibe… but if you haven’t got your tickets yet, you’ve missed the boat – they sold out in 36 hours!
Wilderness -A feast of utter gorgeousness, where nature, art and music come together in a wild yet earthy celebration of our existence.
Farmer Phil’s – Intimate, loads of space, loads of workshops and a line up to dance to. Camp for a week on the farm at no extra cost – the original festi-holiday…
Now, I know not everyone will agree and I know some very worthy festivals have been left out… I mean there’s also Bearded Theory, Blissfields, Port Eliot, Green Man, Kendal Calling, Barefoot Festival, Croissant Neuf, SGP, Meadowlands, Kidsfest, Small Nations… the list goes on…!
We recommend every festival on our Festivals Map because they all welcome families and we think that you and your children could have a really good time there but not all festivals suit all families. We haven’t been to every festival we feature, we just don’t have the time or the money to do that, but if any of you want to write a review for the benefit of other parents then please do and we will post it up – and if you’re an organiser and want us to come down and check out your family-friendly credentials, send a couple of tickets our way and we’ll be there! x