For the last 13 years or so I have been going to festivals with my family. When the boys were babies it was relatively easy to get around, see what I fancied, and have some fun.
When they were busy and approaching school age it got harder. I started to offer to help organise kid’s fields. Mainly so there was something for them to do that I knew would keep their attention for the 3 & 1/2 minutes that I wasn’t holding onto them.
The last 10 years I have persevered and stuck at it, now they are approaching teenage-hood and are well experienced travellers and festival goers!
My new concerns aren’t baby changing facilities or quiet camping. It’s mobile phones, wandering attention spans, late night fires and the possibility of being called over the tannoy. “Can the parent of this little oik who just climbed the flag pole please remove him”... I fear the tannoy!
Last year at a festival I was approached by two very nice security guards. My blood ran cold. I was seeing myself visiting prison for the next 20 years when one of them calmly said “Don’t worry love, we aren’t here for your two, although I can have them for a while if you need some sleep!!”.
They were doing a great job of looking for a missing teenage girl. She had crashed out in her friend’s tent leaving her exhausted and distressed mum to spend all night searching the ditches and hedges for her. She was fine by the way.
Split the family
There are many festivals springing up, some old and some new, that are now restricting teenage access. Is this the way forward? I can go to those (and send my teens off on educational trips to family) or I can stick at it with the family festivals where there are clowns, balloons, tea time stories and climbing nets.
I feel that as a family we are in some strange no-mans-land. We are approaching the far edge of family festivals and looking out on a gap in the market. We need a cool place that won’t embarrass the teens whilst still having something for me to do. Does it exist?