Top 15 Music Festivals for Under-5’s – 2012

Top Festivals for Babies and Toddlers 2012 (for 2013 – click HERE!)

For really young kids we tend to recommend smaller festivals, particularly if you are not an experienced festival-goer.  Smaller festivals have the dual advantage of not being so vast that a trip back to the tent for a forgotten dummy takes half the morning, and the stage areas are usually less crowded meaning you can get closer to the bands without fearing your little one getting accidentally trampled on or lost.  That said, smaller festivals often don’t have as much budget for children’s activities, so your choice will also depend a little on the level of laid-on entertainment that your family need.

It really is very hard to choose from all the festivals that take place in the UK each year. But if we have to narrow it down, our short-list of the best festivals to take your really little ones to goes a little like this:

1.    Just So Festival – Staffs, 17-19 August 2012
This festival is a chance for adults and kids to immerse themselves in a beautiful world of creativity, arts, stories and children’s fantasies.  Super friendly and set in a site of true beauty, this festival is ‘just so’ gorgeous. Breastfeeding tents for relaxing feeding, baby bath times and electricity points for sterilisers.  There is no commercialism or TV characters in sight, just plenty of activities and creative adventures to explore and capture the imagination.

2.    Larmer Tree Festival – Wilts / Dorset borders, 11-15 July 2012
Smallish pretty site with lots of shady areas to put your picnic blankets. Larmer Lawns has lots of activities for little ones such as storytelling, crafts, puppets, playsongs and a dedicated babychange tent. The vibe is very relaxed, safe and friendly.  There’s a wooden play park on site and peacocks wandering free.  Music, comedy, theatre, literature, film, dance, art, crafts, massage and healing – expensive, but worth it.

3.    Shambala – Northamptonshire, 23-27 Aug 2012
Lots of provision for tiny ones: Family Yurt (for shelter, chilling out and bedtimes stories with cocoa), toddler play spaces, sandpits near the lake where you can relax with a pint on a sunny afternoon! Dedicated early years tent in the main festival with puppet shows, dance classes, workshops, and stay and play sessions.  This is a festival that maintains a bit of edge in its slightly hippy alternative vibe.

4.    Wychwood Festival – Cheltenham, 8-10 June 2012
Wychwood is very welcoming to families. You can drive onto campsite to unload, which really helps if you have a lot of stuff. Genuine music loving audience, tons of workshops, and there is also a very special Children’s Literature Festival with lots of top kids authors.  There’s a real toilet block with hot water too if you know where to look!  Atmosphere is pretty calm and gentle.

5.    Penn Festival – Bucks, 7-8 July 2012
A small boutique festival with a laid-back atmosphere.  Baby Chill Out area provided in a bell tent.  Kid-friendly cafe with story-telling courtesy of Lisa Igo at the Kindred Cafe and Tatty Bumpkins Kid’s Yoga.  There will also be loads of circus skills and some craft activities on offer.

6.   Nova – Sussex, 5-8 July 2012
A new boutique festival from the original Big Chill creators.  Little ones can get involved in all sorts of fun and creative activities in the Land of the Bumbley Boo.

7.   Fairland Trust Fairy Fair – Norfolk, 3 and 4 June 2012
Designed for children between 3-8 years, this magical charity non-camping event features a range of bookable activities including making fairy crowns, gardens and elves. Children can also visit the Fairy Queen, create a mud pie for the Cooking for Trolls competition, or post a card at the Pixie Post Office.

8.   Solfest – West Cumbria, 24-26 August 2012
A warm and welcoming little festival with a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Almost all of the workshops are suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.  And you can have real campfires

9.    Deer Shed – North Yorks, 20-22 July 2012
The organisers of Deer Shed put loads of thought put into children and families as many of them are parents themselves. Children are as catered for as adults in a very inclusive way.  There are nice touches to be found here such as highchairs in eating areas and kids activities in the camping field so they are entertained while you pitch the tent (one of which is a giant pile of cardboard boxes, now what little kid doesn’t love that?!)

10.    Cornbury – Oxfordshire, 29 June – 1 July 2012
Affectionately nicknamed Poshstock, Cornbury historically attracts a rather genteel crowd – think picnic hampers and plenty of Pimms! The Children’s Zone includes circus skills, yoga, storytelling, dance, messy art, and singing.  Fairly sophisticated and calm vibe so anything likely to cause much offence generally just doesn’t go on!

11.    Camp Bestival – Dorset, 26-29 July 2012
Camp Bestival is completely geared up for families. Your festival experience will feel like a cross between an entertainment-filled summer holiday at Butlins and all the wacky eccentricity of a major music festival. There is something here for all ages and some well chosen big name acts courtesy of Rob da Bank.  Bear in mind though that this festival is a BIG one, busy, crowded and the party goes on all night.  Great for when you have a mix of ages to entertain rather than just a toddler.

12.    Three Wishes Faery Fest – Devon, 15-17 June 2012
The setting for this festival just couldn’t get much more magical.  Really stunning views and gardens on this beautiful hillside haven of tranquility.  You will be surrounded by visions of mythical loveliness in a this fantasy world.  Little fairies and imps are warmly welcomed to come and play with the faery folk.

13.    Elderflower Fields – Sussex, 25-27 May 2012
A new festival for 2012.  There are numerous workshops and activities, and is a creche provided if you want a bit of time to play with your older children, or just get a little nourishing child-free time.

14.    Beautiful Days – Devon, 17-19 August 2012
A really nice family-friendly festival with a strong and warm hippy vibe.  Expect the atmosphere to be laid-back and friendly and expect the site to be colourful and arty.  Winners of the 2011 ‘Best Family Festival’ Award.

15.   WOMAD – Wiltshire, 27-29 July 2012
WOMAD’s World of Kids is full of exciting workshops and cultural activities. WOMAD offers Park and Camp tickets to a small supplement so you can park almost next to your tent – great when you have car car full of baby paraphernalia.

If camping at a music festival is really not your thing but you want get a taste of the festival atmosphere then how about:

LolliBop – London, 17, 18, 19 August 2012
Held in Regent’s Park, this day festival is aimed purely at little ones.  The place is teeming with colourful children’s brands, walkabouts and stage performances from your toddler’s favourite TV shows.  There are also all sorts of other free activities to keep little ones excited and entertained all day, but there can be long queues for the more popular ones.

For more family-friendly festivals near you, check out the interactive Family Festival Map and read our Festival Factsheets for Families. 

We also have a blog on Choosing the right Festival for your Family.  Also, check out any festival with an Angel Gardens family area.

27 thoughts on “Top 15 Music Festivals for Under-5’s – 2012

  1. Hi thinking of taking our children ages 2,4and 12 to solfest. Has anyone been with young children is it ok or a little messy?? Any advice /tips appreciated thanks

    1. Hi Clare,
      I haven’t been personally but I know I have heard nice things about it… I will ask on Facebook to see if we can get some more specific feedback for you.
      Romany x

  2. You may think it’s an odd choice but my boys love Sonisphere…there’s a lovely atmosphere, shame it’s not on this year! My 12 year old came home raving about Rammstein!
    Smaller ones are good, London Feis was rather child friendly if you fancy a day out festival. I wouldn’t take children to V (I have in the past, my youngest got breastfed watching Radiohead) but not now. Too many people and too much trouble.
    One tip from small ones…slings! A nice babyhawk or a ring sling and you’ll be well away!

  3. Amanda Morrison, it’s all about choice and your personal preferences and entertainment needs – some families love CB and wouldn’t be comfortable with something like Sunrise Offgrid, just like the people who love the smaller intimate festies would absolutely hate something like Camp Bestival! x

  4. We are on our third year at tribfest in Yorkshire this children have been going since ages two and for and love it

  5. Can we put a plug in for our beautiful Big Tent festival which takes places in July on the historic landscape of Falkland Estate, Fife, Scotland. It is a family focused festival and one of the few around where children under the age of 16 get in for free. There’s a dedicated children’s zone and most children’s activities are free. There are two campsites dedicated to families. Festival is topped off with a fantastic folk music line up (including Salsa Celtica, Karine Polwart and the Proclaimers who grew up in this area). 21-22 July 2012.

  6. Sunrise Offgrid (the smaller sunrise event… 500 people.. 5 days) was fantastic for kids… Really beautiful intimate space and lots for everyone to do.. Very peaceful in the evenings 🙂 Am surprised camp bestival is on your list.. All the parents I know came home crying :-/ Mainly from having to bump up the credit card once inside and paying for too much kids stuff such as ‘using a slide’ .. They actually felt robbed and let down by the heavy commercial side of it x x

  7. As 5 festivals a year folk prior to our beautiful daughter we are trying out first one with her this year, she will be 14 months (although walking since 9 so pretty stable) and it will be Penn! Thanks for an amazing resource, we will let you know how it goes!

  8. Hi
    Just want to let folk know about Weyfest its held in September and is based at The Rural Life centre Tilford Surrey. Lots of kids activities drama, craft, circus skills and magic, Small 3 day family festival getting bigger each year.

  9. Hi Rain-shine, we’ve got a factsheet on Tweedsmuir but their website is still showing info from last year – do you know if they are running again this year and what the dates are? x

  10. Hi, i am an organiser for cazfest music festival, Bishops stortford. We would like some entertainment for kids this year at the festival, is there anyone you could recommend please? Many thanks

    1. Hi Tia,
      I’m afraid I don’t really know anyone in your area. I would suggest you contact the organisers of Standon Calling, One Love, Rhythm, or Cambrigde Folk festival and see if they can give you any leads?
      Do you get masses of kids? It could be that local kids entertainment/activity businesses would be interested in putting on workshops and activity session as a promotional exercise (people like MAD academy, Little Kickers, local dance schools, perhaps the local pre-school wants to run messy play in return for donations, etc…)
      Good luck x

  11. hi, i live in the local village of bere regis, i have a donut trailor which is fully insured and certificated, also both my brother and i have food and hygiene certs part 2. we are currently looking for pitches to attend, and wondered if we may attend your event? many thanks for your time in reading this. thanks paul.

    1. I’m afraid Festival Kidz does not have ‘an event’ for you to attend! We are a website of blogs and information for parents who take their children to music festivals. Good luck with your search!

  12. Not a camping festival but a children’s festival- the Fairy Fair- run by The Fairyland Trust is a two day event in Holt, Norfolk. Filled with work shops for making fairy wings, wands, potions, fairy houses and spells as well as outdoor activities like treasure hunts. Also clothes, craft and food stalls for the grown ups and a beer tent selling locally made ale.

Comments are closed.