First Festival? Emma’s choosing Larmer Tree 2012

hair fibre optics emmaGuest Blogger, Emma Parkes-McQueen and her Family do: Larmer Tree 2012

I have to stand up , raise my hand and admit it:

“Hello, my name is Emma and I am a Festival Virgin.”

Well, I went to Reading once when I was 21 but we camped at a site 5 miles away and only went there to pogo at the Chilli Peppers then went home – so that doesn’t count. 

Here I am 37 with two kids (7 and 3) and a lovely bloke (not telling you his age as he will cry) and I have never been to a festival. “Blow me, Emma” you would say if you knew me.

You would be shocked I’m sure as I went through an Art school Education, love music, people, dressing up, food, and grooving in my kitchen. BUT…. somewhere along the life plan I forgot to go to a festival.

A couple of years ago I met a few people who were going to festivals and taking their kids and I thought what a great idea. But it isn’t until this SUNNY July 11th 2012 that I am going to pack the tent, the kids, and the husband in the car and set off to the Larmer Tree Festival on the Wiltshire/Dorset borders.  I am so super excited I thought I could share the experience with you, and maybe you will share back.

So with the family in tow, I am really wondering who is going to be the easiest to please?   Scarlet will be fine (my 7 year old) as I think she is such a great age to soak up all the festival atmosphere, make some new friends and realize that life is not all maths and spelling tests. Fred who is just three might be a bit more demanding, not only is a fussy eater but he needs his sleep and well, what I’ve heard of all night musicians rocking on till 3am and the possible lack of stalls that just sell “clean pasta” (ie pasta with nothing on it) we might well have our hands full.

Simon, my bloke, will be happy to be pointed to the nearest bar and handed a programme. So how hard can it be? He’s done it all before, all be it 25 years since he’s done Glastonbury, where he was sold ‘special brownies’ that knocked his socks off that he walked from bonfire to bonfire all night which meant he didn’t sleep all weekend. (Let me add this way before he met sensible old me). I am just hoping that the lightning bolt of a mid life crisis l doesn’t strike whilst we are there as he realizes just how quickly time went!

To be honest, I don’t think the all out super festivals like Glastonbury are ever going to be for me, as personally I would just find them overwhelming and definitely not with kids – at least not yet anyway. Which is why I can’t wait for Larmer Tree. That is L.A.R.M.E. R. not LLAMA which I thought it was a few months ago (… honestly, I was looking for Alpacas! It took me ages to find their website!)

I have heard fantastic things about Larmer Tree. The fact that it is super intimate with approximately 4000 goers, suits me just fine. Yet saying that they have a fab line up of musicians including Paloma Faith, Jools Holland and Roots Manuva.  Plus The Correspondents, who are new to me, and Dizraeli and The Small Gods, who I have recently discovered too.

I love, love, love the fact that you can just turn up to a tent or a stage and see and hear so many new bands. There are just so many that I haven’t heard of (showing my age there—ten years younger and I would be on the pulse for sure) . I think I will just choose the bands with interesting names, bit like how I choose horses on the Grand National and go from there…

But what I am most looking forward to is wandering round the gardens and re-discovering the calmer side of me, chilling with my kids and my Man: a simple arrangement that we never seem to get time to do these days.  I have heard the grounds are stunning with hidden areas of artist’s installations, and workshops where you can try a new skill, or go and even buy a straw hat from a stall, and everything in between.  I have an image in my head of a secret garden, with treats and discoveries over every hedge. I even believe there is even a resident peacock to keep you company as you walk – wonder if he is playing the Main Stage too!

Emma x


Emma is the Designer and Owner of the ground-breaking Rockabye-Baby funky children’s clothing brand.  She is a brilliant mum to the gorgeous Scarlet (7) and Fred (3) who I had the pleasure to meet recently (you’d be hard-pushed to find a nicer pair of kids!).  She has an allotment and juggles a successful business whilst making sure she is always there for her children.

Emma is one of those inspiring creative fun people that is so great to be around, and when I got to know her I felt sure that she would adore Larmer Tree as much as I do.  I’ve been nagging her and am so glad that I’ve finally encouraged her to try it.  We got her a press pass and asked her to share the experience with us in return… watch this space for updates!  Romany x

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5 thoughts on “First Festival? Emma’s choosing Larmer Tree 2012

  1. You’re going to have wonderful time! And like Sam said once bitten that’s it!

  2. Feel excited for you Emma just know you will love it…but watch out once bitten by the festival bug there’s no turning back 🙂

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