Louise went down to Shambala Festival to check out their family friendly credentials for Festival Kidz. Louise lives and breathes festivals, so much so that she even took her newborn baby to Glastonbury last year just days after an emergency c-section! So what did she make of Shambala then?
“Wow! It was all the best bits of Glastonbury, but smaller, more accessible, and less middle class. The very first thing we felt on entering the site was a warm welcoming vibe, something Shambala is well known for.”
“AMAZING. Had the fear we wouldn’t be able to camp with our gang… we arrived over 24 hours after them and there was STILL loads of space to camp and, when I say space, I mean SPACE! (We’ve stayed in non-festival campsites in the UK that have had less space). And the perfect thing is the main car park is a stone throw away from the Family Camping (families get priority to camp next to the gate) WOOOHOO and it’s a flat site with no hills – yay for those pushing buggies.”
“In the Family Camping is a couple of family yurts for babies to play in, so if you’re rained in you can hang out there, nice and dry. They also had baby baths and showers for parents (unlike me) who care to clean their kids.”
“Well, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven: the Reggae… the Dub… the space… the accessibility to everything… the fancy dress… the millions of kids and babies (lots looking as feral as my own)… the laid back ambient vibe… the smiles… the craziness… and I just love to watch the morning-after carnage from the non-parents. The next day, while sipping on our coffee at 7am, a man in a t-shirt and no pants walks past… we love this, it’s all part of the festival fun.
But don’t freak out – it wasn’t in the family area!”
“The site is compact, filled with loads of stuff to do and see, great stalls, all the cafes from Glasto, everything all really easily accessible, the main stage is surprisingly small, and never packed, I found this really strange at first and then loved it I could actually see the band and didn’t have to worry about losing the kids.”
“A HORSE!… a real tiny horse and cart carrying kids round the site… TOOO cute! Bikes, workshops, making, do-ing, comedy (we watched the funniest guy do a stand-up: kids loved it, adults loved it).
There was a great big sandpit for the kids too.”
* Personal Highlights *
… walking into the enchanted wood and my 5 year old thinking there were real fairies flying round the green lights (they were gnats but hey, lets not ruin it for her!) …
… seeing my friend come back from her reflexology session looking like a space cadet and then, with tears in her eyes, turn to me and say “I’m having the best time” … more tears of joy and …
… The Travelling band playing Sundial and having space to dance, it was like they were singing it to me… AND THEY WERE! …
… running into the dance tent and ‘avin it large’ with my 5 year old to some ‘dirty dark dancehall’… everyone opening up the way so she could get to the front and dance – even though it was late at night! …
… walking on water to get to the lighthouse …
… the music …
“Shambala is not a festival for those who like ‘squeaky clean, groomed’ environments – it has an ‘edge’ and personally I like that (it’s a more hippy, alternative feel) but one of my friends (who prefers Camp Bestival and more commercial music) wasn’t very comfortable with this ‘edge’ all.”
“This is a festival that doesn’t make you feel like you’re doing the walk of shame when pushing the buggy back to the tent at 3am in the morning! Most parents are doing the same thing and no-one is going to judge you here. If your kids haven’t been cleaned for 3 days and a wet wipe has not touched their face… then that’s OK… I have to admit even at Glasto this year I was conscious that my child was the filthiest kid on the block… but here I didn’t have to worry!”
I’M GOING BACK!
To discover more about Shambala festival, held in a secret location each year (usually over August Bank Holiday) visit the Shambala Festival Website at: