Shambala 2012 reviewed by Momof2MK (with 2 kids aged 10 and 4)
Parking and Setting Up: There was no queue for the car park, it was well signposted and the postcode (satnav) on the ticket info actually took us to the right field. We had to park very far from where we were camping as we were with friends who were in a camper which was the other side of the site, this could have been better explained as we would happily have paid the extra to have our car closer if we had known. But as we had 2 under 5’s a nice man gave us and all our gear a lift to the gate. The lanes were wide enough for our wagon and the meet and greet staff were friendly and kept an eye on the kids while we got our wristbands fitted.
Kid’s Activities: This was our first festival and we were amazed by the offerings in the kid’s field. All the things were free and a fab variety including face painting, wood working, trampolines, jewellery making (our eldest’s favourite) and a balloon disco which the youngest thought was excellent (a little loud for me). We knew the kids were safe in this area so we were able to relax, sit down and watch from a distance as they went off to ‘splore’. There were great workshops for all ages – even my husband had a go and all the staff were friendly and happy. We only got to see the Twinkle Brothers perform. But we went for the kids so we didn’t mind all. There was such a choice and we loved watching the carnival procession and seeing all the weird and wonderful outfits.
Festival Site: The site was well signposted and the heavy traffic areas had rubber matting down to prevent a boggy mire in the event of rain. The family camping areas were away from the main music areas and therefore quiet(ish).
Mobile coverage: The mobile coverage was good all round the site but most of our party turned off their email alerts as that was a bit patchy in areas.
Toilets: The toilets were cleaner than I expected and there were lots of them, the compost toilets had good instructions although it was evident most people were not able to follow them as they were a bit wiffy by Sunday. There should have been some more in the family field.
Safety Issues: We felt very safe and let the older kids roam free during the day (with a meeting point). The security was evident but passive and every steward that we met was friendly and helpful. There was a lost child tent and every child was given a wrist band on entry for you to put your pin code or mobile number on. As this is a family friendly festival if there was ever a child upset or looking lost other parents just stepped in to help them. I saw a small child in tears being comforted and carried around from activity to activity by a steward until they found his Mum who was in the queue for the loo.
Noise levels: The music was very loud at all of the venues and I developed a headache as the different types of music were competing for attention. I will definitely buy some ear defenders for myself next year as the kids wore theirs a lot and never complained about the noise.
Food: The food was varied and well priced but I think we will plan to have dinner back at the tent every evening next year as it was a good time out for all before heading back for the evenings offerings.
Suggested improvements: More loos in the family field as kids can’t queue – when they gotta go, they gotta go!
TOP TIPS: Keep some loo roll with you as it did run out in the afternoon. Bring the dress up box as most folks were in costume all weekend!
Most memorable moments: Sitting in the quiet of the enchanted garden inside a jellyfish as the kids jumped about on the hay bales shouting “wow, look at that” about everything.
Spending time as a family, just sitting drinking a cup tea, eating delicious cake and people watching.