Think festivals are a thing of the past now you’re a parent? Think again…
In the BC years (Before Children) my husband and I were known for working hard and playing hard. We rarely turned down a party, trip overseas or festival. In fact we were known for hosting most of the parties. All this had to change somewhat in the AD years (After Delivery). Our house was definitely off limits for parties till the small hours of the morning, trips aboard were assessed on whether the hotel had a child-friendly pool rather than proximity to the nearest superclub and festivals surely couldn’t be an option at all – could they?
Well we thought that way too until we discovered Camp Bestival. A 4-day family friendly festival set in the stunning grounds of Lulworth Castle on the South Coast of England. We packed up our beloved campervan and hit the road with our 1 year old daughter in tow. Everyone thought we were mad. How would she sleep? WHERE would she sleep? How would she cope with the noise? What would you do with her all day? What about her routine? Naptimes? Mealtimes? Baby changing facilities? It’s a good job all these doubters had no idea I was also 8 weeks pregnant with our second child! They would have had a melt down!
On our first evening at the Festival we took our 1 year old, in her bed clothes, into the area known as the Soul Park to see the Druid opening ceremony. Bathed in the light of the sunset, my little girl with a garland of flowers in her hair, squealing in delight at the chanting and dancing in front of her made the hours of travelling worth every moment. What a way to start our long weekend.
Camp Bestival is a music festival with a range of performers and styles of music to suit all tastes. If you are a lover of repetitive beats then head over to the dance tent after 10 pm. If you want folk music then make your way over to the bandstand on any given afternoon. If you need a little TLC head to the Soul Park, where holistic therapists will massage you, read your palm, draw tarot cards, or even hang you upside down – which my husband found invigorating. If your kids are up for learning something new take them to the children’s fields to join in one of the many craft or acrobatic workshops. There is never a dull moment.
Over the weekend we danced as a family and we took yoga classes together. We ate amazing food cooked up in the Young British Foodies tent. We explored the Dingly Dell, a magical forest with fairy houses hidden in the trees. We listened to music together, took in shows together, chased bubbles around fields together and watched fantastical fireworks together. And at the end of every magical, crazy day we slept together in our cramped little campervan.
Life was about as far from normality as it could possibly be. We had fun and connected as a family in a way that would have been impossible at home surrounded by washing, cooking and dirty dishes. Imaginations were lit up in a way that a week on a beach could never inspire. And we gave our daughter that most precious commodity – time together.
Was it exhausting? At 8 weeks pregnant? You bet!! Did it disrupt our toddlers sleeping habits? Absolutely. Was it one of the most unique opportunities for us to bond as a family? Hell yes! Would I go again?
Maybe I’ll wait till this baby is born first…
If you are in the UK in August check it out. You won’t regret it.