Wednesday 25 June 2014

No camping please, I'm squeamish :)

This weekend the festival season starts in earnest with the behemoth that is Glastonbury Festival. As you probably know I'm not a camping type and I don't do crowds very well - being 5 foot and not much else means I'm eye level with belt buckles and chests which isn't nearly as appealing as it sounds.

I've been compiling my radio show covering the best family festivals including hints and tips on how to manage little ones when you go to a festival. I hope that in time we will feel confident enough to take our boy for the full festival experience. I may even consider glamping - I said maybe. We took him to Ben & Jerry's Big Sundae when he was still in my belly and then when he was 10 months. Free ice cream and outdoor music was just the thing for our little muso - he loved bopping along to Billy Bragg - but, sadly, the event seems to have been discontinued since.
It's the PIXIES !!!! 

Hubbie and I went to one festival last year, the Edge of the Sea which is held in Brighton and hosted by Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present. It's been going for years, but it was our first time and it was brilliant fun and didn't involve camping - win !  This year we'll go again and the boy will stay with Grandma and Grandpa again. We've already been to Field Day this year which is a festival for grown ups only and we saw the Pixies and a few bands we'd sort of heard of. As we ambled around Victoria Park in East London admiring the artisan food stalls I thought about how many open air gigs we'd been to in the past and as I was just remembering our friend Gareth who had been to the Innocent Fruitstock festival with us I spotted him coming towards us !! Weird and psychic coincidence it wasn't though, as apparently he goes every year.

artisan food van
Gareth and Hubbie 'watching' a band 
couscous as street food ?

My Mum and brother kept the boy out of trouble while me and Hubbie made a middle-aged road trip to the festival and patted ourselves on the back when we found parking close to the site. I know, I know, judge away.

Done ? Ok. I will continue.

While we spent some grown up time together I spotted some fabulous festival archetypes:

  • The man with the open shirt drunk and asking random strangers for a light - this one is harmless if a bit annoying 

  • The skinny 'Bridget Bardot' type complete with floppy hat, brocade bandeau and hot pants and vertiginous wedge sandals - alone, but getting a lot of looks

  • Girl talking to her friend while they were trying to watch a band - her story just had to be told then and there, no one was rude enough to tell her to wind her neck in

  • Looky likeys: this is a game that me and Hubbie play, even thought it's very silly. I spotted Steve Tyler, Michael Hutchence, Zach Galifianakis, Anne Hathaway (the movie star, not the queen)
I cannot explain this

A highlight was watching 2 security men take a man down. He was wearing a high-vis vest and no shirt, we're not entirely sure why. This may not sound interesting, but then another man dressed as Captain America went over and shook his hand with the hilarious offer, "how can I help ?"

The slight cat hair in the ointment was that we were surrounded by hipsters and they inspire my pogonophobia. Yes, I have an irrational fear/dislike of beards - and now also of top knots when worn by men who are not Sikh. I don't get it. They look ridiculous. I just wish they'd stop.

Nice to see that Thurston Moore has a sideline
So, we're getting the hang of festivals as parents who've left the boy behind. I think this might be the way forward. We love music. We love nice food. We love being together. I think we can take this to the next level and maybe even introduce the random element of a child into the mix - or camping. Not both. I'm not that brave (or insane !)

I challenge any festival to prove to me that it is possible to have a good time when camping at a festival. Go on, I'm waiting to be converted :)

Shiny happy people :) 


  1. Oh man, I am soooo jealous. I always pictured myself as a festival junkie but the GeordieLad just isn't fussed. So I have now become a camping guru - and I recommend it. Get yourself an electric hook up (heat is a must), pretty lights, top of the range sleeping bag and your fav comfy blanket from home.
    So my challenge - get the hubby out to a festival this year. Your challenge - have a go at glamping!

    1. I'm still not convinced - my friend did send me a link to a festival camping package with butler and luxury tent that costs £9000 !!! It really is just sleeping outdoors at the end of the day isn't it ?