Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Should you go to a festival?

People sometimes show some surprise when they hear that a 50 year old woman goes to festivals.
They show even more surprise when they hear that while I take my daughter and sometimes a friend, that I would still go to festivals if I had to go alone. My husband is not a festival goer.

 I have been going to festivals since I discovered them relatively late in life. I was 41 when I attended my first festival, on a whim after seeing a flier, using a very basic tent I obtained via freecycle and really making it up as I went along.

festival trolley
I would suggest that everyone go to at least one festival in their life. you may hate it (my husband is not keen, though that's mainly health related) but I suspect you won't.

Festivals give you the ultimate excuse to be you. To wear what you like, to wake and sleep when you like, to eat and drink what you like, to be free for a couple of days in the semi wild of a field with only some material between you and the elements.

children playing with bubbles at a festival
The very things that people fear at festivals (toilets, noise, crowds, weird food, not being able to sleep, weather) are the very things that make it such a special and magical place (OK, festival toilets may not be magical, I might have to concede that point, but they can be funny, and playing 'toilet roulette' gives the whole thing a sweet frisson).

festival compost toilet loos
If you have children then festivals are the best place on earth. They have all the fun of camping (small children usually love camping, no worries about dropping food, or muddy feet, no baths, no bedtimes, lots of space) with the added excitement of fun things to do, music to dance to and the odd drunk adult sleeping in the mud to laugh at.

If you have never been to a festival before then 2016 is your year! Check out e-festivals for a small cheap festival near you for a taster. But if you are feeling braver and are flush with money despite the Christmas excesses, try Camp Bestival. Billed as a family festival it's a great medium sized festival to start with, whether or not you have kids. Due to the larger number of babies and toddlers (and thus parents) there is very little criminal activity, or drug issues and it feels very safe. The crowds do not feel scary (and you'll see over the heads of most of the kids!). They have some great retro bands, as well as new ones (Tears for Fears are headlining in 2016) And there is so much to do and see (for free) that you will have to work at it to be bored! The Camp Bestival theme for 2016 is Space and I think the fancy dress costumes are going to be out of this world!

I hope to see you at a festival in 2016. Look out for my tent.

painted cabanon tent at a festival with bunting