The Rise of the Family Friendly Music Festival
There seems to have been an ever-increasing number of family friendly music festivals popping up over the past few years.
The way we listen to music has changed largely down to streaming and more free downloads. Artists now make more money from live performances than selling actual records and more people are looking for ways to experience the music.
However, with the growing number of festivals they have had to start offering more to compete and stand out from the crowd.
Music festivals have always been primarily about the music but today they offer so much more and consequently appeal to larger audiences and increasingly have become more family friendly.
There are now numerous family friendly music festivals that not only cater for the adults but also have plenty to offer the kids, making them ideal for a weekend away for the whole family.
Music festivals tend to have several different stages and a good mix of music giving you the opportunity to enjoy different bands and artists throughout the weekend. It’s much cheaper to spend a weekend seeing a couple of your favourite bands than it is to go along to individual concerts
Our Introduction to Music Festivals
Mr J has always been a big music fan and when we were younger we went to quite a few music concerts from Dexys Midnight Runners to Brian Ferry and everything in between. We even took G to see “New Kids on the Block”, her taste in music has moved on.
However, these were just music concerts that lasted a few hours. Obviously, there were music festivals happening when we were younger, but we never went to any.
The first weekend music festival we went to was Henley Rewind, a celebration of 80’s music and artists, and I loved it. The sun shone, the music was nostalgic, we were with a large group of friends, and we were Glamping. I was bitten by the festival bug.
The Grandchildren’s Introduction to Family Friendly Music Festivals
Growing up G always loved music and shares her passion for music with her now husband Mr G. They have always loved going to concerts and music festivals and when the Grandchildren were small they would come and stay with us when G and Mr G went away to a weekend music festival.
As the kids got older they also started to love music and G and Mr G started to take them along to one of the local family friendly music festivals, TruckFest, during the day and we would pick them up in the early evening.
In 2016 they decided that the kids were old enough to camp at the local TruckFest so we all bought family weekend camping tickets.
G and Mr G were going with a large group and friends and camping in the family camping. I like camping but when I can Glamp I’m happy to take the option of a little more comfort, hot showers, so Mr J and I opted for the Glamping.
We opted for a large Bell Tent as this also meant we could have the Grandkids with us for one night while G and Mr G got some time to relax and enjoy the festival.
Truck Festival – A local Family Friendly Music Festival
Truck Festival was started in 1998 by the Bennett family and is held in July on a working farm in Oxfordshire.
The main stage was originally constructed from three large flatbed trucks, and a common misperception is that this is where the name of the festival comes from. However, Robin Bennett says that:
“Contrary to popular belief, the name Truck actually came from a compilation CD I picked up, ‘Ten Trucking Greats’, the soundtrack of the movie Convoy.”
There’s an eclectic mix of music on seven stages and although it’s relatively small it manages to attract some great bands with Manic Street Preachers headlining in 2016 alongside Catfish & The Bottlemen, Kodaline plus Everything Everything and Circa Waves and many more.
2017 saw The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand and The Vaccines headlining while for 2018 they have announced that Peace, Friendly Fires, and George Ezra, will be headlining with the Sunday headliner still to be announced.
The festival also has a comedy tent and Day and Night Dance arena, The Temple and The Ruins. Palm City hosts some of the biggest names in the world of Dance including Idris Elba last year.
The music festival is literally a couple of miles from us and is small enough for it to feel safe for the kids and being local it means you’re always bumping into people you know.
One of the other highlights for me at the festival is the food, alongside the usual festival fayre there’s the Food Hall, entirely run by volunteers from the local Rotary Club. The food hall is serves everything from Steak Sandwiches, Mac & Cheese to classic Tea and Scones. My favourite is the scrambled egg and smoked salmon for breakfast and the boys love the homemade banana milkshakes.
Why is Truck Festival Good for Kids?
A big plus is that under 12’s Go Free!
There’s a dedicated Family campsite that G and Mr G camp in, it’s away from the General Campsite and only a short walk to the Main Arena and is a great option for families. It’s become a bit of a tradition and they go with a large group of friends that also have children and set up camp together.
Last year they moved the family camping up the hill, which would have been fine if it hadn’t been so wet and muddy! The hill turned into a bit of a mud bath which made it a bit difficult getting up and down with the kids.
There’s also a kid’s area full of Circus activities, dedicated shows, puppets with Arts & Crafts as well as a Ferris Wheels and Helter Skelter which the kids love. There’s a Cinema tent with beanbags and plenty of kid’s films during the day, the littlest Grandson and I have spent a few hours chilling in there.
If the weather’s nice, it was very wet last year, you can find a space to decamp to with your picnic blankets and if you’re with a large group of friends the grownups can take it in turns to look after the kids and belongs and everyone including the older kids can come and go throughout the day.
Here’s what the Grandkids say they like best about it:
Grandson no 1 (F) – “I like the music and I see lots of my friends there; and I really like the duck wraps.”
Grandson No 2 (C) – “I really like the music and camping with my friends”
Grandson No 3 (Z) – “I like the cinema, playing with my friends and staying in Grandma and Grandad’s tent.”
G’s Top Tips for Taking Kids along to Family Friendly Music Festivals
1. Take plenty of dry snacks (the tent can get hot and chocolate may melt!) and drinks for the kids.
2. Have an agreed plan of what they should do if they get lost and make sure they have your mobile number on them, somewhere it won’t fall off or get lost. Although bear in mind the phone signal isn’t always reliable.
3. Take facepaint and glitter for the kids.
4. Agree how much pocket money they can spend during the weekend, numerous rides on the big wheel can soon add up!
5. Take ear defenders it can be very noisy
6. Take some activity books and pencils for when you’re back at the tent.
7. Take plenty of wet wipes and spare toilet roll.
8. Buy glow sticks before you go and take them with you, they’re much cheaper.
9. Don’t forget wellies, waterproofs, hats, sunglasses and sun cream – you never know what the weather will do.
10. Take Grandma and Grandad so they can help look after the kids Xx
G, Mr G and the boys really have the festival bug and as well as TruckFest over the last couple of years they have also been to Lakefest, Bestival and which are all family friendly, but Truck will always be special as it’s the boys first festival.
We’ve already bought our tickets for this Year’s Truck Fesival so I’ll let you know if we have as much fun.
I’d love to hear if you’ve taken your kids to any family friendly festivals.