When was the last time you let your hair down? Probably in your 30s, when you used to attend more than just a summer festival with your friends. The good news is that you can still enjoy the music, the food and the great outdoors with your kids, if you feel to. Just manage your expectations. Much of the time will be spent looking after your children, or maybe worrying about them. Exceptions are teenagers, who will disappear, only to return when more money is required.
It’s been a decade since DJ Rob da Bank launched the Camp Bestival, one of the first music festivals to make bringing the kids along. Now, there are plenty of family-gigs to enjoy in the UK and they are becoming increasingly popular. They range from tiny to colossal and each of them will offer something a bit different. The key to finding the right festival is based on your budget, the size, the lineup, the audience, the activities, the facilities and the location.
We’ve picked our top 8 favourite ones for 2019 to help you create an unforgettable family experience. So, pack up the tent, pull on those wellies, bring ear defenders and your wildest fancy dress: summer is coming, as well as fun, sun and lots of mud.
Elderflower Fields | 24-27 May 2019 | Pippingford Park, East Sussex
It takes place in the stunning heart of the Ashdown Forest on part of the estate of Pippingford Park. It is an award-winning three-day festival, designed especially for families with children. From sports and art camps to the urban woods activities, wildlife and environmental projects, music, theatre, dance, science, there’s something for everyone. Among the extensive list of performers: Nick Cope, Tot Rockin’ Beats and the Makeshift Ensemble with a brand new theatrical show ‘I am turtle’ and a message from the deep. Dragonfly stage headliners will include the big sounds of travelling band Hope and Social, and Gary Stewart’s Graceland with a homage to Paul Simon’s seminal album. There is also a host of locally sourced products and a glorious Sunday family picnic not to be missed.
Latitude Festival | 18-21 July 2019 | Henham Park, Suffolk
With designated kids, teens and family areas, there’s something for everyone. This is one of the most popular choices for those looking for that big festival experience but in a safe and intimate surrounding. Watch George Ezra, Snow Patrol and Lana Del Rey while your kids hang out in the Enchanted Garden, where there’s circus skills classes, archaeology & history, and wildlife craft sessions.
Kendal Calling | 25th-28th July | Lowther Deer Park, Lake District
Surrounded by the picturesque Lake District countryside, Kendal Calling is perfect for those looking for a smaller family festival experience. The dedicated Kids Calling area, plus the Lost Eden and Woodlands area provide a welcome fun alternative to the usually stellar music line-up. After 9 pm the Lost Eden comes alive, with luminous webs and critters brought to life by an LED makeover. The Emperor Fields site is a must for families.
Camp Bestival | 25-29 July 2019 | Lulworth Castle, Dorset
It is probably the most popular festival in the UK. A wonderland for little ones: bouncy castles, go-carts, fairgrounds, face painting, sandpits and glitter. Head to the Upper Kids’ Garden on the lawn behind the castle to find the world’s biggest bouncy castle. This year the Camp Bestival stages host CBeebies stars like Mr Tumble, Maker and Bloom. It even features Shaun the Sheep’s Vegetable Orchestra. Ready for some very good music? Don’t miss Nile Rodgers & Chic, Jess Glynne, Annie Mac, Sister Sledge and The Human League. Last but not least, a special guest star: Tom Jones.
Green Man Festival | 15th-18th August 2019 | Brecon Beacons, Wales
Located in the glorious Brecon Beacons, Green Man is a perfectly eclectic mix of music, dance and arts. From craft workshops and bubbles galore to a bit of magic or just frivolous fun; this is one of the best kids’ festivals out there. A four-day event with three days of music and more than 100 acts playing indie, psychedelia, Americana, and folk across 5 stages, while DJs playing everything from psychedelia, dub-reggae, modern electro and stoner rock right through the night, plus film, literature, workshop and children’s areas, and DJs. Confirmed acts include Four Tet; Father John Misty; Eels; Stereolab; Yo La Tengo; Idles; Sharon Van etten; Broken Social Scene; Amadou & Mariam. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the Settlement Stage, and this year it’s curated by the brilliant PYST, treating our ears to an assemblage of Welsh music, including: Pys Melyn, 3 Hwr Doeth, Mellt, Blodau Papur, Ani Glass, Y Cledrau, Y Sybs, Chroma and Los Blancos.
Just So Festival |16th – 18th August 2019 | Rode Hall, Cheshire
There’s art, music, literature, comedy and theatre, all surrounded by the stunning views of Rode Hall Estate. A must for any family looking for a creative, joyous weekend. The multi award-winning Just So is dedicated solely to children and their families, offering astonishing arts, unique experiences and the chance to see the best in new outdoor arts each year. With poets including John Hegley, world-class music acts to get the audience dancing, adventurous theatre, circus and dance, this year’s festival promises to be ‘the most spectacular Just So ever’. Just So 2019 will have several exciting new areas for festivalgoers to explore. Be dazzled by the stunning Fire Garden, a pyrotechnic marvel of light set among the trees of a brand-new orchard. Delve into the mysterious Garden of Delight, a palace of secrets in part of the Rode Hall Estate that has never been open to the festival audience before. Head into the woods to enjoy author talks, music workshops and night-time DJ sets in Wonderland, and visit the New Curiosity Shop to learn amazing art, animation, digital and journalism skills.
Big Feastival | 23-25 August 2019 | Costwolds
The Big Feastival has become one of the UK’s most popular family festivals for food and music lovers, held each summer on the farm of legendary Blur bassist Alex James. Combining family fun, food and music, the weekend includes an incredible spread of culinary delights: sessions from Michelin star chefs, as well as street food caterers covering a huge variety of cuisines. The party will be kick-started on Friday night by Platinum selling Rudimental’s DJ set, Jess Glynne will take centre stage on Saturday and one of the most extraordinary acts in British music, Elbow, will bring the epic weekend to a close on Sunday night. The excitement doesn’t stop there as Lewis Capaldi, Jonas Blue, The Zutons, Jade Bird, Nina Nesbitt, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and many more music artists will also be keeping everyone singing and dancing all weekend.
Don’t miss out on joining Peppa Pig and George at The Big Feastival in celebrating 15 years of muddy puddles! Look forward to the main stage appearance from Peppa and George with BRAND NEW music and dancing as they introduce a 2-part special episode where Peppa goes to a very muddy festival.
Deva Fest | 6th – 8th September 2019 | Chester Lakes, Chester
The top boutique festival of the North West. A three-day of good music, food, drink, Roman Gladiators fights, parades, fairground rides and lots of fun for all the family. Deva Fest will include great performers such as The Feeling, Symphonic Ibiza, The Dunwells, K-Klass and many more. Don’t miss the Carnival Day with processions, shows and some amazing entertainment. The event will also include cooking shows, food stands and kids shows.