Lakefest: More Than Music

Festival pic

Whatever your age, style or musical preference, it is fair to say there’s a festival for you this Summer. From the rock and roll weekender of Isle of Wight to the annual mud-bath tradition of Glastonbury, right through a plethora of foodie festivals, metal moshpits and laidback jazz gatherings, there are so many festivals in the UK now that it’s hard to hear of a weekend between May and September without one.

But what if you’ve had your fill of late nights and hazy Sundays, and you now own some little people that get in the way of weekends away with nothing but a tent and a toothbrush? What about festivals for kids? Well while I’ve seen small people totally loving it at Glasto and Reading, the idea of taking mine to such a ‘grown-up’ event leaves me cold. Not only would I miss out on the music I liked while I was trapped changing nappies in a postage stamp-sized portaloo, I don’t think they’d be too impressed either with the language, drunkenness and sheer bloody volume of the crowd. A big festival can be intimidating to an adult, let alone a three-year-old. Which is why I have embarked on a search for the most family-friendly festival this year, which also has a lineup I can love.

lakefest familyAnd that’s where Lakefest comes in. With headliners including Primal Scream, Cast and Starsailor this is no second class summer fete, it’s rock and roll (with a massive dose of indie) all the way. For someone of my generation the idea of kicking back on the grass while my kids dance around the The Coral is a dream come true. When it comes to music it’s all about getting them while they’re young, educating them with their ears, and how better to do that than in the middle of a field while sipping a nice cold cider?

Lakefest started off its life as a local cider festival near the Gloucestershire town of Tewkesbury but over the past five years (for it is barely older than a toddler itself) it has become an established event for the festival-going crowd. It has now moved sites to the impressive Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire and prides itself of providing fun for the whole family, making it about much more than just music. There is a designated Kid’s Field which promises to offer an astounding array of entertainment for children of all ages, from jewellery making and circus workshops to drawing tables, treasure hunts and even a dragon procession (no confirmation yet on whether the dragon is real…). For the full list of activities click here.

The organisers tell us: “Family time is at the core of Lakefest. We pride ourselves on putting family first and since we all have families, we know how essential it is that there is something for everyone (big and little kids). Following an incredible 2015, we have even more activities planned for all of the family. Eastnor Castle is a magical setting that will provide the perfect backdrop to a family holiday, with our festival as the icing on the cake.”

lakefest kids2It’s no wonder the fledgling festival was voted Best Small Festival for Families by FestivalKidz last year! There is also a full sized funfair on site (well big kids need some fun other than the music too!) and, wait for it, an actual creche! We are told: “We’re thrilled that for the first time we will even be offering a spectacular creche facility. We’re talking endless activities and entertainment; keeping your children occupied while you, perhaps, go and dance in the music tents, enjoying a few cheeky ciders along the way…”

Having seen all that is on offer we went ahead and booked our tickets, and that was before the discovery that Ru-Slack will also be on site over the weekend. If you’ve not heard of slacklining you’re probably as old as me (nearly 40 -ouch) but believe me, it’s a craze your kids will love.  A little like a tightrope but only wider and with the bounce of a trampoline, there is no end to the amount of fun to be had, balancing, bouncing and walking the line. Ru-slack will not only provide both the slacklines at varying heights and crash mats to land on safely but they will take you through how to take your first steps with a little style chucked in! You will try it and wobble like a fool, but your kids will laugh and they will love it. Everyone’s a winner!

There are various camping and glamping options available, from general camping to tipis and podpads, and designated family or group fields, so you don’t have to worry about a drunken stag do staggering past at 3am (and they will be grateful that your early risers are a whole field away!).

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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