Yesterday, we came back from Camp Bestival. It took us 7 hours to travel the 3 and a half hour journey back. I am now surrounded by washing. My living room has been overtaken by camping paraphernalia which I can’t imagine myself ever being bothered to sort out. While there we endured torrential wind and rain, three poo disasters so bad they resulted in clothes being abandoned forever and so many ‘emergency snacks’ I fear my children may actually be turning into giant bear crisps.
Sound like the worst holiday ever? It wasn’t. It was awesome.
I know for many of my friends the idea of camping with kids alone is frightening, let alone a festival. The weather was mostly horrendous and I totally sympathise with the many families near us who gave up and packed up mid-festival after almost two days of solid rain.
But I love festivals – the music, the atmosphere, the people – and no amount of kids or rain would stop me from going!
There were certainly low points: the ‘poonamis’ on day one certainly put a downer on things, at one point I thought the tent was going to fly into the air and transport us over the rainbow to Kansas, and it is never helpful to have a child who likes to throw his wellies away when you’re in the middle of the world’s boggiest field and the festival shop has already sold out…
Still, where else would we get to dance with Ubercorn* next to the world’s biggest disco ball, see my son laugh so hard at Big Foot the clown I worried his vein would pop out of his neck and bounce around in the pouring rain to Mark Ronson as if we were teenagers again (thanks to the babysitters for that kiddy-free moment)?!
If I was to give any advice to people thinking of taking kids to festivals, it would be this – there is strength in numbers. There are times when you want quality time just you and your family, but this isn’t one of them. Take friends. When you’ve spent nearly an hour dealing with poo, everything you own is damp and you and your partner are on the verge of throwing tent pegs at each other’s heads, what you need is someone to laugh at you, hand you a plastic cup of wine and remind you that it is all actually quite funny.
And if my raving about it isn’t enough to persuade you to give it a go, here are my son’s wise words:
“Being at a festival is great. You can eat loads of junk food and because you don’t have to wash, there’s so much more time to play Uno!”
*A giant disco dancing, go-jetting unicorn. Do I really need to explain?