My husband and I are self-confessed Glastonbury gluttons. We love the festival; we love its energy, the size, the mud, the music and the absolute madness of it.
Plus, we live nearby – and I think that we both secretly feel the show cannot possibly go on without us.
Three and a half years ago, however, we threw a massive spanner in the works by having a baby….but did that stop us? Hell, no!
In 2013, undaunted, we headed into the festival with our six month old in tow, and…. well, it was a doddle really. A six month old is no stress, he wasn’t even crawling. All he needed was some sweet potato wedges, my boobs and some nappies to keep him happy; he could have been anywhere.
I want my children to meet giant turtles, mermaids, fairies and dragons while they still believe in magic.
We have taken him in every year since, and his little sister comes along too. At this point, I have to admit that our children only go in as daytrippers…like I said, we live nearby and with the right parking pass/wristband, we can nip in and out no problem.
Obviously bringing the sprogs in means I can’t get absolutely smashed (pretty annoying), nor is it easy to take on the big stages. But the thing I love most about Glastonbury is how much there is on offer for ALL ages.
Going in with the children means we have to step it down a notch, go slow, find a great spot and stay there. I don’t have a problem with this, as in the past we have been constantly on the move, searching for the next high, the next secret gig, the next crazy Glastonbury experience.
I felt a sweet sense of justice as I watched my sweating husband heave our inadequate buggy through the sticky quagmire (Dad went big on Saturday night).
It turns out that at Glastonbury you can actually stay in one place and enjoy the bonkers brilliance of it all as it comes directly to you. I experience a deep sense of joy from being able to see the creative heart of the festival through the prism of my child’s eyes….and it’s great to be able to remember it all for a change!
We have also found that the festival site offers up some surprising areas of tranquility, such as the NCT tent where they give out free cups of tea and snacks, or the chill out zone full of knackered Dads and their gurgling offspring (clearly Dad went big Saturday night and Mum is enjoying a few vengeful hours of freedom)…and trust me when I say you won’t find cleaner toilets than the compostable loos in the Kidz field.
The mud this year was pretty spectacular, and I felt a sweet sense of justice as I watched my sweating husband heave our inadequate buggy through the sticky quagmire (Dad went big on Saturday night).
Somehow we managed to battle our way into the Green Kids field, where the smalls played in a giant sandpit, made offerings for the oak tree fairies, had their faces painted, watched a flea circus and bashed the colour out of leaves and flowers onto cotton strips….After a soggy ride on the Helter Skelter and a boogie in Avalon my boy was adamant he didn’t ever want to leave.
However, rain had arrived, my husband’s hangover was descending – departure time was now or never. The less said about our ascent through the adhesive Glastonbury clay and up an unfairly steep hill the better. I don’t want to put you all off.
Was it all worth it? Traipsing through the mud and the rain and up the steep hills? Yes, I say, a thousand times yes. I want my children to meet giant turtles, mermaids, fairies and dragons while they still believe in magic.
I want them to witness the incredible talent demonstrated by a vast array of musicians, artists, scientists, activists and exhibitionists. I want them to know that anything is possible – that the intellectual limits of the human imagination are rich and splendid and boundless.
Most of all I want them to have fun, to play and to learn, because that’s what childhood is all about.
I can’t wait for next year. x
5 GOLDEN RULES FOR TAKING YOUR KIDS TO GLASTONBURY
1. Make sure you have the right wheels. Whether taking in a wheelbarrow, buggy or a pimped-up festival wagon – it needs to have some seriously tough wheelage, or you are going to be in trouble if the mud comes in. NB: the Phil & Ted’s buggy range is not up to the job! Alternatively, just use a sling.
2. Find a fun and sparkly place and stay there. Discard your agenda. You wanted to see something specific at the Pyramid stage? Forget it. Trying to meet up with friends halfway across the site? Not likely. Forget about the music, the timetable and that cool band you want to see….just absorb whatever weirdness comes your way.
3. Snacks! Bring as many as you dare. Otherwise the usual carrot dangling of chips and/or ice cream usually keeps the little ones in line.
4. Should child/children fall asleep – take advantage! Don’t waste this precious time traipsing from A to B. Sit down somewhere and savour it or head to the nearest dancefloor.
5. If it looks like being a total washout, find an emergency babysitter and leave the kiddiwinks at home. Festivals, kids and endless rain = seriously unfun.