Feature: Alternative festival breaks for all the family

Thursday, 9 June 2011 12:34 PM

Good news. The festival season is here! All over the UK and Europe, hordes of revellers are camping out in verdant fields to listen to the latest band and socialise with new or old friends. But with the crux of the festival scene mainly catering to care-free young people in their late teens or 20s, many of us are put off by the idea of spending a muddy weekend under the stars. But there are hosts of alternative festivals catering for families and people of all ages. And not all of them are just about music! So following on with our guide to strange and unique festivals over the county, get in that festival mood with part two...

Fun for all the family

One of the most renowned family friendly festivals in the UK, GuilFest is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, so get down here for some extra special celebrations! Set in the grounds of Stoke Park, revel with 20,000 people as you camp out only 10 minutes from Guildford High Street. This charming cobbled town is one of England’s oldest towns and a haven for shopping. But you won’t have much time to explore with the three day line-up between July 15th and 17th! As well as listening to headliners Echo and the Bunnymen and Ziggy Marley, there’s an eclectic mixture of comedy, theatre, arts and crafts, and a vintage fair. The huge 150 foot beer tent serves up the home brewed GuilFest ale, and the eight music stages playing all genres from rock to reggae will please everyone. But let’s not forget the kids! Voted the best family friendly festival in the country, part of GuilFest’s success has to do with Kid Zone, a large area designated especially for the little ones. Expect to see a whole range of activities to keep them entertained, including a special VIP visit from Peppa Pig! There will also be theatre productions of fairy tale classics like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs alongside fire shows and acrobatic displays. Or they can just muck in with an art or music workshop, and dress up in fancy dress for the Sunday parade. Tickets for the weekend with camping
cost £120 for adults and £70 for children.

Helping the children of the third world

Another fantastic festival for all ages is Festinho, held in the grounds of a stately home in Bedfordshire. Beginning as a huge birthday party around seven years ago, it has now evolved into a laid-back festival of music and wacky goings-on for all ages. Expect bands from England and Brazil to bash out tunes from genres ranging from folk to hip-hop. Run by a dedicated band of volunteers, all workers and bands give their time for free to raise money for Action for Brazil’s Children Trust. This charity helps the desolate kids of the South American country, so definitely a good cause! A quiet campsite neighbours the main camping zone, great for families with young children, and both offer clean toilets and showers. And if you want to live it up a little, book one of the chic SoulPads, which are pre-erected tipi like structures with lots of comfy cushions! The event takes place between August 26-28, and adult tickets for the weekend begin at £90.

An eclectic mix of everything!

Serving up a mixture of music, comedy, and food heaven, Lounge on the Farm is being held between July 8 and 10 on agricultural land near the beautiful cathedral town of Canterbury. Camp out for the whole duration or rent a pre-erected tipi, yurt, or bell tent for that great glamping feeling. Chuckle over comedy headliners Holly Walsh, Sean Hughes, and Phil Kay, and listen to the likes of The Streets and Annie Mac throughout the day. The food at the festival is taken very seriously, with butchers, bakers, and cake makers all over Kent turning up to prepare delicious morsels. Hog roasts will abound alongside vegan food, sweet treats and pastries, and two farmhouse restaurants will serve ale and pies. Kids can also have fun in the Little Lounge, which will feature break dancing and beat boxing workshops, yoga lessons, puppetry, and a battle of the bands.

Art for everyone

Celebrating the great British outdoors and all things creative, the Wilderness festival is being held in Oxfordshire between August 12 and 14. Expect live music and dancing from the likes of Mercury Rev and Toots and the Maytals, delicious food on offer, intellectual debate, public lectures, and a lakeside spa with a sauna, steam room, and sweat lodge! Kids are catered for with fancy dress adventures and workshops, and a boutique babysitting service lets you know they’re in good hands! Yurts are also available for luxurious campers.

So there you are: four unique festivals with a family friendly ethos. Enjoy!

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