Your challenge this week: to find a local festival for you and your family to enjoy some good food, good drink and good music. Find something new to experience and somewhere new to explore (or stick to what you know, I love food, therefore, I love a food festival – it’s a safe bet!)
This challenge encourages the following values:
Courage, Gratitude, Generosity, Resourcefulness, Optimism, Commitment.
What you need to complete your challenge this week:
- Get on the Internet and search for any festivals taking place locally to you over the summer holidays
- Check out some local farms, stately home or castle estates, they often hold festivals celebrating animals or fruit, vehicles or music
- Seaside towns often hold festivals celebrating the sea or fishing or even aircraft, try your local what’s on guide
- For those who like the more rural rustic day out look for woodland festivals which celebrate nature, ancient crafts and all things green…
If all else fails… Try school and village fetes, they are often a little smaller and less overwhelming but still a good way to introduce your children to a celebration, live music, eating from food stalls and the atmosphere that comes from the festival environment.
Food for thought for the grown-ups:
I wasn’t a festival goer as a child or a young adult, I have fond memories of going to our local county show with my family but not much else in the way of a festival. I would like to think I am making up for it now though. My mum and I seem to be growing braver with each passing year and travelling around our local area to a whole variety of festivals. This year, we and the children have been to a food festival, a beer festival, a Pride festival, an oyster festival, a fruit festival and last weekend I popped my big festival cherry and met some friends (sans children) at Carfest North to work and play there for a few days all in aid of charity. It was AMAZING and I’m so grateful to my friend David for making it happen. I really do seem to be coming out of my festival shell and I’m loving it but why? Are there just more festivals around these days? are they more accessible for those of us with children? was I just a sheltered child?
I really do seem to be coming out of my festival shell and I’m loving it but why? Am I a late festival developer? Are there just more festivals around these days? Are these festivals more accessible for those of us with children now? Was I just a sheltered child and the festival bug didn’t reach the far corner of the South East?
For the record, I don’t think I was sheltered in any way but I really don’t remember festivals happening near us. School fetes and Town shows yes but nothing that advertised itself as an actual bonafide festival. What I do think however is that over the last decade or so festivals have become less about superstar musicians playing to thousands, although these are obviously still a thing, and more about local celebration, charity fundraising or reviving old traditions….. or tasting at least 15 different beers and ciders in one day!
More and more festivals are advertising themselves as family friendly and even priding themselves on being festivals specifically for children. Every area on this beautiful island we live on has something that makes its community what it is, a stand out strength or a success of some sort and that community want to earmark a day or two to invite everyone to celebrate with them. It’s a beautiful thing in my opinion for our country to take such pride in what it can do, how much money it can raise for a good cause, what wonderful produce it provides its community or what makes it so diverse.
These days I don’t think its just the ‘hippy parents’ who think that taking a child to a festival is a healthy life affirming experience. The relaxed and laid back style of living that children experience at a festival is the stuff of memories and something we can all give our children. These are opportunities for them to see us letting go and dancing to live music, bouncing on a bouncy castle and getting our faces painted! So, if you are brave enough to prepare well even for the most British of festival weather then the big family friendly festival is something to add to your bucket list. One day local festivals are an easy and cheaper way around the weather problem, when it rains you can just soldier stoically through in your wellies and waterproofs safe in the knowledge you can go home to a bath and your bed at the end of the day, so please don’t be put off!
And for the children:
So what can children learn from experiencing a festival? Are there any actual benefits to be had other than learning how to dress appropriately for the weather or negotiating your way into eating 8 ice creams without throwing up?
We’ve all heard of the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons that our children have in school yes? Well, a festival ticks so many of the PSHE curriculum boxes it’s a surprise attending one isn’t on the school’s curriculum (more likely a risk assessment/teacher sanity issue). Cultural respect, independence and self-reliance, community spirit and social responsibility, personal hygiene and cleanliness, kindness and generosity, resourcefulness and resilience and survival skills are just a few of the things children will learn in a festival environment. Lots of other curriculum subject areas are also covered, the artistic element through craft activities, the musical element through the eclectic live music, the English element through poetry readings and storytelling. Science and Geography are covered by weather patterns, woodland and bushcraft workshops, the environment, food and acoustics etc. Thinking about it this way makes any festival you consider taking your child to as a hugely beneficial and exciting experience in my view.
So now that we’ve decided a festival could arguably be more beneficial than a day at school, what else do children enjoy about festivals? Given that my children have attended a variety of events with me over the years I asked them what their favourite memories were. Pancakes with Nutella, the cherry pip spitting competition, welly wanging, face paint, the man on the Cajon drum, kites, paddling in the sea while the sun went down, fresh apple juice, the red arrows, more than one ice cream in one day (what can I say, my children like ice cream)… I love to think that these memories have formed a part of their childhood, it’s life affirming and positive.
So go for it, whether you are going to a long weekend music festival with friends or a one day local festival with your family think about the positive benefits that everyone is getting from the experience. Your impressionable children are absorbing everything going on around them, they are learning new skills, new values and the memories are clocking up. Do it, you won’t regret it… but don’t forget the wellies and the hand sanitiser!
Thank you to my mum, my sister, my boys, David, Jill and our new friend Dan for letting me use pictures of them in this blog. Good times 🙂