Although many events have fallen by the wayside in a difficult climate, this year’s festival scene remains an exciting one for families tempted by what they offer in terms of music and outdoor fun and frolics. See our festivals with kids tips page for expert advice on making the most of them as a family.
Cornbury Festival, Cotswolds, 5-7 July
Known, somewhat unfairly, as ‘poshstock’, this marvellous festival is a gentle affair in stunning surroundings. The fantastically eclectic line-up this year includes Squeeze, Keane, Van Morrison, Stax, The Proclaimers and Bellowhead. The vast kids’ area offers the chance to learn circus skills, how to make bunnies appear out of hats, how to build dream-drums and how to annoy your friends with practical jokes. Glamping is available.
Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 17–21 July
This perennial family favourite hosts performances by KT Tunstall, Dexys, Imelda May and Richard Thompson this year, along with first-class comedy acts including the Kids Comedy Club, theatre performances, poetry and workshops and Mark Kermode’s Film Tent. There’s a youth zone as well as a kids’ zone with activities led by wonderful Farmer Jason.
Truck, Oxfordshire, 19–20 July
In a beautiful setting with a very laidback vibe, this small, independent festival has less laid-on than most of the others but great music – headliners this year include We Are The Ocean, The River and Arcane Roots. Longstanding, it retains a charming ‘just got together with friends’ feel, and boasts a large family field and workshops aimed at those with kids.
Camp Bestival, Dorset, 1–4 Aug
This enormously popular family festival has something for all ages. The line-up this year includes Billy Bragg, Labrinth and Richard Hawley as well as last year’s favourite, Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Kids are royally entertained by the varied likes of Mr Tumble, Dick N Dom, Horrible Histories, the Insect Theatre and a free extreme-sports park. A wide range of glamping options are available. See our feature on Camp Bestival with Kids.
Wilderness Festival, Cotswolds, 8–11 Aug
This addition to the family festival circuit impressed us last year with its fab line-up, eccentric and creative art happenings and emphasis on good food. This year’s lineup includes Rodriguez, Noah & the Whale and Empire of the Sun. You can feast in the Moro souk tent or with Mark Hix, go swimming in the lake or relax in the spa, get the kids rocking out at the Witchwood School of Rock for aspiring musicians, or visit the Barefoot Books tent. There’s also a bushcraft overnight camp in the wood for kids, and the very wonderful Fairyland Trust. See our feature on the Wilderness Festival with Kids, including a bushcraft camp.
Just So Festival, Cheshire, 16-18 Aug
Now in its 4th year, this boutique festival based in the lovely Rode Hall park and woodlands is so family-friendly it even has a ‘breast-feeding boudoir’! This year’s weekend-long event includes everything from trapeze lessons to retro discos, from a mirrored maze to a Wild Rumpus parade, plus a small main stage with performances ranging from pop to participatory opera. Music this year includes the piratical Seas of Mirth and the Quangos, but this festival is more about the fun than the music.
Beautiful Days, Escot Park, Devon, 16–18 Aug
This family-friendly festival now in its 11th year remains proudly free of any commercial sponsorship and is famed for the world-class music it attracts – this year’s includes Primal Scream, Arrested Development and Sinead O’Connor. The enormous, awardwinning kids’ area specialises in creative mayhem, and great fun is to be had by all.
- Rewind Scotland: Festival goes back to the 80s as Kim Wilde, Nik Kershaw, Rick Astley & pals hit the stage (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Official DJ Mix Competition to Play the Rivington Street Festival (shinesquad.me)
- Take That star Mark Owen set to Shine at Camp Bestival (bournemouthecho.co.uk)
- Festival Season (burfordhousehotel.wordpress.com)
- Wilderness, Insider and Lounge On The Farm: Music festivals serve up posh nosh (metro.co.uk)