Dad's Diary: 'A festival's a perfect place for a child when the weather's fine'

By the time you read this, I'll be sat in a field with my partner and son, Krishan, celebrating his third birthday in Cornwall. We decided to head to the coast for a bit of rest and relaxation after our second festival of 2010.

In our old lives (pre-parenthood), summer was when we let our hair down. It was a time for music festivals and parties. For late nights and lie-ins. In fact, our son even made it to a couple of festivals inside my partner's bump. And I vividly remember that the weekend he was born our mutual friends were in a field near Cambridge, enjoying the bands and bonhomie. I texted them the good news. They replied the next day.

A year later, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to take our little boy to a festival. To share in our lives. To enjoy the great outdoors – and some live, alfresco music. But obviously there's a huge difference between throwing a pop-up tent, sleeping bags, wellies and waterproofs into a car, and undertaking the same trip with a toddler in tow.

It took us almost a day to pack. Lists were written and rewritten. Packing the car was like struggling with a giant Lego set for stressed adults. Voices were raised. Tempers frayed. But finally we were ready to leave.

Imagine our horror, then, when the British summer cruelly intervened.

We arrived at the festival site early, along with two other couples and their children. We were the advance party; happy to be trailblazers, ready to pitch up and bag some space for our childless friends who were probably still stirring after a late night on the tiles.

That was until the heavens opened. And I mean opened. It was the biggest summer downpour that Somerset had seen in many a year. The ground quickly became waterlogged. Streams bisected the car park. And the festival was cancelled before it began. We had to pay a local farmer to drag our car off the field and out on to the A303. Not quite what we'd had in mind for our son's first festival. Let alone our first holiday as a family

Since then, we've been luckier with the weather. And the festivals. He's been to four now, and the older he gets the more fun he (and we) have.

At the start of this summer, we went to Sunrise – the scene of the dark clouds and deluge that wiped out our first weekend away as a family. But this year the sun shone. The music was great, the crowds happy. A festival's a perfect place for a child when the weather's fine.

Last weekend, we decided to try out Womad for the first time. And we were delighted. To say child-friendly would be an understatement. There seemed to be more children than adults on site, ranging from breastfed babes in arms through to teenagers, "enjoying" their final festival with mum and dad before making their rites-of-passage pilgrimage to Glastonbury next year.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the parade on the final day which snaked through the stages. All weekend, the children had been involved in workshops, making hats to puppets and masks. They all trooped through the site, along with their siblings and friends, proudly holding aloft their own creations, thronged by djembe drummers and huge dancing puppets, crowds applauding at every turn. It was stirring stuff – and proof, if ever any was needed, that children and festivals do go together like strawberries and cream.

Which brings me to a surprising blog from the Radio 1 DJ and mother-of-three Sara Cox; she suggested that taking your children to festivals was wrong.

When her article appeared on the net, the narrow-minded Middle England comments that were added below it were even more offensive than the article. It appears that many people believe we should be hung, drawn and quartered for even considering taking our children to a festival.

Of course, there are some parents who do behave terribly at festivals, perhaps some of whom are drunk and/or on drugs. But to be honest, these people are probably just as bad parents at home.

At the end of the day, we would like our son to appreciate music, arts and culture. To enjoy the same things that we do. To have experience of things out of the ordinary, rather than just going to the same parks, shopping centres and indoor play areas every weekend.

And the beaming smile on his face when Krishan watched the parade pass through the crowds at Womad is proof enough for me. We'll be back next year, just you try and stop us!

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones