As a very young girl I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in Saudi Arabia for a few weeks, as my father was working there for British Telecom. Saudi Arabia is a very different culture to ours, and I have vivid memories of my time there. I remember walking around in shorts and a T-shirt because I thought it was very hot, yet all the Saudi Arabians were in big heavy coats because it was their winter! That was in the 1970s, and Saudi Arabia has changed quite a bit since then. What is it like to be a child in Saudi Arabia now?
One of the drawbacks of putting on an open-air festival in UK is the high probability of rain.
Rain + fields + lots and lots of people = MUD!
Glastonbury Festival is synonymous with mud – this means that we often associate the name of the festival with the word ‘mud’. The picture above is proof of that!
Today the biggest greenfield music festival in the world open it’s doors, and you will probably see some muddy pictures pictures in the newspapers. If you live in UK, you might watch some of the festival on TV – maybe you are one of the lucky ones and are actually going to the festival! (Do let us know in the comments, what you thought of it).
We take a look back at the beginnings of the oldest festival on the British mainland, and find out what other music festivals are on around the country.
This weekend, Glastonbury Festival will be held on a farm in Somerset, England. It was originally very small with only 1,500 people attending, and was organised by the local farmer Michael Eavis who was inspired by the Isle of Wight festival the year before.
Festivals were a popular idea at time and there was a movement called ‘Free Festivals’ which campaigned to put on free music events. Glastonbury was originally called The Pilton Festival, named after the town near the farm, and cost just £1 to attend. By 1980 it became an annual event organised by Michael Eavis (with help!) and after having several names was finally called Glastonbury Festival. Most of the profits which Mr Eavis’ company earns from ticket sales goes to various charities.
Glastonbury Festival is not held every year because it is now so big the farmland needs time to recover, or ‘lie fallow’. It is the largest festival in the world. Nearly 200,000 people will attend the farm to see the bands performing on three main stages and many more little stages and to enjoy all the other comedy, massage, food, poetry performances, circus and cabaret on offer. It can get very muddy and dirty and you may have seen photos of festival-goers covered in sticky mud!
Children are welcomed at Glastonbury, and in 1989 a separate area called Children’s World was set up especially for those under 16 years old. From that, a charity was set up called Children’s World which aims to create educational fun play with the aim of helping children to learn and develop.
Other Festivals Around UK
Glastonbury is not the only festival in the UK. Big festivals can be overwhelming to adults let alone children, so often it is better to start with a smaller one, or one that is aimed at families. Camp Bestival in Dorset is very popular with families, or you could try the Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons in Wales, lasting for a week with many fun things you can do (besides dance to the music!) The Hop Farm Festival in Kent is a popular one and children under 13 can go for free! In Scotland, the biggest music festival is T in the Park, but a more family friendly festival is Doune the Rabbit Hole, where kids under 12 years old get free entrance.
The Latitude Festival in Suffolk is one of the biggest family friendly festivals, with a whole range of kids’ activities (not just for the little ones!) Watch out for a special report on the Latitude Festival next week.
Festivals can be quite expensive to go to, with camping, food and tickets to buy. The Hardraw Summer Gathering in Yorkshire is a four-day folk music festival at which is free to stay and enjoy, although the music concerts are £5 per ticket. The Youth Beatz Festival is a free one-day event in Dumfries celebrating the musical talent of young people.
Advice for First-Time Festival-Goers
I asked my nieces what they enjoyed most about their festival experiences, and what advice they’d give you. 12 year old Georgia most enjoyed “the excitement of watching people play”. For first-timers, Georgia would say that “there is no need to be nervous, just stay with the people you are with and always tell them where you are going and DON’T RUN OFF FROM THE PEOPLE YOU ARE WITH!!!!” My younger niece Alyssa is 8 years old and most enjoyed the music, and her advice was to “stick with your mum and dad” while you are there. Both have been to several festivals over the last couple of years, attending with their parents and adult friends.
The website Festivalkidz is dedicated to finding the best festivals for parents or caregivers. Finding out if the festival is really suitable for kids is important, so that you can be sure the adult you are with will enjoy themselves as much as you do, and you can find one that will really appeal. If you are curious, why not check it out?!
We are lucky in the western world. We are entitled to a free education until the age of 18. You might not always feel like going to school, but you are able to learn about loads of different topics, which will help you find a job when you are older. Not only that, but school can be great fun too – we bet you have a favourite subject, that you love to learn about.
A lot of children across the world don’t have this opportunity. Sometimes it is because the children are too poor to be able to afford to go to school, and there is no way they can pay for uniform, travel and schoolbooks. Sometimes it is because the government doesn’t provide free education where they live. Sometimes it is simply because they are girls. You might have seen the story of the girls in Nigeria who have been kidnapped, because they wanted to go to school – we are all hoping very much that they are soon home with their families. Now more than ever, it is vital to ensure children can go to school safely.
Have you ever thought ‘There MUST be an easier way to do this’? If you have, you are not alone. People around the world invent and re-invent products all the time. Some of them are professional, and inventing is part of their job. Others are just normal people who had a bright idea.
There are many clubs and societies which you can join and learn to invent or develop your curiosity and talent for science and invention. All inventors start somewhere, and most of them start when they are very young. Young people have the best imaginations so if there is something you think is a good idea and you want to try and create, why not join up with other young creative people and work together.