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?!