This year I had the crazy idea that we would go to a childrens festival instead of a holiday this summer. Now this wouldn’t be a crazy idea to everyone but it meant camping and I seriously deteste camping, I like my little luxuries and being able to spread my arms out, close my eyes and breathe but anyway like I said crazy idea.
I watched the promotional video several times and thought it looked amazing so off I went to my husband and put my crazy idea forward, now my husband was completely uninterested (camping was the bargaining chip) but he reluctantly agreed and went off telling everyone he was going to a hippy festival.
The following months involved my 5 year old daughter taking about being a fox and my 2 year old being a lion after we had read about the various tribes, I chose fox but my husband refused to join in with the dress up fun thinking he would look ridiculous and out of place, well guess who looked out of place not dressing up.
The day arrived, we packed up the car and set off for Rode Hall, it was overcast but we knew we were due for rain so we quickly found a pitch, put the tent up and headed for the festival. We had arrived early so there was no queue for wristbands. As we arrived st the entrance all the tribal leaders were lined up greeting everyone, if felt exciting like we were heading into a magical land then the heavens opened and quickly the beautiful village green turned into a mud bath and I was starting to think I had made a mistake maybe this wasnt for me but we headed into the lantern making tent and began to make a very odd looking lantern as directed by my 5 year old daughter, my 2 year old just wanted to poke the volunteers with sticks whilst my husband was putting so much concentration into his lantern. The volunteers in the lantern making tent were fantastic and made everyone feel welcome, encouraging our 2 year old to have a stick sword fight. We constantly saw hay being put on the mud bath to make it easier to walk on and everyone had huge smiles on their faces.
We had bought a programme which quickly turned into pulp due to the rain so we spent the first day just walking around aimlessly before heading back to our tiny tent.
Day 2 the sun was shining, the ground was dry and I was much more optimistic. We put on our animal ears and found our tribal leader Fox which explained the golden pebbles of which my daughter earned 3 over the weekend for telling jokes and doing a dance. We headed down for the silent disco but unfortunately we didnt get in as we discovered we had to be there at least 45 minutes earlier to obtain a headset but we still had lots to find. My daughter wanted to see the fairy queen so off we stood in a very long queue whilst she befriended lots of other children and resulted in me providing a entertainment in the form of singing baby shark and doing the penguin dance.
Day 3 was glorious despite the mud I had decided that yes I had made the right decision in buying tickets and was planning on persuading my husband to book for next year dependent on funds. There was so much that we missed out on and for that I have huge regrets that the children may have missed something they would have loved but we did many amazing things too. over the 2 days we did the following:
1) the balloon man show – had us all laughing and would definitely see him again
2) played giant guess who in the mud
3) listened to a campfire story
4) made a lantern
5) attended the lantern parade (although I’m unsure if we ended up following a different group as we ended up at footlights but could not see as many people as there was at the start of the parade and thought it would be longer.
6) danced to Mr T and the minions
7) challenged each other at circus skills
8) played with the giant marble run
9) went for a walk through the garden of delight
10) finally went to the silent disco
11) attended a Bollywood dance workshop.
12) attended dance like a mother, a dance class whilst wearing your baby/toddler
13) played the biggest ever game of pass the parcel (although there was a delay with this starting whilst the volunteers found an area that was not a mud bath it was refreshing seeing all the children have fun in the mud, previously I was that mum that would not let them get am inch of dirt on them despite my 2 year old lying down in a muddy puddle the prior week but for some reason this weekend I didnt care, all of my anxieties were left at the tent, just so had that magical effect.
14) watched the circus performers
15) ate the best candy floss on a stick
16) pulled the children around in a trolley (definitely a must have)
17) went for a bare foot walk
18) watched professor pumpernickels science show
19) chatted with a fairy queen
20) Had a giant pillow fight (despite there being a no feathers rule some still brought feathers and unfortunately this was the last year of pillow fights so we were very lucky to take part in this.
There was so much more that we did and even more that we missed and would liked to have done.
we missed the tribal tournament which we were most looking forward to as our 5 year old just could not stay awake any longer so we sadly packed the tent away. Due to the rain the car park had become waterlogged but here were tractors at hand to help people along yay we did not require this. And so we left with the windows down so we could hear all the chants and cheering that we were leaving behind like walking back through the wardrobe leaving Narnia behind.
will we go again…. I hope so
will I camp again… only in a bigger tent