You know I wrote a blog post the other day about festivals with children? Well, Tom and I have just been invited to Beacons Festival – and I think this little Yorkshire beauty could be just the ticket for parents who fancy dipping their toe in the mud.
Sadly, summer put paid to the first Beacons Festival last year when the site flooded the week before the gates were due to open. The team behind it seem a dedicated bunch and they’ve managed to fix things so that the festival is back for 2012 – on a new site and with an amazing line up.
If you’re looking for a small, friendly one packed with things for little ones to do, you’ll find it in Skipton the weekend after next. It all starts with the family camp site: if the thought of Portaloos brings you out in an antibacterial handwash sweat, you’ll be pleased to hear this area has lavatories that flush and everything. And – here’s the genius bit – there’s a morning breakfast club, where mega early risers can watch cartoons from 7am (so much better than colouring in in the tent.) In the evening, the same area will offer bedtime stories – and there are places for nappy changing and breastfeeding for those with babies in tow.
Tom was made up when I told him that the Ladybird Project is coming to Beacons. We last stepped into their big red tent at Kendal Calling, and he loved the crafts, clown cricket (with water bombs instead of a ball), parade and workshops. (It also comes with the comfiest hammock-seats on the planet; perfect for tired parents but almost impossible to get out of.) As well as the Ladybird lot, Beacons are offering story-telling, fancy dress and giant Scrabble.
Enough about stuff for children, though – what about the grown-ups? Some of the acts on the ace line up would impress even the most discerning festival dad. There’s plenty of exciting new stuff on the bill (including lots from Manchester and Leeds), mixed with some great established acts. If there are two or more of you, get some sort of a shift system going and you should cover all you want to see. You can see the full line up on this clever interactive poster, but some of the highlights include Roots Manuva, Mazes, D/R/U/G/S, Pins, Clock Opera, Wild Beasts, Factory Floor and Andrew Weatherall’s latest project, A Love From Outer Space. Tom is most excited about Sunday’s headline act, good old Toots and the Maytals. He loves his reggae and a couple of Toots tracks have made it on to his Spotify playlist, so he jumped up and down and said yes a lot when I told him he’ll be seeing him live.
Thinking of giving Beacons a whirl, but not sure if you fancy the full weekend? One of the best things about this one is that you can buy one-night tickets. These are still available for Saturday and Sunday night. If you do want to go the whole hog and camp for the weekend, tickets are cheap and include camping for a whole four nights, so you could turn it into a miniature holiday.
Beacons Festival takes place from 17th-19th August on the aptly-named Funkirk Estate, just a short taxi ride from Skipton train station. Weekend tickets cost £84.50 and include camping from Thursday through to Sunday night. Children’s tickets cost one English penny. One-day / night tickets from £34.50. All available here.
We’re very excited – and we’ll report back right here on our return.