Lunar Festival 2016 – No Wellies Required!
In my experience wellies are needed at festivals for two reasons: Mud and Muck. Towards the end of the day you really don’t want to be wading through the sea of debris wearing anything else!
We have just returned from the Lunar Festival, our first family festival, and no wellies required!
If you are looking for a family friendly festival, which still has the vibes and atmosphere of a proper festival then Lunar Festival is a great start!
We went as a family of four, mum, dad , and two girls (aged 8 and 4 years) . It was the first time our 4 year old had ever been camping let alone to a festival and to say they enjoyed it is an understatement! And despite the fact that we were effectively camping in the middle of a disco and we (the parents) had very little sleep , we loved it too.
From the first moment we drove up onto the site we were met with friendly welcoming people, despite not having the £10 car parking money and having to turn round and go back to nearest cash point. Hint number one- you will need cash- Lunar did have a mobile cash point on site and it is needed as you are a captive audience!
Hint number two. You can not travel lightly when camping. Even if it is just for one night! Not with two children. Tent, sleeping bags x 4, roll up beds x 4, 4x foldaway chairs, one table, one picnic hamper, tangier for tea in morning. Be a pack horse or be prepared- the car park is about 10-15 mins walk away from campsite. Wheelbarrows were available at Lunar (we didn’t bother) but the seasoned camper/festival goer were using the proper pull along carts to transport camping equipment and tired toddlers at end of day. If money is not an issue I would seriously consider hiring one of the on-site bell tents (£180-£350), or quirky gypsy caravans (£500) for the ease and convenience!
The site itself was amazing, easy to navigate! It was small enough for the kids to think they could find their way back to tent easily. A straight track led from main arena, into kids centred activities and stalls towards the main campsite then quiet campsite. It really was easy and well thought out. Once in the kids area my 4 year old would happily race off down the track to our tent. The atmosphere was such that I felt comfortable letting her!
Once in the quiet camping we were no more than a 5 minute walk to the kids area. I keep calling it the kids area- not sure that was official name, but what a fantastic space. There was so much for kids to do (including stalls selling things, so again cash needed). It was large open air with lots of covered activities. We were very lucky – the weather was glorious- but with kids the sun shining can sometimes lead to tired hot grumpiness. Not so here. This again had been thought through. Both within the main area and kids area there were lots of lovely cool covered area where kids could chill and relax, paint, colour, listen to stories etc. Sunday afternoon after very little sleep we spent a lovely half hour out of the sun, under a canopy listening to a wonderful lady telling children’s stories. She had them all enthralled and calm! Meanwhile outside a large group of adults and children were participating in some laughter yoga sessions.
Parents were looked after as well in the kids area- there was a lovely cafe tent, looked like something you would find at a very cool wedding, and a cider stall…perfect. Hula hoops, juggling balls etc were just lying around for kids to run up to and play with.
We made picture frames from old vinyl’s, flower garlands, hula hooped a lot, went slacklining and coloured in a lot. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Lunar Olympics had sports activities practically running the whole weekend, as well as other activities such as treasure hunts , pancake racing, skate ramp etc.
We really could have spent the whole time just in this area but once inside the main arena, where the majority of food stalls were, there was more to see and do. Again the main area was well thought out and beautifully presented ( strange in a festival?). Big logs had been carved out to provide quirky seating all around the main area, there were lots of nice shaded areas with seating, a shaded beer garden offering table tennis etc, quirky caravans that had been opened up for more seating and a fantastic camp fire right in the middle.
Saturday evening the kids happily played here whilst we listened to the music, content to just run around and entertain themselves intermixed with performances by fire eaters, sword swallowers and tight rope walkers. Fantastic entertainment!
We didn’t take much food of our own to eat. I know some people did- making 6 journeys to the car to unload everything! From the 7 food stalls we found something everyone liked for tea and lunches. The kids had mini hot dogs (£4) each and pizza ( basic cheese and tomato £9). There was also gourmet burgers, curries, pasta, kebabs( nice ones don’t think donner!) etc. It was varied and catered for vegetarians but not cheap. Cheapest adult was probably about £6 for a hot dog. Over a weekend this adds up.
The prices reflected the captive nature of a festival audience- pint of cider £5.50 including a £1 for the pint glass you were encouraged to keep hold of and refill). An ice cream £2.50. Hula hoops £15-£25!! Guess what my 8 year old wanted after watching a hula hoop demonstration!
Despite all the food and drink available and the fact we were on a festival campsite, the site was immaculately clean- yet bizarrely I never noticed anyone cleaning up. There were lots of recycle bins strategically placed and it just seemed to work. We were the only 4 people wearing wellies. The no glass policy inside the main arena met some people were wearing flip flops and dare I say going bare foot with confidence! I wouldn’t have gone that far!
The practicalities of camping are the same anyway, festival or no festival. Be careful where you pitch. Not too close but not too far from toilet in case middle of night dash required. You will have to use the port-a-loos. There is no other way unless you have your own. Take hand gel. And yes it is as difficult as you would imagine to take a 4 year into a port-a-loo and keep any skin contact to minimum. Perhaps this is where wellies were handy. But honestly not as bad as you would imagine for a festival. Certainly no horror stories, it’s just like using any public toilet really. They weren’t that bad.
And final word of warning when camping. Never pitch next to a “one man” tent. There is a reason why these people are single. It wasn’t the music that led to sleepless night ( it was 2am I would say when it finished but a good pair of ear plugs and you wouldn’t notice on quiet site. It certainly didn’t bother kids). It was the bear snoring in the next door tent that kept me and hubby awake. Valuable camping lesson learned.
None of the “ downsides “of camping though affected the brilliant overall experience of the Lunar festival. It was genuine. You experienced the sights, sounds and smells of a real festival, in a lovely friendly and relaxed family atmosphere . It really was best of both worlds and a brilliant introduction to festivals that our kids will never forget. Thank you Lunar! Oh. The music is loud by the stage- some little ones may need headphones to protect tiny ear drums!
NB: This is a guest post for Mini Travellers and entry was granted in exchange for this review, however all views as ever are the writers own.