We were so excited to get opportunity to go to Deer Shed this year which is held every year at Baldersby Park, Top Cliffe, North Yorkshire. This year is the 10th year and the theme Generation XYZ refers to those born in different generations and perfectly reflects the diversity of activities on offer for the whole family.
Deer Shed is the ultimate family-friendly festival with a huge selection of entertainment for youngsters, older children and adults alike. The musical line up is so eclectic there should be enough music variety on offer to suit everyones’ tastes.
Packed up and pumped up we arrived at the site around an hour after opening. There were queues but things were moving. Tickets checked, we were pointed in the direction of the live-in vehicles field as we’d brought our trusty caravan, Jupiter, with us. Here we found pitches marked out and it was flat! What a winner, we were set up in no time and raced off to the festival for the 12pm opening!
What a jubilant mood there was as we ventured into the festival grounds. Where to start? We seemed to wander aimlessly for a bit, playing with bubbles, reading the schedules outside each tent/stage area until eventually we decided it would be much more helpful to find a programme! These are quite pricey but worth getting to help you focus on what you’d like to see and do.
On seeing the arts and crafts going on it became clear that’s where we would be spending a lot of our time. Within an hour the kids had made clay models, pipe-cleaner people and threaded bead bracelets and a keyring each. I was buzzing at creating tie-dye bunting for the first time! Hubby chilled with a cold beer (in the plastic pint pot we brought with us) and we all giggled to see Granny Turismo ride out on their motorised shopping trollies and interact with people using their witty banter.
Then the rain started so we escaped back to the caravan for a hot dinner and a changed into something waterproof. Into the evening the children were thrilled to get the opportunity to ride on a traditional Ferris Wheel and slide down the Helter Skelter (additional £3 per person per ride). We also tried our hand at circus skills and played crazy golf in the sports arena. Here we also signed up to try out fencing and Quidditch in the morning. We finished off by sitting around at the different stages and soaking up the music and story telling,
Unfortunately that is where the festival finished for the 5 of us as I was taken ill on Friday night. We were all devastated but it turned out I was really poorly with appendicitis!
It also turned out that unfortunately for those at Deer Shed the bad weather had really set in for the weekend and quickly the site turned super muddy and slippy. Were were worried about getting the caravan off safely if the rain carried on however Deer Shed are pros at this sort of thing (unlike us) and out came the tractors to scatter wood chippings, straw and stones on the roads to ensure all vehicles and people could enter and exit the site safely and they made pathways inside the festival grounds passable. We have got to say a huge thank you to the staff for all their help with my husbands too-ing and fro-ing and helping him navigate the best route off the field when he had to pack up and fetch the caravan on his own. Its great to know that behind the scenes Deer Shed organisers have plans for this sort of thing and the whole operation appears to work like a well-oiled machine.
As we weren’t too far from home and with that we also knew a number of other people attending the festival including fellow blogger, The Penniless Parent. She went along on Sunday for the day and got in touch to give us this fab series of tips for surviving a muddy festival as it turned out to be for Deer Shed 10!
Festival Tip 1: If it has been raining and you have under-10’s with you, give up before you even try to keep them clean!
If it has been raining its only a matter of time before walkways become streams of mud, mud gets onto wellies, wellies onto legs, before you know it one of them will have fallen, another will want carrying and you’re entire group are covered. If you stick to the rule that you will put them to bed clean then relax until then. Leave the change of clothes along with something to wash them with in the tent or car and embrace the situation you’re in.
Festival Tip 2: Pack hand sanitiser and a few paper towels
The girls decided to have a go at making some Scottish Bread (something to do with the Nutella filling). Wipe off their hands with paper towels and kill the bugs with a squirt of alcohol gel. You could look at clipping a bottle of hand sanitiser to each of your kids if they’re a bit older, that way they have the option to clean themselves up.
Festival Tip 3: Don’t rush around the festival even if the weather is bad.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when the programme is thicker than the last book you read but, take your time. If you miss something you miss it, chances are you’ll find something better by slowing down and taking it all in.
Festival Tip 4: Wasps hate smoke!
I’m not suggesting you start any bad habits but if a pesky wasp won’t leave you alone head to the front of a stage with smoke machines or find the Bubbles Inc stand and ask them to blow some smokey bubbles to deter the wasps.
Festival Tip 5: Immersive storytelling is fantastic fun for kids!
If you haven’t heard of this sort of thing before it’s where an actor/actress tells a story by bringing the characters of a book to life using props, costumes and audience participation. My 2 were mesmerised with the amazing story telling at Deer Shed, so much so that I had a full half hour to sit down, catch up on social media and have a play on Instagram with some of the pics I’d taken. When you need to stand still a moment, have a brew or recharge, find the storytelling tent! Alternatively if you find yourself with the opportunity to have half an hour on your own, check out the different spoken word and literary artists that are on offer. Whether you like to listen to comedy, poetry, topical issues, adventure stories, Deer Shed has it all.
Festival Tip 6: Get into the festival early to catch your kids at their best and know when it’s time to go.
Rosie is a typical 2 year old, whinging to be carried or for cuddles when she’s tired and screaming when she’s hungry. With so much going on at festivals, it can be easy to miss the cues so factor pit stops and check out food outlets before your desperate to find one. It’s also worth bearing in mind that at the end of the day you will potentially be 20 mins or so walk from your tent or car and this walk will be painful if your little ones have nothing left in the tank and are dragging around your ankles. Why not have a look at our blog post, ‘21 of the Best Baby Carrier Reviews‘ for options of baby and toddler carriers.
If you’re thinking of visiting Deer Shed 11, early bird tickets will go on sale later in the year on deershedfestival.com