Is there a Glastonbury-shaped hole in your summer this year? The hard-working Glasto team are taking a well-earned year off this July but don’t worry…the good news is that there are plenty of hip and family-friendly festivals close to home that (phew!) still have some tickets left. So grab your tent, pull on your wellies and join us as we go in search of the five best family-friendly festivals within striking distance of Bath this summer…
1. Womad 26-29 July
Yes it’s big, and yes that might put some people off, but this annual summer celebration of international music, arts and dance still stands out from the crowd, not least for the impressive number of acts Womad somehow manages to cram in over its four-day duration. And if your festival groupies include little ones, then definitely don’t let Womad’s size put you off. With a dedicated World of Children running all day, every day, the kids can get stuck into everything from slacklining, circus skills and den building, to woodland walks, music making and family Zumba. This year’s theme is insects, so expect plenty of beautiful butterflies, goggly-eyed grasshoppers, delightful dragonflies and whatever else the average eight-year-old’s imagination can come up with…
• Charlton Park, Charlton, Malmesbury
2. Camp Bestival 26-29 July
Jostling for attention alongside Womad and taking place over the same weekend in July is the ever-popular Camp Bestival. Just over the border in the luscious grounds of Lulworth Castle in Dorset, this year’s festival line up is as impressive as ever, with Rick Astley, Simple Minds and Clean Bandit all headlining, plus Basement Jaxx and Orbital. For kids, there’s Dinosaur World Live! TV tearaways Dick and Dom and the Camp Bestival legend that is Mr Tumble. No wonder it regularly snaps up the coveted title of Best Family Festival…this one really is for the little folk, but the adults won’t be complaining either.
• Lulworth Castle, Dorset
3. Minety 29 June-1 July
Minety is the new kid on the block (2017 was its first year on the festival scene) but if last year was anything to go by, it’s going to be around for a while. Let’s hope so – as well as great food, drink and tunes, the site in Malmesbury also boasts a seriously impressive Kidzone with free caving, bouncy castles and inflatable slides. As well as being one of the best family-friendly festivals, it’s also a not-for-profit music event, which means 100% of the proceeds go to the likes of Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Combat Stress, Naomi House and Jacksplace Hospice. This year, 80’s fans will love headliner, the one and only Chesney Hawkes, while American rock aficionados will enjoy Bon Giovi, billed as the world’s premier tribute to the legend that is Bon Jovi. Rock on…
• Hornbury Hill, Minety, Malmesbury
4. Larmer Tree 19-22 July
As festival sites go, the Larmer Tree Gardens in the heart of the impressive Cranborne Chase near Salisbury is pretty special. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself pitching up alongside exotic peacocks and brightly-coloured macaws…and by that, we don’t mean your fellow festival goers, promise! It’s a stunning site that comes complete with resident birds, and the perfect backdrop for what is always a brilliant, fun-filled four days of family-friendly music and live performance. All musical tastes are represented from acoustic folk, roots, blues and jazz to Americana and reggae. This year’s organisers promise at least 100 bands and acts across six stages, including the likes of Jake Bugg and Public Service Broadcasting. With around 150 free workshops, including plenty of craft ones for the kids, an impressive array of child-friendly performances, dedicated kids area, baby massage, the magical Lost Word (complete with hanging tasseled lampshades) and a huge Sunday carnival, there’s plenty for everyone, big and small.
• Larmer Tree Gardens, Cranborne Chase
5. Fieldview 2-5 August
Fieldview is another festival justly proud of its not-for-profit ethos, and is perfect for those who prefer their festivals small, sustainable and based in the community. Currently in its eleventh year and staffed by volunteers, you won’t find Van Morrison or Liam Gallagher here (depending on your musical tastes, that may just be a good thing). Instead, expect to see some quirky and original talent from up-and-coming bands across the country, all set against a beautiful, rural backdrop located near Little Somerford, Chippenham. With 2018’s full line-up still to be announced, workshops for little ones last year included wool crafts, friendship-bracelet making, treasure hunts and circus skills. A small but perfectly formed bundle of summer family-friendly festival loveliness, Fieldview has raised money in the past for Water Aid, Cool Earth, Jamie’s Farm and Youth Cancer Trust (to name but a few). The little festival with a big heart, it’s definitely one to add to your list this summer.
• Little Somerford, Chippenham
• Got your own favourite family-friendly festivals? Share your top tips with us, we would love to hear your suggestions!