Since becoming a family of three, we have merged our love of summer music festivals with keeping our five year old little lady entertained. Getting the family friendly festival blend right is something we’ve been perfecting over the last few years, so here’s our handpicked top 5 family festivals with environmental consciousness of 2018 for you.

Just So Festival, 17-19 August, Rode Hall, Cheshire

Just So Festival is the perfect place to immerse small minds in creative memory making. It’s the place dreams are made of, with interactive installations wherever you turn. The Spellbound Forest at dusk is a magical place to be – gather around a picture perfect campfire for bedtime stories, drum circles and magic being made. You’ll find babies well catered for with a line up especially for them – we highly recommend baby yoga and story time is a right treat. Don’t miss out of Saturday evening’s Tribal Tournament where costumes have been handcrafted months in advance and the atmosphere is electric. There’s heaps more on the line up since our last visit, so take a look and plan your trip.

Timber Festival, 6-8 June, Feanedock, the National Forest

From the makers of Just So Festival, comes a brand new imaginative creation for 2018, Timber Festival. Set in the depths of the National Forest, is a festival that blends environmental appreciation and the arts. Music will take you from morning to night as you take part in singing the Dawn Chorus or stay awake for a Secret Midnight Gig. For families you’ll find immersive theatre, ariel acrobatics from trees and have the chance to delve into the world of bees and even learn a pollen packing dance. This is a festival to reconnect you with nature and assist you in coming away a more relaxed and energised version of yourself, make sure you get involved in a guided run at sunset and don’t miss out on the eco spa.

Camp Bestival, 26-29 July, Lulworth Castle, Dorset

Camp Bestival holds the title as the best UK Family Friendly Festival, so it’s a must to include in this list. You’ll find music, family theatre, comics and amazing food. Headlining you’ll see Simple Minds, Rick Astley. For the kids there’s a UK festival exclusive taking place; ZSL London Zoo: Gruesome Nature Live! An interactive musical show featuring original songs, you can find out the frightful facts about some truly grisly creatures, including who’s got the largest, slimiest eyeball, and which species of animal can endure fire, ice and radiation and even survive in outer space, plus many more monstrous truths.

The Big Feastival , 25-26 August, Alex James’ Farm, The Cotswolds

The Big Feastival is a treat for grown ups and children alike. This festival really blends a grown up festival feel with the most amazing organic food options and music line up, with heaps of activities to keep the kids entertained too. Justin Fletcher kicks off the main stage, with Paloma Faith closes it. Check out our full preview here.

A heated outdoor swimming pool, trapeze lessons, a dog show, and Mexican wrestling. These are just some the ingredients that made 2014’s Standon Calling festival a sumptuous delight.

Situated in the grounds of a 16th Century Hertfordshire manor house, Standon Calling has come a long way since it first started out as a birthday house party for founder Alex Trenchard in 2001. Back then it was little more than a barbecue with a few friends, drinks, tunes and chaos, and has since evolved into well-established annual music festival.

The date: September 6th 2013. The time: 10.30am. After a seamless tube ride from the East End to Waterloo, we were now heading due south to Portsmouth, bound for one of the most innovative and best (as voted four times by the UK Festival Awards) festivals in the UK – Bestival.

Pending a short ferry journey and a quick shuttle transfer, we would soon be joining the 60,000 strong throng of fun-seekers at what has been heralded the grand finale to the festival season.

As the summer months draw to an end, reminiscing about the fun times had becomes a common occurrence. “Oh, oh, remember when we threw granddad in the paddling pool?” “How about when we all got matching tattoos on that holiday in the Canaries?” Holding on to those blissful summer memories can act as a brilliant buoyancy aid to get us through the impending cooler months. But before you ditch the shades and kick your festi-wellies to the curb, why not one last hurrah as we try to squeeze as much fun as can be had from the remnants of the summer sun?

Situated in the beautiful surrounds of Robin Hill Country Park, near Newport on the Isle of Wight, is one of the UK’s best major open-air festivals – Bestival. Running since 2004, founded by Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank, and wife Josie Da Bank, Bestival has gained reputation as being the grand finale to the festival season. This year the 4 day long festival takes place from Thursday 5th September – Sunday 8th September 2013.

Providing an innovative boutique camping experience, a playground of adventure, and one of the most eclectic musical line-ups, Bestival is a shining example of how the modern day festival should be. But you’ll be pleased to note that whilst offering good-natured entertained for all, Bestival is also one of the major eco-thinking festivals around.

Eco Credentials
In 2011, the Bestival team became the proud recipients of the Greener Festival Award, and a year later the festival was crowned the ‘Best Major Festival’ at the 2012 UK Festival Awards. It is not difficult to see why. Whilst it is becoming increasingly common (thankfully) for festival organisers to give consideration to the ethical and environmental aspects of their festivals, a quick perusal of Bestival’s ‘green’ practice policies shows consistent and coherent dedication to improving its ecological impact.

For example, Bestival aims to reduce its carbon footprint by promoting the use of public transport and car sharing, with two-thirds of its attendees using public transport to travel to the festival site, and a few even swimming across the Solent for charity. The festival has good relationships with the Big Green Coach Company, South West Trains, Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries, just to name a few, meaning not only can you save some money using their services, but can benefit the environment too.

Bestival also sources local and organic produce and services as much as possible to reduce energy usage, whilst also increasing the use of more alternative energy sources in order to minimize waste and to utilise the island’s waste facilities as best they can. The onsite shop sources its produce locally and acts as a wholesaler for the other traders, and there are many organic traders and as much Fair Trade food and drink on offer as possible. Even their preferred water supplier, Life Pure Water, is in bio-degradable plastic bottles and profits go to helping water projects in developing countries.

Bestival works with local and national charities, many of which are dedicated to environmental pursuits and who offer teaching and interactive games on site with everything from water conservation to techniques to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

As well as this, Bestival actively tries to educate Bestival-goers about environmental concerns and encourage them to act responsibly at the event and to do their bit to help Keep Bestival Tidy.

For those that get involved in the Keep Bestival Tidy initiative, there is free tea to be had. Yes, that’s right, FREE TEA. All you need to do to claim your free cuppa is to pick up the litter in and around your tend, pop it into the black waste and green recycling bags, and take a full bag to the recycling pen next to your nearest Campsite Hub. You can do this every day if you like.

Other environmental initiatives employed include the use of colour-coded bins in all the music arenas to enable active recycling, the colourful compost loos, and the Cup and Can Return Scheme, which sees all beer cups and cans purchased from the bars worth 10p each – collect and return a load and you could easily have enough money to buy yourself and your friends a round. There is even a free pedal power mobile charging station offered by Childreach. For more information on the environmental initiatives offered, click HERE.

In terms of musical entertainment, Bestival have constructed a line-up to cry for. From the likes of American rap artist, Snoop Dogg, to psychedelic alternative rock band, The Flaming Lips, no melodic stone is left unturned. Other live acts include English recording artist and songwriter, M.I.A, Glasgow-based indie rock band, Franz Ferdinand, American Grammy Award-winning hip hop/neo soul band, The Roots, and DJ sets from the likes of Carl Cox, Annie Mac, DJ Yoda and of course, Rob Da Bank.

The latest additions are John Newman, Simian Mobile Disco, Pretty Lights, Dub Pistols, Ella Eyre, Skinny Lister, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, Kate Boy, Dream Koala, Polio, Zhala, Story Books, and Will Joseph Cook, and DJs Pete Tong, Daniel Avery,Mumdance, Lovesick, Comfyporn DJs, Dan Hayes (Subgiant), Propaganda DJs, and Across The Tracks.

For the full, glorious line up, click HERE.

Stages and other entertainment
These days, music festivals tend to offer their participants a whole lot more than music. Bestival is no exception. The non-music entertainment is almost a festival in itself, with activities for all, such as the Bestival Carnival Parade – a glorious cultural mash up and celebration of unadulterated self expression in the form of a huge mobile party, Splash-Mob – the biggest festival water slide ever, and the obligatory fancy dress – this year’s theme is Nautical (if you’re stuck for ideas, why not buy Bestival’s 364 page dressing up guide: ‘Bestival Presents… The Art of Dressing Up’)

New for 2013 is ‘The Port’ and HMS Bestival – their most ambitious and biggest project onsite since they started. A landlocked harbour with a ship, The HMS Bestival, as its centrepiece. ‘The Port’ forms a brand new mind-bowing bance arena, boasting a state of the art sound system provided by Funktion One, hi-tech lasers and LED screens and a shipload of pyrotechnics to boot – not one to be missed.

Tickets and travel
So having wetted your palette with a sneak peek of what Bestival has in store, you’re probably keen to know how you can get on board with the Bestival shenanigans.  With just over two weeks until Bestival, there is still time to grab your tickets and join in the fun. And with the Isle of Wight only a short ferry ride from Southampton, Portsmouth or Lymington, Bestival really couldn’t be easier to get to.

Whilst early bird tickets have sold out, tickets can still be bought HERE through various vendors. Adult tickets are priced at £190 for Thursday entry and £180 for entry from the Friday, with student tickets priced at £180 for entry from Thursday 5th September and teen tickets at £158 (children age 12 and under go free with a paying adult).

For further information on travel and transportation to Bestival, click HERE.

For the latest news from the lands of Bestival and to get a low down on what is in store, click HERE. Or if you really can’t wait for that musical dose of magic, tune in to Bestival Radio for their latest cloudcasts.


With the poor weather, Olympics and the economic downturn, music festivals struggled to attract their usual crowd in 2012. According to a survey from YouGov, festival attendance figures were down throughout 2012 and are expected to drop for the summer of 2013, with many of us being forced to tighten those proverbial purse strings. But whilst financial concerns were cited as one of the reasons for many shying away from the summer festival, many of those surveyed also gave overcrowding and too much queuing as their reasons for non-attendance.