Last weekend, we packed up the Roomster and headed off for the Brecon Beacons and the Green Man Festival. Having won our tickets thanks to a random draw and this picture of Dexter as a baby:
We’d packed all of the essentials: tent, sleeping bags, food, glow sticks, bubbles and Dexter’s ginormous soft elephant…
The kids were really excited when we got there, but the tramp over from the car park to the camping nearly finished us off. We’d been told by the organisers that they would provide us with a ticket – which then never arrived – meaning that the family car park next to the family parking had already sold out. After discovering on the second day there that we weren’t even in the family camping anyway, having walked floor well over an hour to get there, we should have just stopped, dropped and (camping) rolled right next to the first free spot we saw.
Now, we discovered that watching bands with kids isn’t the same as watching them by yourself. Nor is a festival generally. Our two are pretty used to camping, so that element of it was fine. I mean apart from the waking up at a ridiculously early hour then us spending the next hour hissing,
“Go back to sleep! There are people around us who don’t want to hear you squealing. No, it’s not up time, it’s still sleepy time.”
And so on, and so on… It did make me smile how many times I overheard other parents performing a variation of this each morning.
Anyway, watching music wasn’t that possible with kids as little as ours. Fortunately (or not) there weren’t that many bands we were desperate to see, so it meant we could just amble about and not get too worried about missing anything good.
We had borrowed one of those double bike trailer buggies to push the kids round in and out was amazing! I would definitely recommend buying or borrowing one for festivals in the future. It seemed easier to push round than pulling a trailer, and the kids could nap in it too. Also, the boot on it was massive so we could lug all our stuff around with us and smuggle some cans of cider in. Win-win all around.
The bands we saw over the weekend included Nordic Giants, Sunflower Bean, The Allah-Las (the kids walked around for ages going ‘allah la!’ in a French accent), the Wave Pictures, Warm Digits, and of course, our favourite band: British Sea Power.
Aidan had made the kids some British Sea Power clothing to wear. Corliss’s dress is actually from last year when we saw them at the Hull Freedom Festival, so he made Dexter a top with a snail on as he’s currently obsessed. I think British Snail Power could be a thing!
The band were brilliant, as always, but getting the kids through this set – and others – was really tricky. A combination of sitting on shoulders, dancing, playing with glow sticks and napping in the buggy… But it was hard work.
We had a slight panic when watching Nordic Giants. They were performing in a tent, playing a live soundtrack to some short, arty films. Aidan and I soon realised that most of the films weren’t that suitable for kids to watch… Neither of them really mentioned anything they’d seen, so hopefully they didn’t really understand what was happening. I did have to put my hands over Dexter’s eyes at one point though, when people were getting speared and shot at!
What Green Man Festival does really well is everything else around the music itself: kids craft, random acts, juggling, gymnastics shows and so on.
As you can see, Tom Jones was there…
The craft tent was really good. It was run by a company called Junkfish and had different activities on every day. The kids had a go at animation, spinning wool, making headdresses, playing such clay; in fact, the whole kids area was fantastic. Although there s nearly a toddler fight over this ball rolling thing made from drainpipes that they were all mad about.
We were pretty lucky with the weather. There were a few showerson the first couple of days, but nothing too heavy. However, the forecast for Sunday was dire so we made the decision to pack up on Sunday morning while it was still dry then leave after the last band we wanted to see. Turned out to be a great decision as the rain that afternoon was torrential!
We had an amazing time and we’re so grateful to the Green Man Festival organisers for our winning tickets. I think we’ll probably wait a few years before doing a festival again – not least because we both felt like we’d been to an intensive gym class after all the shoulder rides! But also so the kids can enjoy the music a bit more.
Now I’m supposed to be getting ready to go camping again this morning, so for now I’m going to leave it there. Suffice it to say, it was brilliant. We really enjoyed it and I would strongly recommend Green Man to any family festival goers.