Livestock Music Festival
My first experience of taking children to a music festival
– Livestock in Longdon
The strange thing about being a blogger is that people you don’t know, start to get to know you, I’m still not sure how I feel about that!
Well one of the things I love is music and especially live music. I went to my first gig when I was 17, Bryan Adams at the Cornwall Coliseum with T’Pau supporting (anyone under about 40 will have no idea who that is!) and went to Glastonbury when there was only 30,000 people there, not 130,000 like we see now. So it may be a surprise to learn that it has taken me until my girls are 10 and 11 to muster up the courage to take them to a festival.
To be honest it’s been a selfish thing, to me a festival is about staying up late, dancing, drinking and generally forgetting about mundane life stuff – personally this does not fit with being responsible for two young children, worrying that, in the worst case, they might wander off and meet the child snatcher, or just complain the music is too loud, they can’t see, they need food (when alcohol would sustain me) want to be carried and ideally should be in bed at 9.30 or you suffer the consequences the next day.
Oh and by the way, hubby does not share my live music love (ask me about the James Blunt gig), so no sharing of the childcare responsibility. So read on to learn more about my solo Livestock Music festival experience with children.
Last year I happened to be near Tewkesbury and drove past a road side banner advertising Livestock Music Festival which listed some reasonably well known headlining bands. So I signed up for the newsletter. Fast forward to 29th July 2016 and we were off, just me and our two girls in the campervan for our first music festival adventure.
Luckily we were in no rush as the traffic was terrible from Bridgewater to Bristol, the joy of summer travel in the UK. But we made it and chose the quiet camping field – flat with masses of space for everyone (where cars can be parked along side tents, a real bonus if you don’t have a bus!). The camping was just two fields walk to reach the main festival.
Livestock in Longdon it turns out, is only in its second year and still small (5,000 tickets), but for me it was perfectly formed.
For my first trip with the girls the thought of coping with 30,000 plus people and miles to walk to the campsite was not what I was looking for. This is what we discovered at Livestock:
~ a main stage,
~ an acoustic stage,
~ a comedy bus,
~ a woodland stage,
~ arts and crafts plus other kids entertainment
~ and the real clincher – G &T and Pimms by the pint!!
There’s no doubt – Livestock have sussed out what their audience wants!
We explored the festival grounds and listened to various bands on the Friday night (unknown to me but really decent) and then the headliner Reef – new guitarist is Jesse Wood, son of a Rolling Stone and married to Fearne Cotton (that’s the sum of my celeb pop trivia knowledge) – they were pretty good and the kids were awake enough to dance along with their earplugs in!
We were so lucky with the weather, there were at least 3 other festivals around the country this weekend and I’m sure numerous fetes and fairs, so wherever you were I’m sure you’ll agree it makes so much difference when it doesn’t rain. We were able to sit out the whole time, lazing against the thoughtfully provided hay bales with our blankets (because hay is a bit scratchy!) and even needed sun cream as it was surprisingly hot when the sun appeared! Oh, and despite many people wearing wellies, there’s was no mud!
Festival pass – check!
A pint of G&T – check!
I had to be reasonably responsible so only had the one pint of G&T, but still enjoyed some great live music and a bit of dancing.
I really hope that some of the bands get a break and make it on to the radio (one had just signed a deal) – we have so much great talent in this country and such a small percentage of bands or artists actually get the break they need to make a proper living from it.
Sunday was a lazy start with bacon butties an essential part of any camping experience. Back on the festival field the girls spent the day making made festival craft bags, dream catchers and cards with a crafty fairy. Later they listened to story telling, watched a fun science show and joined the animal encounters (a giant tortoise, a snake and a bearded dragon to pet).
Also free was a climbing wall – it was so great knowing there were things for them to do that didn’t cost extra and the site was small enough for me to let them wander about on their own, while I was able to relax and listen to the music with a cup of proper coffee.
So the weekend was finished off on Sunday evening with Chesney Hawkes and his band- yes that one hit wonder who actually has a great voice and really engaged with the audience, covers like Summer of 69’and Mr Brightside were his best crowd pleasers and he even got dragged back twice for encores.
Sadly the same could not be said about Sunday night’s headliner, oh dear I’m going to upset some folk I’m sure, but Jason Donovan just did not work out well after all the fun we’d been having – with his tan and a Miami Vice white suit, those 80s ballads and Joseph ‘any dream will do” rendition (which we got twice) were sadly short of the mark and aside from a few enthusiastic fans the rest of us were wishing Chesney or The Lottery Winners would come back and liven the scene up again. For those without young kids, the final disco was soon in full swing and I’m sure Jason quickly became a distant memory. I was just happy that we had survived the whole festival in good spirits.
So the real test was as we drove away on Monday morning “would you like to come again next year” I asked – the answer was a resounding YES, but mum, can we bring some friends?
So if you are looking for a good value weekend (it cost me about £40 per night for festival tickets and camping) with decent showers, some great music, kids entertainment, good food and pints of G&T, then why not join me, it would be more fun with friends.
I’m pretty sure we’ll be going back to Livestock Longdon in 2017.
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