Festivals – Shambala

Posted on June 26, 2013


It’s festival season again – time to dig out those wellies, a thick jumper and a HUGE dose of humour….you’re going to need it.

We went to Shambala festival – a beautiful setting in the middle of the Northamptonshire countryside.

I should probably make clear at this point that I am a total non-camper – don’t really understand it and don’t really like it! So this was always going to be tricky. But here’s my review of our festival time with two small children.

1. Food

I have to say this was amazing. As vegetarians there was a fantastic selection of food available…like this stall which definitely saved us after a night of no sleep!

2. Sleeping

What sleeping?! It was SO cold and this was totally our fault, we just didn’t come prepared. We put the children to bed in numerous layers and they slept through the night. We, however, spent a night awake, listening to the thumping music and absolutely freezing! We managed to pick up some alpaca blankets for the second and third night which definitely helped.

3. Children’s Field

This was also fantastic. From the pirate storytellers who took everyone on a rip roaring romp around the field to the wonderful variety of activities on offer such as –

– huge musical instruments – here playing the xylophone

– Making ‘stained glass’ biscuits

– the superb pirate storytellers

– making your own personalised bunting

4. Fun?

Aside from the near constant feeling of slightly chilled bones, we did manage to have fun!! Dressing up for the annual parade around the fields was great and seeing the other families and individuals all coming together was lovely.

For non-campers like me it is probably more of an endurance but my two children would definitely say it was fun!

5. Child Friendly?

Hmmm…I’m struggling with this one. On the one hand, absolutely it was. The children’s field was brilliant and the food was great for kids too. There were also tents for bath-time for babies and a nightly story-time. There was a slightly seedy element to the whole place though and given the amount of alcohol etc undoubtedly consumed by the young, child-free adults also there this was probably inevitable. I think this is probably true for many of the festivals this summer.

We did encounter a few, slightly undesirable sights – a woman next to us hitched up her skirt and started relieving herself on the path. And one morning as we wandered about to find some tea and toast we came across a large group of young adults who had obviously not yet been to bed who were embarking on a naked wheelbarrow race! We moved rather quickly away from this whilst slightly manically talking to our children in an attempt to distract them!

6. Would we go again?

Another hard question. I think it’s great to go to festivals with children although having done it pre-children there’s always a slightly wistful memory of what it used to be like, when we could just hang out and listen to all the bands we were interested in etc But it’s a great experience for kids and ours really loved it.

If I were to go again and couldn’t afford to stay in the Winnebago I dream of going in I would pack more layers, take more blankets, take ear plugs and probably try to mentally prepare for it a little more.

At the end you’ll be ready for a hot bath and a good night’s sleep but it’s certainly an experience!!