It was late on Saturday afternoon at CarFest South, we’d had a long but happy day wandering around the festival and were ready for dinner. We sat and ate pizza fresh from a wood fired oven while Henry and Matilda laughed and sang along with a kids theatre group doing a country and western play. It was one of those rare moments where everything is right in the world, the sun was just starting to fall towards the horizon, the children were all happy or in Rupert’s case asleep and we had that contented tired feeling you get from a day spent outdoors. It was also the moment I realised that buying CarFest South tickets was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now if that’s not enough to convince you that CarFest is the perfect family festival then read on!
The lady of the manor and I had talked a few times about going to a festival but had never been brave enough to take the plunge. I liked the idea of it but wasn’t sure if the reality would be the same or actually a smelly, tiring, stressful experience. But listening to Chris Evans one morning as he announced tickets were being released I grabbed my credit card and took the plunge, after all how bad could it be going to a festival with a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a 10 month old? Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight due a lack of sleep or maybe the first cup of tea hadn’t quite kicked in but either way I’m so glad I did and here’s why we’ll be back again this year:
Going to a festival with small children is quite daunting but I never once felt uncomfortable or worried being there with them. We didn’t stay in the evenings to see all the music which could have been harder but that’s the only exception. Such a relaxed environment with lots of space so aside from a few bottlenecks and popular areas it never felt crowded and you could always find a calm area when you needed it. The vintage area was our favourite for this with a 50’s music tent, classic VW campervans and a cafe selling afternoon teas, the perfect respite from the noisy cars in the paddock. I’ll also give a mention to the Up All Hours guys who had a tent in the food area that was a blissful oasis of calm with everything a parent of small children could want. Nappies, a change area, colouring and high chairs. Do hope they’ll be back this year.
Cars clearly are part of the attraction, fast noisy cars mainly and every day you can watch them whizz up and down the hill climb or just check them out in the paddock. But there is so much more to the event than just cars, our particular favourites were the dancing diggers (Henry), the craft area (Matilda), climbing in the tractors (me and Henry), cooking classes with Waitrose (all of us), music (lady of the manor) and that’s just a small selection. Throw in lots of food, theatre, army displays, big trucks, classic cars and a fairground and you’re just scratching the surface. Enough to keep this family of 5 entertained for 3 days that’s for sure.
Who can forget the music, this isn’t Glastonbury so don’t expect to see Coldplay or Led Zeppelin but there is a great line up of music on the main stage and then a few smaller stages where relatively unknown acts were playing. If you exclude the Boomtown rats who opened the Friday night and were truly truly awful then we enjoyed everyone else even if much of it was from the comfort of our tent as the kids slept. I also have a great photo of Matilda dancing while sat on the potty in the tent in the evening, I think she’s going to love it this year. This year they’ve already confirmed Texas, Will Young and the Feeling. Can’t wait.
I’ll finish with a couple of top tips; first if you’re taking young children then take some ear defenders with you. It makes the whole thing much more enjoyable for everyone and protects their little ears. Second it’s a festival, you’re going to need to walk some distance with your camping stuff so figure out a trolley or similar to use. I took my fishing barrow and that was perfect over the rough ground. Thirdly and finally the best value food to buy there bar none was a Pieminister Pie, £7.5o for a pie with mash, peas and gravy really can’t be beaten.
Good luck getting tickets and if you do manage to get them see you there!