We recently dipped our toe into the festival scene for the first time. Before having children my husband and I used to love going to music concerts but we never made it to a festival – and since having children, I thought that they were just something I’d never get round to experiencing. Leaving me wondering, ‘did I miss out?’ There’s always been that small regret that I should have ‘done’ Glastonbury or maybe V Festival in my younger years. Although, I’ve never really been keen on camping, which probably explains why I never went to a festival.
However, with the recent rise of family friendly festivals, maybe we can still experience a festival with the kids in tow? Over the last bank holiday weekend we attended Elderflower Fields Family Festival in East Sussex. We don’t own camping equipment and if I’m honest I’m still not sold on the idea of camping (especially with three kids), so we decided to go for the day, giving us the opportunity to experience a festival without the challenges and cost of camping.
Elderflower Fields Family Festival is a three-day festival designed for families with young children. It’s a wild weekend of adventure, music, sports, nature and crafts – set in the heart of Sussex.
This small, perfectly formed festival was established in 2012. The organisers initially wanted to create a party for a few hundred friends and family but their plans snowballed and before they knew it, they’d sold over a thousand tickets. I love the thought of a party getting so out of hand that it ended up creating a new family business.
In 2014 Elderflower Fields moved to a bigger venue, Pippingford Park, where the festival now returns each year. It’s a beautiful, wild, hilly spot that’s perfect for the magical, fairyland feels of Elderflower Fields.
The organisers say that they intentionally keep Elderflower Fields small…
“…it’s part of what makes Elderflower Fields such a safe and special weekend for families. But we also try to increase the quantity and quality of the activities and performances every year, so that there’s always something new and exciting for our guests.”
So what did we think of our first venture into a family festival?
When I think back over our day at Elderflower Fields, three things come to mind. Firstly, it was absolutely magical. The whole site was decorated beautifully, with rustic charm and gorgeous detail. There was colour everywhere you looked, trees were decorated with large ornaments and lights, there were colourful buntings everywhere and everything had a shabby homemade vibe, which I loved. The festival also had a fairyland vibe with fairy tours and storytelling adding to the magical feel of the place.
The second thing that comes to mind is the food! The quality and the choice of food available was just astonishing – it almost felt like a mini food festival, with all the different independent food vendors. We wanted to try everything on offer but ended up opting for wood fire pizzas, homemade ice creams and sorbets (I had the strawberry and champagne sorbet, which was out of this world), and as we were leaving we picked up some chocolate covered waffles on a stick.
The third and last thing that I’d say about Elderflower Fields is how it’s perfectly catered for children. All the activities were fun, well considered and ideal to get kids involved. The variety of activities on offer was brilliant; we made giant bubbles, created science experiments, found fairy doors, listen to stories, danced to music, played in hammocks, rode down hill on skateboards and even made mud pies in the play kitchen. It really was a fun filled day that we’ll remember forever.
The festival also had three main stages dotted around the site for music and storytelling performances. The schedule was full and varied, ensuring that there was always something to see, do or listen to.
We enjoyed our day so much we’re already thinking about going back next year, who knows we may even camp!