Last weekend was Cornbury Festival and I decided quite spontaneously a couple of days before, that we would go on the Sunday. It’s less than a half hour drive away cross country, and I’d spotted a great deal on Amazon Local for an adult ticket for less than half price. I promptly bought a ticket, got one for N as well, and then prayed that it wouldn’t rain. Thankfully the rain came on Saturday, but not enough to water log the fields for Sunday.
I’d told N we were going to go for a day out to a music festival, and that there’d be lots of things to do and see. He does love watching music gigs on tv (the bigger the better – AC/DC Live from the Plate being his favourite, and Glastonbury the weekend before went down well), so I thought he’d probably enjoy seeing the bands play live.
We arrived dead on opening time so we were parked fairly close to the arena. I say fairly close, but it was still quite a walk up a hill for a 3 year old. N enjoyed wandering past the campsites and telling me that the tents looked like boats or trains. Wristbands are always interesting because the last time he had a paper one, he managed to rip it off (how, I have no idea). So I told him we’d put it round his sock so it was out the way. All fine, until he decided he wanted it round his wrist but it was a bit late for that.
I loved the flags and bunting flying around. In the children’s area, you could add to the bunting yourself, so presumably once they were filled out, they were hung around the site. I’ve never been to a festival before, so it was all new to me, but I really liked the relaxed atmosphere.
As I refused to spend £5 on a programme (I only wanted a list of 1 day’s bands, not lots of advertising and the whole weekend’s set up), we had no idea who was playing when or where, so we just pottered round from one place to the next. It turned out pretty well, as we did hear a good mix of bands (I had generally no idea who they were apart from King’s Parade which we really liked).
We watched Chipping Norton jazz band play for a bit, then grabbed some lunch. One downside was that you couldn’t take food into the arena. So if you wanted to eat cheap and bring a picnic, you had to eat it outside – ie by the carpark, or by the tents if you were camping. There was a family picnic area but I wasn’t sure what the purpose, was as everyone bringing in cool bags was having them searched for food and drink. We just took water bottles in, and were planning to buy food anyway to save me carrying so much stuff, but £9 for two hotdogs is a bit on the steep side. Also, there didn’t seem to be much child friendly food – N eats lots of different food, but it all seemed to be stalls, adult sized portions and prices, and then there’s the difficulty for children eating without a table/balancing paper plates. I didn’t notice any restaurant style outlets or anywhere that was set up for people to eat at tables (unless you were drinking in the pub).
The children’s area hadn’t been open earlier so we went to check that out after an initial wander. N was in his element. There was a music tent with various different music sessions to join in with. We did a spot of African and samba drumming which N loved.
He painted a picture…murky rinsing water meant his picture was a little gloomy! And I forgot to go and pick it up when we left.
We checked out the circus skills tent. It was obviously a little bit old for N, but that wasn’t going to worry him. He was right there in it, attempting to work out what all the equipment was without much success.
There were also some random animals walking round – the bear from Bear snacks. N loves the Bear yoyos, and turns out he liked the cereal samples too, but he wouldn’t hug the bear. Although he did want to go back and see it after we’d walked away. He just laughed at all the other children hugging it instead. The camel got some laughs too, although he missed it pretending to spit at me…charming!
The Music Rig was a great idea. They had a few ideas for sound – talking and listening down ‘tubes’ (remembering the cups on string of your childhood?)
And the actual music rig, made of upcycled materials, that they were going to do a workshop on at a later time. Definitely something that would be great to make in your own garden of old cutlery, wooden spoons and saucepans.
We wandered down to a couple of the stages to listen to some more bands…N loved sitting playing on the straw bale seating while the roots band played. They were good fun, but N sitting down and listening wasn’t really happening when there were bales to clamber on. He is much better at sitting directly on the ground, or on my lap. I think also, the latter is easier and better for younger children, as with seating you need to arrive before set up to get a seat, but then have to sit around for a long time while they get set up etc. On the blanket you can just turn up as and when and find a space.
I promised him we could go and look at the fairground, so of course he wanted to go on some rides. The merry go round was fine, but I wasn’t going to pay for the helter skelter for me to go up it with him in case he didn’t want to come down again. He did have a go on the (very strict about 5 minutes!) bouncy slides and loved that.
But it was the dodgems that he was obsessed with. Luckily they were full when we were there, but he watched them for ages before I dragged him away.
After a bit of a wander back round again we headed home, bumping into a couple of old friends on the way out. Oh yes, and as I was taking a photo on the way out, I turned round to notice N with his trousers and pants down, weeing against the wire fence separating the walkway and the tents! Thankfully it wasn’t busy with no people wandering past at that point, but a bit embarrassing.
We had a great, but quite tiring day. It was great to spend some time in the sun, hearing some live music, and experiencing a sedate festival atmosphere without any stress. I’m not sure I’d ever spend the £85 a day ticket would normally cost even if we had been there from 10-10, but it was a lovely experience, and as it’s so close to home we really should make the effort to go back if we can find some good deals again.
Are you a festival fan? Where have you taken your children?
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