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.

cornbury festival sign

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.

cornbury flas

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.

cornbury stage

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).

little poser.

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).

eating crepes.

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.

drumming

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.
painting

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.

circus skills.

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!

camel

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?)

listen and talk buckets

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.

The Music Rig

music rig playing spoons

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.

beautiful displays on stag CD
Cool display idea

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.

bouncy slide.

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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33 Comments

  1. Love the look of this festival, I’ve been to many festival on my own, but am looking for a child friendly one to go to.

    • There’s now so many festivals around, especially with a child focus, so definitely worth having a look out for them

  2. How exciting that it was the first festival for both of you! I can’t wait to take Diggory to a festival, though I doubt it will be this year now. Sounds like you both had fun, I’ve never heard of this one before but it reminds me of one local to us called ‘Nibley Festival’ which is also really well catered for children. #musicalexplorations

    • There seem to be so many around nowadays, there’s more to choose from. Hope you get to one next year.

  3. I am noticing how much concentration my son will give on watching live acts. Since that started it is my dream now to attend something not so big but enough to really make him feel the music experience. I wish we can do this too soon =) #countrykids

    • It was great fun, just a case of finding an event that’s not too overwhelming for them. It’s great how they love music so much.

  4. It’s a difficult one isn’t it? You want to give yourself and your children a wide life experience but lots of places are way too expensive.I don’t drive so we’re limited to what kind festivals I can take my 3 to but price is always a big factor.

    • Ooh couldn’t live where I do and not drive. Does make it hard (and even more expensive) if you’re train-ing it to places as well.

      Thankfully I think there’s always a lot more offers around for events nowadays, so I always try and look those out – not good when you only want to go somewhere in good weather, so paying in advance isn’t always possible.

  5. fashion-mommy

    I would never think of taking a little one to a festival, but it looks like you both had an amazing time.

    #MagicMoments

    • I think you just need to choose carefully. I’d not do one of the bigger ones unless I was used to going to them on my own, but this one was more like a country fair, and they’re fine for children.

    • N has no choice. Mind you, he’s pretty easy going, I just tell him what he’s going to see and then if he wants to stay home, we just say daddy’s doing ‘dangerous’ jobs, then he’ll happily get in the car!

  6. We have friends who go every year to Cornbury and rave about it. Although I’ve been tempted the ticket prices are just too high. So I’ll be looking out on Amazon local next year! #countrykids

  7. this looks like so much fun! although i have to say it is a shame that they hike the prices up so much that it becomes a little too pricey #countrykids

    • I suppose they prefer people to come all weekend, so for taking a family it can be pricy, especially if the adults can’t make use of everything for them, when they have young children to chivvy about. Still good fun

  8. This looks like a fantastic festival for kids and it sounds like you got a great deal. I bet your little one slept well that night! #CountryKids

    • He’s not a bad sleeper anyway, but yes, had a good lie in the next day, after then going out and playing outside all afternoon/early evening once we got home. No rest for little boys when there’s a farm to play on!

  9. Laura @ Kneadwhine

    We have managed a couple of smallish festivals in Bristol with D – vegfest and the harbour festival. I’d really love to take him to something bigger – looks like you had a great time!

    • The harbour festival sounds really cool. N would love that – I’m presuming there are boats involved?

  10. Sounds like a really fun day out, I have never been to a festival but it is on my to do list! Really much cross it off soon x

    • Definitely try and find one. Helpful when they’re local, as quick to get to, no need to have the pressure of camping, and you can pop in for a day trip to ease your way in. The way to do it imo.

  11. Wow, it looks like a children heaven with so much to do.
    We hardly every to go festivals, a bit too much crowd for my liking.

    • That’s what my OH says too – he hates being in crowded places – not sure to agorophobia, he’s just miserable and hates people!

      Definitely good for children if you pick the right one. And I suppose we left before it got really busy for the headline acts

  12. Nicola Young

    That looks amazing. So much to do and see. I love the idea of taking the kids to smaller festivals like that. It’s a great experience and this ones looks like it was really geared to the whole family.

    • It was. I was surprised at how much there was for children, and N definitely wasn’t bored. I’m aiming for Big Feastival next – it’s great that there’s so many events local to me.

  13. It looks like so much fun! I never heard of Cornbury festival before but it definitely looks and sounds child friendly.

    • I think more festivals are making themselves family friendly, but I think this one has been from the start. Definitely lots to do for the children.

  14. That looks like so much fun, I want to try the stilts here made the old way with cans in our activity hour. Pinning your picture to remind me. There is one local to us but it clashes with our changeover on saturday so sadly we will miss it. Looks like you all found something to enjoy there.

    • He did enjoy the stilts although he didn’t quite get the stepping aspect. Reckon you’d need catering size tins for making them though.

  15. I’ve always wanted to go to Cornbury. Good to know there’s some kids stuff there! Will have to try it when my boys are a bit older 🙂

    • I was surprised at how much there was for children to do, and most of it free unless you wanted upgraded versions, or the fun fair)

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