Have a Kid-Size Summer Music Festival

How many summer festivals have you got lined up this year? If the answer is none or you’re wondering whether the local plant sale counts, chances are you have kids and clean toilets mean more than the Pyramid Stage these days. Yes, it’s sad but true; children and acres of mud don’t go well together. And you know ‘family friendly’ still means an expedition size kit and being tucked up in the tent by 9pm sharp. But before you resign yourself to online Glastonbury highlights, can we make a suggestion? Forget ear-defenders and throw a few mini-festivals of your own this summer. We can’t promise you superstar DJs or celebrity food trucks. But with a bit of imagination, a few equally festival-deprived friends and kids who don’t know any better, you can pull off a great time and still get to sleep in your own bed. And, anyone who’s spent the night in a flooded Somerset field, knows that’s the best bit.

Have a Kid-Size Summer Music Festival

Own a little of the Isle of Wight

If you’ve never done the Isle of Wight, think Summer of Love, mellow and anything goes in the sound department. This one covers all bases from rock and indie to electro, calls its zones after Hendrix and Beatles classics and adds a whole new meaning to beachy fun. Here’s what you need.

  • Sound Stage
    The Who, Queen (you can have the legendary Freddie Mercury, Isle of Wight’s making do with Adam Lambert), Turin Brakes, Stereophonics, The Kills, Pendulum, Sigma and dozens more. Take a look at the line-up and put together a playlist.
  • The Look
    Retro is the way to go and releasing your inner hippy is only perfect.
  • Fun and Games
    If you can juggle or work a Diablo, you are king of the tribute festival this summer. No circus skills? Go all out on face painting instead, add a paddling pool and sand pit (your very own beach), create a comfy chill-out zone in the shade and make room for dancing and arm waving – Isle of Wight essentials.
  • Food and Drink
    This one couldn’t be easier: home-made burgers, organic rolls and fresh, local salad greens. Kids want to be drinking chilled apple juice while grown-ups can go authentic with artisan cider.

Have a Kid-Size Summer Music Festival

T in the garden

For three days every July, Perth gives up being genteel and goes all out for T In The Park. The annual Scottish legend is brilliant if you don’t mind the weather, midges and Tennent’s Lager. On home territory you can adjust to taste, make it kid-shaped and still have a great time.

  • Sound Stage
    Headliners this year are The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris and Red Hot Chili Peppers and there’s plenty of dance party in the slam tents. Check out the real T in the Park line-up and just do your own thing.
  • The Look
    It’s Scotland, it’s summer, so wearing as little as possible (especially in the rain) is the way to go.
  • Fun and Games
    Forget the circus and concentrate on a ceilidh for authenticity here. The T In The Park Ceilidh Tent is much loved and gives you plenty of scope for a right old carry on with plenty of jigging, reeling and fiddle tunes as loud and long as you like.
  • Food and Drink
    The Scots love anything you can put on bread, so this is one to throw open the back doors (check out these stunning external bifold doors from Vufold, very handy when hosting gatherings at home), light the grill and get barbecuing. Avoid traditional lager and go for award winning Scottish craft beer instead and try zesty iced-tea for the kids.

Have a Kid-Size Summer Music Festival

Notting Hill Carnival your way

The UK’s most famous carnival rounds off summer all over Notting Hill in August. It’s loud, mobbed, bright and fantastic. But even Family Sunday can be too much with toddlers and under 5s. Here’s how to bring the Caribbean home for the best bits.

  • Sound Stage
    This one’s famous for sound stages and anything from dubstep to steel bands works. If you’re new to the noise, have a look at the ultimate guide and take it from there.
  • The Look
    Bikinis, beads, plumes, short trousers, big hats, painted skin and as much colour as you cram on your body is the rule.
  • Fun and Games
    If you’re up for a bit of mess, you could try Jouvert (the carnival custom of throwing bright, powdered paint around). Smearing melted chocolate on people’s faces is another tradition. But just dancing with wild abandon goes a long to getting Notting Hill right.
  • Food and Drink
    This is another one for the barbecue and if you don’t have jerk chicken you don’t have a carnival. Wash it down with Red Stripe (naturally) and stick to mango and papaya smoothies for the under 18s.

And remember, once the kids are tucked up in bed you can keep the party going, outside or in – your event, your rules and no sodden campsite to worry about. Have fun.

Would you consider having a kid-size summer music festival in your backyard?
I’d love to hear from you so make sure you leave me a message in the comments below!

Thanks for reading guys.
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  1. 14/06/2016 / 5:49 pm

    This sounds like a brilliant idea and one I need to try out. I think my girls would really love it. Plus you get the added bonus of selecting your own music!

  2. 14/06/2016 / 7:09 pm

    What a great idea, it sounds like great fun I am going to have to try this out as perfect for our lifestyle at the moment x

  3. 14/06/2016 / 7:12 pm

    This sounds brilliant to me, so dont forget my invite ha x

  4. Hannah
    14/06/2016 / 8:27 pm

    Sounds like such a great idea! I haven’t been to a festival in forever actually x

  5. 14/06/2016 / 9:07 pm

    That sounds like a great idea and I know my girls would love it too.

  6. 14/06/2016 / 9:41 pm

    These are some lovely ideas, I wouldn’t mind having my own festival in the back garden I have to admit. x

  7. 14/06/2016 / 10:23 pm

    I love music festivals, I was meant to go to Wireless this year but I decided to not go because I was not keen on the line up :/

  8. 14/06/2016 / 10:41 pm

    Such a good idea to throw a mini festival yourself. I’d definitely do something like this if I had kids. Although there are so many family friend festivals out there x

  9. 14/06/2016 / 11:00 pm

    I think this could be a lot of fun for the little ones. I think these are awesome ideas!

  10. 15/06/2016 / 3:25 pm

    great photos!
    awesome ideas, i need to think of something to do in august, so it gives me inspiration, thanks 🙂

  11. nicol
    15/06/2016 / 3:27 pm

    ive never been to any of these but they are on my to go list in the future. each of them sounds glorious

  12. 16/06/2016 / 5:53 am

    I am hoping to attend at least one festival this year and I am loving all these festival ideas to have in your backyard
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  13. 16/06/2016 / 7:23 am

    My OH loves throwing open our bi-folds and blaring his rock music when we have BBQ’s, ko I guess we already throw our own backyard festivals, haha! Love the idea of making it a proper Glasto hippy fest though, with bunting , face painting and teepees. x

  14. 16/06/2016 / 9:01 am

    I love a good festival, my daughter loves them too! We aren’t fortunate enough to have a back garden as we live very central in London but we do have a massive balcony as we live overlooking everything so we have a lot of balcony parties which I suppose we can turn into rooftop festivals…. We do live right by a park though and they have some mini festivals throughout the summer which are nice and free for the local community!

  15. 16/06/2016 / 11:09 am

    I think it is such a lovely idea to take children to festivals. It really is such a cool thing to do, and generates so many happy family memories.

  16. 16/06/2016 / 7:53 pm

    There are some good festivals in here! I think festival number 8 is meant to be quite family friendly too 🙂

  17. 16/06/2016 / 11:06 pm

    Brilliant and great ideas for if you can’t get to a real festival. Summer is certainly creeping up on me!

  18. 17/06/2016 / 11:54 am

    My husband and I love going to festivals in the summer, but these days we tend to stick to smaller, more family-friendly festivals. They’re much more pleasant – and so much cheaper!

  19. 19/06/2016 / 12:34 pm

    Aww that’s an adorable idea, I’m sure kids would love it.

  20. 22/06/2016 / 8:06 pm

    These are some really great ideas for parents. My friends parents go to all the biggest festivals and just leave her at home every year! This is a much better idea 😉

  21. 18/08/2016 / 8:49 am

    This is a fab post, especially as so many of us can’t get to festivals like Bestival. I used to go to Notting Hill Carnival every year before babies. Not sure I’d want to take them when they’re so young but one day! So yes we will be doing our own Home Carnival in the back garden. Daddy loves playing reggae anyway and Mummy used to be a DJ so she can play some tunes on the decks for our own family sound system! Jerk chicken and salmon is on our weekly menu so all’s good. Have fun over Summer X #brillblogposts
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