It seems that the summer has happened it you haven’t been to a festival and now the boys are older (11 and 12) we are back to really enjoying festivals as a family. We used to regularly go to festivals BC (before children) and never missed a Reading Festival for 13 years! Rather than do a big festival with the kids we have been loving going to smaller and independent ones. This year we have been looking forward to visiting Nozstock The Hidden Valley.
Top Tips for going to Festivals with Tweens – Nozstock The Hidden Valley
Nozstock is set in the middle of nowhere in Herefordshire, but it is so easy to find and my boys had the most amazing time – even though it rained. That is the sign that it is a good festival.
Nozstock is in its nineteenth year and they really have got it all covered. We had just the best time as a family and will definitely be going back next year.
Going to festivals with tweens can be a challenge. They are too young to be left to themselves all the time and too old for a lot of the “kids areas”. Normally I would keep a really close eye on the boys and feel like they needed to be accompanied at all times, however, Nozstock is a very safe and compact and even better it isn’t overcrowded so you can spot them.
Photo credit Charlie Rimmer Sunken Stage
We gave both of the boys a lot more freedom that we have previously and they came back to us as requested to check in and when they were hungry! We knew that we could find Mini at the Sunken Yard at the Pond Stage where he spent his time raving, playing games and partying. You can just spot him in the photo above!
In fact, Mini was made for festivals as he is just “noise with muck on” and had the best time exploring, creative, partying, eating and chilling.
Maxi, on the other hand, loves being there, but does struggle with the need to be clean! He did, however, eat his way through the festival and pretty much-tried everything on offer (yes he is bottomless)! The food and drink were really reasonably priced for a festival and absolutely delicious.
As a parent of a tween, I was delighted that there wasn’t fair ground or any other money guzzling things going on. In fact, the only additional thing we paid for was a lino printing workshop for Mini and me. He loved it so much that I have ordered all the materials to do it over the summer with him.
Top Tips for going to Festivals with Tweens
So you are off to a festival with your tween, what do you need to consider?
- Take is slow on the first day. We went and explored as a family on the first day and did a lot of things together. This allowed the boys to get their bearings and also find their feet a little.
- The more the merrier – meeting and making new friends make festivals. We met up with Alex and Claire and our children really got along famiously (the last time they mat pushchairs were involved).
- Allow certain freedoms – as long as you are comfortable with it, then a big part of festivals for tweens is exploring and experiencing things on their own. We made sure that the boys knew where we were and what to do if they couldn’t find us. Apparently, it is far cooler to rave without your middle-aged parents cramping your style!
- Be prepared for them to like different things to you.
- Give them a daily budget and once it has gone it has gone!
- Allow them to express themselves. Our boys who are strict football top and trackie wearing children dyed their hair gold and green and wore glitter and face paint over the weekend.
- Allow for some friction due to later nights than normal.
- Be prepared to go back to the tent with them earlier than you expected – We only managed to see one headliner as the boys got tired and wanted to go back and sleep. They are still too young to do that on their own and they are too big for trolleys!
Why we loved Nozstock
It is ready hard to put my finger on any one thing that made Nozstock so great. it was a combination of things. The atmosphere is just brilliant. The people were great, happy and welcoming. The setting is just perfect. Our tent – I have to say a big thank you to ZooBells for the bell tent. Staying in a bell tent with real mattresses and duvets transformed our festival experience especially in the wet weather. We are getting old and a good nights sleep makes all the difference! However, no matter where you camp at Nozstock there isn’t a big trek from the car to the site (especially for the family camping).
The setting is just perfect and the upkeep is great – it so easily could have been a mud bath but the organisers were brilliant and the sawdust was liberally applied to any muddy areas. The variety of acts and things to do over a short distance make it a brilliant family festival. You do not have to walk for miles before you get anywhere.
The lack of pull along trolleys – yes I know that this is controversial but when you do not have toddlers or preschoolers trolley are a hazard. They are hard to see in the dark and seem to be taking over a lot of “family friendly festivals”
We also loved the green ethos of the festival. Recyclable and reusable cups (£1 refundable deposit) mean that there were no paper cups all over the place and there were green recycling bins everywhere around the arenas.
Prices were really reasonable – Mini actually screen printed his own Nozstock T-shirt and it was only £10 much cheaper than other event merchandise. Food and drink weren’t overpriced either. Ticket prices are great too.
What are your top tips for festivals with tweens?