FORGET the old cliché of beery students splashing around in the mud to thumping rock music.
Many music festivals are now aimed squarely at families, and make for great weekend breaks in some very picturesque locations.
The world-renowned Glastonbury Festival is finally back – and sold out, as usual.
But across the UK there are dozens more options to choose from this summer.
Warren Chrismas picks six of the best family-festival favourites.
Camp Bestival, Dorset/Shropshire
FAMILY fun is at the very heart of Camp Bestival, making it a great option for youngsters.
This year there are two weekends – at the long-established site around Lulworth Castle in Dorset, with a Desert Island Disco theme for 2022, and a brand new location in Weston Park, Shrops.
The two line-ups are a little different but the fun formula is the same, with chart and retro pop acts on the bill alongside stars from popular children’s TV shows, including Horrible Histories, Brainiac Live and Mr Tumble.
Beyond the main stage, you will find circus acts, a Woodland Tribe area, arts and crafts, fairground rides, a Wall of Death motorbike stunt show, silly fun and games with the Blue Coats and loads more as well.
Saturday is fancy-dress day, which typically gets an enthusiastic response and lots of participation.
WHEN: July 28-31 (Dorset) and August 18-21 (Shropshire).
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are £210 for adults, £145 age 13-17, £80 age one to four, babies in arms free. Day tickets to be available, too.
MORE INFO: See campbestival.net
The Big Feastival, Cotswolds
“GOOD food, good music, good times” is the motto of The Big Feastival, hosted by Blur bassist and Sun columnist Alex James on Alex’s picturesque Cotswolds farm.
The site is just a few minutes’ walk from Kingham station in Oxfordshire, making it easily accessible by train from London, Birmingham or beyond. There is also a free car park.
Once there, you will find the widest and most sophisticated selection of festival grub around, plus there are cookery schools and live demos from Michelin-starred chefs.
The eclectic music bill includes Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder and The Voice judge Anne-Marie, plus Stereophonics, Sugababes and Human League.
The kids’ line-up includes CBeebies stars Justin Fletcher and Andy Day, while activities include wild workshops, crafts and even junior cooking classes for budding Jamie Olivers.
WHEN: August 26 to 28.
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are from £222.50 adults, £136.50 age 13-17 and £57 age 12 and under. Day tickets also available.
MORE INFO: See thebigfeastival.com
Latitude – Southwold, Suffolk
IF any festival deserves to be described as a mini Glastonbury, then Latitude is the one. Household names Lewis Capaldi and Snow Patrol are among the headliners this year at Henham Park, in Southwold, Suffolk.
But, as ever, there is a long list of cool-with-the-kids artists too, including Phoebe Bridgers, Fontaines DC and Rina Sawayama.
Beyond music, there is comedy (Russell Howard and Marcus Brigstocke), theatre, dance and even poetry. Pretentious? Oui, oui!
While not targeted solely at families, Latitude offers a large – and conveniently placed – campsite exclusively for those with children.
And youngsters have a dedicated area, with activities split across theatre, creative and “wild science” tents.
Young indie and rock fans will love being brought here. Whether they will want to hang out with their parents is another matter.
WHEN: July 21 to 24.
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are from £254.05 adults, £175.40 age 13-15, £15 age five to 12). Day tickets also available.
MORE INFO: See latitudefestival.com
Don’t do tents?
IF the idea of roughing it puts you off weekend festivals, take a look at glamping options.
Most festivals offer a choice of bell tents, yurts and such like – sometimes with proper beds – and they are typically in dedicated areas with private shower blocks and regularly serviced toilets.
Alternatively, there are usually pitches just for camper vans and mobile homes, though these get snapped up fast.
Still not convinced? Many festivals offer day tickets, so you can go home to your own bed.
But if you do, we reckon you will miss out on half the fun. Late-night silliness, and waking up surrounded by nature, is all part of the true festival experience.
Bluedot – Jodrell Bank, Cheshire
SET in the grounds around the giant telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, Bluedot is a glorious music and science geekfest.
There is no pop here, as such. The music line-up is always dominated by electronic and indie acts, unashamedly aimed at ticket-buying parents.
This year’s headliners include Bjork, and the Halle Orchestra and Groove Armada. But in the backfields and tents, science fans of all ages will find a ton of hands-on activities.
Junior boffins will have the chance to program a robot, build a model rocket, learn to use a lightsabre, explore a huge inflatable structure, hear a talk from real-life astronaut Tim Peake and much more.
School science lessons were never, ever this much fun.
WHEN: July 21 to 24.
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are £205.25 adults, £27.50 age six to ten, to £87 age 11-15. Day tickets also available.
MORE INFO: See discoverthebluedot.com
CarFest – North: Cheshire/South: Hampshire
MORE than 100 vehicles from past, present and future will tear about the tracks in daily shows at each of this year’s CarFest events at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire and Laverstoke Park Farm in Hampshire.
But these charity fundraising weekends – the idea of Virgin Radio DJ Chris Evans – definitely aren’t just for petrolheads.
The broad range of daytime attractions includes wellbeing sessions, cooking demonstrations, celebrity interviews and this year, even a daily Jubilee Jamboree street party.
For kids, there is an art club, forest school, climbing park and for ten to 16-year-olds, the chance to take a driving lesson.
Then, from late afternoon into the night, there’s live music and DJs, with Richard Ashcroft and Nile Rodgers and Chic playing in Cheshire, and Rag ’n’ Bone Man and Kaiser Chiefs in Hampshire, with Steps and Natalie Imbruglia among acts at both.
WHEN: July 22 to 24 (Cheshire), August 26 to 28 (Hampshire).
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are from £198.45 adults, £56.70 age six to 16. Day tickets also available.
MORE INFO: See carfest.org
Black Deer Festival – Tunbridge Wells, Kent
YOU can expect to see cowboy boots alongside traditional festival wellies at this “Festival of Americana” in the deep south of England – well, Eridge Park in Tunbridge Wells.
Line-up includes acts from both sides of the Atlantic – and, indeed, across a number of different genres – with Wilco, Van Morrison and old indie faves James among this year’s headliners.
This is a modestly sized festival compared with the others featured here, but that makes it easy for youngsters to navigate, with little chance of getting lost.
Even if they do not appreciate the music, they will enjoy the dedicated kids’ zone which includes a giant carpentry area, arts and crafts, a zipwire and more. Axe-throwing is best left to adults, mind.
A regular shuttle bus service running from Tunbridge Wells mainline station (£5 return) makes Black Deer easy to get to from London.
WHEN: June 17 to 19.
HOW MUCH: Weekend tickets, including camping, are £212.90 adults, £98.26 age six to 17. Day tickets also available.
MORE INFO: See blackdeerfestival.com
Source: The Sun