Take The Kidz To Glastonbury

Glastonbury is arguably the foremost music festival in the world but a big part of its success is down to the fact that there is so much more to Worthy Farm’s extravaganza than just music. Europe’s biggest open-air event is also home to Britain’s largest free children’s festival – Kidzfield – and all children aged 12 and under are admitted to Glastonbury free provided they are accompanied by a ticketholding adult.

Like something Willy Wonka might have dreamed up, this year’s Kidz Field offers up 1.2 hectares of fantastic free entertainment, education and fun for the family. The big top will feature a vast array of theatrical mayhem, ranging from Bodger & Badger to crime-fighting super heroines; peerless puppeteer Prof Panic and, of course, more clowns than you can chuck a pie at. At the Syra circus big top, kids can try all manner of circus-skills workshops, from unicycling to trapeze, and there will be tales aplenty in the story telling marquee. There will also be all manner of arts and crafts workshops plus Facepak’s fantastic face-painting and funky makeovers by the Bindi Crew.

Outside the tents, there are numerous rides and games along with a giant, enchanted climbing castle. Weird and wonderful characters will be out and about and adding to the magic but if it all gets a bit much for younger ones, you can decamp to the safe, staffed Little Kidz area, which has everything from soft play to a karaoke stage and a pirate ship. The fun extends way beyond the Kidz Field. The green fields have their own kids area with children’s performance marquee; countless arts and crafts activities; a daily programme of theatre, clowning, puppetry and circus shows; skateboard ramp and a superb rainbow warrior climbing frame. The TP field will have loads going on for kids too; likewise, the theatre and circus fields are a must. There are still tickets available for this year’s festival, which starts on June 27. So if you are looking for something truly out of the ordinary to do next weekend then dig the tent out of the shed, grab the kids and head to Pilton. Imagine how they will feel waking up each morning to find that they really have run away and joined one enormous circus.

check over here Abigail Flanagan, The Guardian

The REAL Glastonbury

“Whhheeeeee,” squeals the little girl with delight as she zips off the end of the helter skelter. “Again, again,” she pleads to her father, tugging his hand, in which is discreetly cupped a marijuana “joint”.

A few yards away, in the Big Top, about 50 children are listening in rapt silence to Goffee the Clown.

The Glastonbury Festival may be best known for its music, mud and drug-induced madness but more and more it is becoming a holiday destination for the children.

Sitting outside the Big Top, in the Kidz Field – 12-acres of fenced-off activities – is Gary Cooper, his partner, Ali Howarth, and two of the five children – Josh, 13, and Liam, five – they have brought.

“We came for the first time last year and it was great,” said Ali. “I was surprised at how much there was here for children. Normally we would go abroad. But this year we decided to make Glastonbury our family holiday.”

In addition to the 112,500 paying adults it is estimated that there are more than 5,000 children at this year’s festival. The exact number is not known because under-12s get in free.

By mid-morning yesterday, the Family Camping enclosure was full, despite having been expanded yet further this year.

“It is one of the largest – if not the largest – free children’s festival in the world,” said Tony Cordy, who has run the Kidz Field for 11 years.

Glastonbury has featured an area for children ever since it started about 30 years ago at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. But in recent years the Kidz Field has expanded dramatically.

“Glastonbury is evolving,” said Cordy. “People who came here 30 years ago as stoned hippies are now coming back – with the children and grandchildren in tow. We’ve even got a girl working here who was born in this field 17 years ago.”

“It’s the best-kept secret in the world,” said Andrew Steer, a designer from Suffolk, who, together with his three children, has been coming to the festival for years.

“Everything a child is into is here. There are no restrictions on time, there is more diversity than with a local fair, and it goes on all day.”

Jugglers and magicians wander the site, keeping children entertained as they queue for some of the more popular activities, and, to minimise the risk of the ground being turned into a mud bath, no vehicles are allowed in the field.

“Every thing on this field has been carried on to it,” said Cordy. “We had 50 people lifting a caravan, to prevent it churning up the ground.”

Most adults were not worried about their children missing school.

“They learn more in four days here than they would at school,” said Jenny, an illustrator, as she stood in the queue for the “Making Things” tent with Ellie, six, and Laurie, 10.

“There’s no television and they learn to make their own entertainment. It gives them a really good grounding and really helps build their confidence.”

Increased security has been a big factor in encouraging families. An 11ft fence encircles the entire site, preventing a repeat of the debacle of 2000, when thousands of gatecrashers caused chaos. There were no reports of robberies yesterday and only 57 recorded crimes – down 21 per cent on last year, said police.

“It’s a lot safer now,” said Mr Steer. “The loss of the traveller element means it’s lost a bit of character, but on the up side you don’t have someone coming up to you trying to sell you acid while you’re with your kids.”

Security in the Kidz Field is particularly stringent. The area is monitored by CCTV cameras, while an army of stewards guard the perimeter. Unaccompanied adults are politely quizzed before being allowed entry.

“We don’t want to turn anybody away. It’s healthy for adults to see children having fun,” said Cordy. “But we’re very aware of who is in this field.”

Dressed in a top hat, ringing a bell, trying to drum up a crowd for Panic Circus’s next show is Chris Panic, a festival veteran. Glastonbury has changed, he says, becoming more gentrified but also more commercial. The falafel stalls have been replaced by cappuccino stands, and mobile phone operators now sponsor the event. There are even cash machines.

“This is an enclave,” he says of the Kidz Field. “We don’t sell anything to children here. We don’t put parents under any pressure.

“Here is where you find the real spirit of Glastonbury.”'178343') Matt Born, The Telegraph


     A Kind Of Magic

THE FIRST TIME I went to Glastonbury, I was 18. I drank a bottle and a half of Malibu a day, ran around barefoot trying to prove my hippy credentials, split openthe sole of my foot on a tent-peg and had the wound washed out with whisky by the drummer from Rolf Harris’s band. I spent the rest of the weekend sitting in the backstage area with a bandaged foot, trying to puncture a giant inflatable MTV logo with my penknife as a Glastonburyesque strike against The Man. The whole point of the festival seemed to be to get outrageously blitzed, and then sober up for the interviews I had arranged by eating as many donuts as possible. This technique failed badly for my interview with Evan Dando from the Lemonheads: at one point I fell over sideways and suggested that we do the rest of the interview “from down here”.
In 1993, I would no sooner have considered taking a child to the festival than I would a collection of Royal Doulton milk jugs, or a cat. For me, Glastonbury was like Naked Lunch, except that the bugs were real. Lying on the floor, unable to walk, covered in donut crumbs, I was having a very adult weekend.

Last year, I took my 18-month-old daughter Dora to Glastonbury. I hesitate to call it the best weekend of her life but it was certainly one of the easiest weekends I’ve ever spent with her. I didn’t have to make a single effort to amuse her — Glastonbury kept her as quiet and occupied as if we were both lying on the sofa at home watching Teletubbies, except that I was also sneaking in watching Coldplay, seeing friends, buying tequila jelly from a lady dressed as a nun, and getting a Reiki massage for £10 while Dora slept in her buggy. Just wandering around kept Dora bug-eyed with amazement. The distant boom of the dance-tents seemed to soothe her. When we snuggled in the same sleeping bag in our tent, she slept more peacefully than she has before or since – it was real Baby Monkey Clinging to the Mummy Monkey stuff. And the things you need with a very small child but so rarely find — somewhere quiet and grassy to sit, snacks that aren’t a packet of Mini Cheddars, a whole field of slides, sandpits, paddling pools and puppets — were only a stroll away from whatever poetry reading or one-man naked protest I was laughing at at the time.

The kids’ field is one of the least known parts of Glastonbury — probably because Radiohead have never played in it — and yet one of the loveliest. Surrounded by a wooden wall that looks like a castle, and with particularly airy views over the Vale of Avalon, the Children’s Field bears out my theory that you can tell which bits of Glastonbury Michael Eavis likes best by their positioning in the valley. The hard-core hippy Green Fields, the Healing Fields, the Tipis and the loony Field of Lost Vagueness all have prime, hillside spots, with plenty of shade, air and, should the weather prove to be unfortunate, drainage. The Dance Tent, the Other Stage and the backstage area, on the other hand — clear running dogs of capitalism — are in blighted spots in nondescript fields which go knee-deep in oomska the second it starts raining. Eavis clearly considers children one of the priorities of the festival.

Lucky children — I suspect there’s not another alternative rock festival in the world that has a children’s library tent.

Of course it all only goes to show how immature I still am, but I was stunned to discover, during my last two, sober Glastonburys, that previously — off my face, running around in a big gang, trying to find the legendary “Crack Shack” at 3 am — I wasn’t engaging with the real Glastonbury spirit at all. Before I got pregnant, I’d rather thought my most triumphal Glastonbury moment had been when I smoked a cigarette like a gangster and took a hearty drag from my whisky hip-flask while having an argument with Courtney Love about how to spell the name of the drummer from REM.

Now, I rather suspect that it was Thursday last year, up in the Green Fields, watching the sunset with Dora. She was blowing bubbles with a clay pipe a woman had given us because Dora looked “like a puppy in a dress”, and I was watching a man, dressed as a caterpillar, slowly humping his way across the enclosure. Later, we wandered into the Field of Lost Vagueness, and found a clapboard church where a wedding reception was being held. Dora and I danced in the corner to Come on, Eileen. Dora found a flower growing through the floorboards. We ate a jerk snapper at midnight, and she fell asleep in front of a Ukrainian folk band playing lullabies.

Glastonbury’s most amazing quality isn’t in its hedonism, or its copping-off opportunities, or even the music. You can do all that in any town on any night anywhere in Britain. In fact, if you do go to Glastonbury to get off your face, you end up completely incapable of seeing very much, and you might just as well be at one of the horrible Virgin or Carling festivals.

No, Glastonbury’s magic is in its gentleness, unique among all the events of summer. There’s nowhere else the traffic would stop to watch a toddler trying to put a hat on a dog. It’s a temporary world capital city run by Utopians. What DisneyWorld should be like. Brigadoon with noodles. A place where flowers grow on the dancefloor.

check my site Caitlin Moran, The Times


The Best Part of The Festival

There are two ways you know you’ve entered the Kidz Field. First, a smiling woman in a yellow security vest says “Smile … now!” as you go under the arch into the field. Secondly, there is a sudden outbreak of men of a certain age lying sleeping in the sun, or surreptitiously reading the newspaper.

Any dad will tell you that sleeping men of a certain age, or men reading newspapers in huddled groups, is a sure sign of kids securely at play somewhere nearby. This is the normal behaviour of the exhausted male when his offspring are being entertained by someone else – a chance to catch up on sleep, or the news. While the mothers watch their fledglings indulgently, the men wallow in temporary escape. They could just as easily have called it Dadz Field.

Just past the entrance to the Kidz Field there is a gigantic wall on which kids can paint, under the supervision of someone called “Hugh Jart” (geddit?), and leave messages like “Jack thought Kings of Leon were great” (which is odd, because I don’t think anyone else did), “Black Eyed Peas Rool” and the rather un-Glastonbury “paint over this and you’re dead”.
Once inside the fields, there are a range of activities, including the Animal Train, a “percussive sculpture” which looks like a Dr Seuss vision and which a bunch of kids were banging away on merrily; hopefully, they will show the same impulse the next time they see a Tracey Emin. There is a circus tent offering shows like Dude, Where’s My Teddy Bear, Puck’s Bottom, and Foolhardy Folk, who sound like druids but are in fact “masters of slapstick.” There’s a story-telling tent, and a DJ playing Johnny Cash standing on a trolley painted in ladybird colours.

The overwhelming vibe is middle-class urban. For every hippy parent with locks and tattoos, there are half a dozen sensibly dressed women sitting on sensible picnic rugs with sensible coolboxes. These are women who think that the Kidz Field’s baby yoga must have some merit, and who presumably met their spouses while finding themselves in India. And just as with every ‘country fayre’ in a London park, there is an enormous queue for the facepainting. If you’re not a parent, you won’t understand the fear that a queue for facepainting normally engenders, but the Glastonbury magic had worked its effect. The kids in the queue actually looked like they were willing to wait their turn.

The most impressive thing in the Kidz Field is the crafts tent. This was absolutely crammed with kids making things, drawing things, painting things and modelling things. I don’t know, and forgot to ask, what the qualifications of the people doing these things with the kids were, but the general description ‘miracle worker’ might be appropriate. Call it the Glastonbury vibe, call it the ley lines, call it whatever you want – but for that many kids to be occupied in a meaningful way, something magical must have happened. It certainly wasn’t the national curriculum.

We left the Kidz Field feeling spiritually refreshed. The dads still slumbered quietly, the mums put things in and took things out of picnic boxes, the children played merrily. Outside, the Valkyries were riding out of the Pyramid stage, presumably on their way to get their faces painted.

Lloyd Shepherd, The Guardian