The Big Retreat Wales
We arrived with friends and family and a lot of ‘stuff’ to camp for three nights. Straight away we were made to feel at home with trailers on hand to transport our bags (and the kitchen sink) to the campsite, which isn’t far, but with three little ones in tow and on a boiling hot day it was very welcome. We pitched up pretty quickly and headed for the action. And wow, we were met by the view – it’s amazing! Restorative, rejuvenating and best of all puts everything into perspective. With a glass of wine in our hands we knew this was going to be a weekend to relax and have fun with the children. And that’s exactly what we did. We took part in loads of activities, which were all free, from wood carving to learning a new song and singing on stage to yoga and chocolate making. Come the evening we all really enjoyed the music and the delicious food on offer. Giovanni handing out samples after his cooking demonstration was a real added bonus! After smiling and laughing all weekend and making so many special memories, we’ll definitely be back. The King family
Pembrokeshire, 25–28 May 2018
The Green Gathering
A festival for the green-hearted, The Green Gathering brings us low-impact, chilled-out living. This was my pre-teen daughter’s first festival, and I loved seeing her relax and just be herself in a safe environment where nobody judged her. It was wonderful watching my children get along as they chased giant bubbles down a hill while my fiancé and I relaxed on the grass, vibrations from Sika’s didj lingering in the air.
Although there was a lovely children’s area, what struck me more was that every part of the site was inclusive for families. The children took part in the same activities as us, save the talks in the Campaigns area. They felt welcome everywhere, and for me that is the mark of a good festival. It put us all at ease. The wind howled and the thunder roared, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time. The food, the music and being around decent people who care for our planet was wonderful. Rhian’s first time at a festival was a massive success. The food was amazing and there was something for everyone. Will we be going back to The Green Gathering in 2018? Just try and stop us! Lauren James
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Chepstow, 2–5 August 2018
Valley Fest is held off a little road in Chew Magna, just south of Bristol, up a dirt track. Here lies Luke’s farm, the setting for this excellent family-orientated festival that sells itself on good food, good music, lush views and loads of glittering entertainment where children run wild. It does not disappoint.
The fun begins with a tractor ride up the hill to the campsite, so no need to lug your things through field upon field. Then you are immediately hit by Valley Fest’s epic setting, perched on the hill above Chew Valley Lake, with stunning views stretching out towards the valley. The tipis, food tents, stalls and stages are arranged around the top of the hill, providing views from every corner of the festival. What struck me about the festival was how it manages to have such a lovely intimate feel but is able to cater to so many people of all ages and interests. There were groups with children and families enjoying the space to run around or taking part in the many workshops, happily rubbing shoulders with friends sitting on hay bales enjoying (several) pints of cider. Weleda’s Wellbeing treatment tent provided a blissful sanctuary for one of their skin food facials, rejuvenating me for the evening’s partying. If you’re into your food, there are many treats on offer, with a heavy emphasis on organic and locally sourced produce; there were not enough meals in the day to sample everything! It is a festival with a definite feel-good atmosphere: watching the sun set across the valley with glitter on my face and a pint in hand was a very happy place to be. Rosalind Howard
Somerset, 3–5 August 2018
If you like science or space, Solarsphere is the festival for you! In fact, this is easily the most family-friendly festival I’ve been to, with parking right next to where you pitch your tent, and actual flushing toilets, as the festival is mostly held in a barn indoors. I liked the numerous free resources for children, the varied activities and science talks, the planetarium dome, and the many enthusiasts keen to talk about space. We took part in a Science Ceilidh, which was masses of fun, and enjoyed live music throughout the festival. I liked it so much that I’ll be running a workshop at this year’s festival. Come along and join in! Zion Lights
Wales, 10–13 August 2018
Attending this festival is my favourite time of year; it passes in a blur of colour, noise, rain and mud. This year my 13-, 11- and 3-year-old embraced it fully – my usually tech-driven children gave up their phones and tablets for a few days of family time in the most incredible place on Earth. The 1-year-old loved the colours and noise and slept better than ever after days of fresh air and rain-filled nights lulling him to sleep.
No matter the weather, there is always something to do at Barefoot. Whether you like getting creative, enjoying a massage, soaking in a hot tub, getting bendy in yoga or dancing the night away, Barefoot has it all and more, with added sparkle on top. All my children loved getting muddy, taking part in colour runs, creating an interactive Dragon, which we paraded round the festival, joining in yoga classes, getting their faces painted and as always browsing the many stalls that share their beautiful goods at Barefoot. From the family fallouts while pitching our canvas mansion, daily dispute over chores and the trudge to the loos (which were much cleaner this year) to the beautiful lights, infectious beat of the drums and glitter in abundance, we wouldn’t miss Barefoot for a second. Gemma Andrews
Leicestershire, 27–29 July 2018
Tribal Hearts Festival – CANCELLED
This is a family festival with a difference… A retreat where like-minded families come together as one big tribe, for a moment in time. A home where hearts beat in time with the Earth, hands reach out to connect with one another, and our words meet little ears with compassion to nurture. A place that leaves each tribal heart full, soul nourished and spirit uplifted. Tribal Hearts combines many elements of natural living with family life, aiming to support parents in raising a healthy, happy tribe. Like every good festival we have delicious food, entertainment, camping and plenty of fun, but with the added benefit of being able to take something away of value to you and your children. With an emphasis on creativity, play and nature, children are immersed in opportunities to explore and learn, express themselves and gain confidence whilst supporting all areas of development. Workshops include parenting support to enhance your relationships with your children and create peaceful homes, and interactive sessions on healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. This year we have our usual fantastic parenting workshops and family wellbeing sessions, and lots of new exciting additions to the programme, such as a silent disco, a scavenger hunt and a communal picnic on our Sunday Fun-day for campers. Vanessa Howe
Hello Tribal Hearts followers and visitors,
Unfortunately it is with a heavy heart that I write this announcement. Due to ill health I have had to make the difficult decision to cancel Tribal Hearts 2018.
I know this will come as a big disappointment to lots of people, not least myself and all the people who have helped make Tribal Hearts a reality. Please know this is completely out of our control and I am sorry for any inconvenience caused.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Tribal Hearts since it was created in 2015, I feel I have come to know some of you as friends and met so many inspiring parents, beautiful children and wonderful families. At this stage, we cannot be sure what the future holds in terms of the event, so please continue to follow our Facebook page to keep up to date with any future plans.
For now, I wish you all an adventure filled summer and thank you again for being such an amazing, supportive extended tribe of people! I am incredibly sorry that we won’t see you in August, and thank you for your understanding.
Vanessa, Festival Organiser
We’re sending our best wishes to Vanessa and hope to see the return of this brilliant festival in the future.
Timber is an extraordinary new festival that promises an exhilarating weekend for nature-loving families in the heart of the National Forest, one of Britain’s boldest environmental projects. Created by The National Forest Company and Wild Rumpus (award-winning producers of the Just So Festival), Timber celebrates how brilliant forests are for both our personal and societal wellbeing, with families experiencing arboreal-related antics together in a weekend under the stars.
Get involved in a woodland world of arts, crafts and music, including storytelling, aerial acrobatics in the trees and trying your hand at tree climbing, slacklining, leaf and land art. Explore the Museum of the Moon (an incredible seven-metre sculpture), VR experience In the Eyes of the Animal, and The Bewonderment Machine (a magical cycle-powered carousel). Play in a Silver Birch maze and at Hammer & Chisel, a myriad of walkways, dens and secret spaces where you can build your own timberland using pallets, ladders and ropes. Relax together in a woodland library, in Tentsile tents suspended between the boughs and through family yoga and tai chi.
Expect fine food and drink, fire gardens, bonfire bands, torchlight processions and luminous installations that help us see the forest in a new light. Not to mention snuggling up at the cinema when night falls to watch favourite forest films.
Derbyshire, 6–8 July 2018
After such a mind-blowing time the previous year, two slightly anxious parents drove down the tree-lined avenue into the Deer Shed Festival. Was it possible to enjoy something so much, again? Clearly the small people were oblivious, busy bursting with excitement at the prospect of returning.
All anxieties evaporated as our eyes feasted on the myriad of fresh activities and performances. Our ears resonated with live music, across four stages, cleverly curated wherever your mood or tastes take you, as well as the laughter pouring out of the comedy tent.
Whilst the layout was comfortable in its familiarity and freedom – children and adults share equal rights at Deer Shed – the organisers created wonderful new additions, like the Wilderwild. Hidden, off the beaten track, a camouflaged extravaganza of bushcraft, tree-climbing and theatre awaited. My son’s eyes were constantly on stalks – the ‘S’ hook he fashioned at the blacksmith remains a highlight.
My daughter’s highlights aren’t easily condensed. Meeting her favourite author, interactive site art, the spectacular science tent, improv comedy shows and “all the food” received equally rave reviews. As for the parents, it was the chance to share, together, a multitude of new experiences in a free-spirited, family-friendly atmosphere. That and the joy of knowing Deer Shed’s delights are never a one-off! Hannah Webster
North Yorkshire, 20–22 July 2018
It was our first visit to Colourfest and we haven’t stopped talking about it since. It’s now our favourite festival of all times. Full of beautiful people, in a wonderful place that creates an amazing atmosphere and energy. It’s so child friendly and full of amazing workshops led by really inspiring teachers. Our children had a blast and made so many friends.
It’s a beautiful, open-hearted and joyful event that is all about getting involved… I got up one morning for yoga at 7am and the day just flowed, one amazing experience after the other… workshops, people, chilling, dancing, colour everywhere, great food, lovely people!! I was totally entranced by the ancient library and gypsy caravans – I ended up following them home. The adventure continued… almost unbelievable! So great to be part of a heart-centred festival with a great atmosphere and no drinking or drugs. Miranda Dill
Dorset, 31 May – 3 June 2018
Geronimo is a fun-packed family festival with stage shows, area demonstrations, a fairground, crafts, music, donkey rides, physical challenges, and much more. The programme is aimed at children aged 13 and under, but if older children are happy to go with the flow and engage with the little ones it’s a lovely environment to explore. There have been a few venues over the years, some more successful than others. In 2017, for the first time the event was over three days and included the option of camping in the grounds of Arley Hall and Gardens in Cheshire
There were lots of things we loved about the festival and the children had lots of highlights. We loved Mike’s donkeys, the giant tortoise, the trampoline, the giant inflatable, Andy Day and his Mamasaurus rap, Swashbuckle, the Shetland Pony Grand National, the Play Doh tent, the balance bikes, and the train ride on the fairground. We would definitely recommend this festival. If you are looking for a place to make great family memories and where everyone is exhausted in a good way from sheer good fun and laughter, then Geronimo is for you! Charlotte Pearson
Cheshire, 25–28 May 2018
Hertfordshire, 30 June – 1 July 2018
Surya Yoga Camp
Now in its tenth year, Surya Yoga Camp is about getting away, trying new forms of yoga and movement, and finding harmony within yourself and with those around you. It’s a small festival that takes place once a year and welcomes families and single visitors alike. Surya is incredibly lucky to be based at Chyan Cultural Centre, an 11-acre site deep in the Cornish countryside. Ideal for retreats and for returning to nature, some of the land is wild, some is nature reserve, and there is plenty of flat meadow for camping. Chyan has two large, modern barns for classes, plus several marquees.
Cornwall, 25–30 May 2018
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First published in Issue 54 (Spring 2018) of JUNO: