With so many festivals over the summer, from the foodie feasts and parties in the park, you’d be hard-pressed not to find one that will appeal – either close to your doorstep or further afield. Gone are the days where festivals are only appropriate for adults – there are now so many summer family festivals that are suitable for all ages, so it can be a minefield when deciding which one is the best to go to.
For me, the decision is simple and based on whether all family members will get a chance to enjoy, learn and be creative. I’m also not a keen camper, and while I love the idea of experiencing a festival vibe over a long hot sunny weekend, the thought of then having to climb into a tent – even a posh one – with two young kids fills me with dread.
Summer Family Festivals – Boing!
So finding the right balance of being able to go to a family-friendly festival, as well as being able to explore the area in which it is being held, plus being able to sleep with a solid roof over my head is key – and one such festival, held in Canterbury, Kent, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, really hits the mark.
Launched in 2014 with a modest audience of just 2,500, this year is set to be bOing!’s biggest yet, with an expected 15,000 people descending in Kent to enjoy a weekend of arts and entertainment. bOing! is an international family festival run by Gulbenkian, where young and old are most welcome. And what’s so fantastic about it is even though performers and artists come from all over the world, bOing! is free to enter, and not only that, there is also free parking, too, which makes all the difference in being able to arrive and leave without any hassle.
What’s On at boing!?
bOing! showcases the very best in theatre, dance, music, films created for all ages. And while there are plenty of free outdoor performances such as Bill and Bobby dancing in a bath, DJs from The Netherlands making chips as they play some banging tunes, as well as bangra drumming, we’re particularly looking forward to going to several of bOing!’s ticketed indoor events.
While Monkey has never been musical, Peanut loves bopping along to tunes. Not only are we going to a 10-minute dance party, where there is a more relaxed session with lower sound and light level at 2pm, we’re also going to go to La Petita Malumaluga’s Beatles for Babies. My husband is a huge fan and I am hoping we’ll all have a magical experience listening to the famous songs of the Fab Four.
Aside from the musical and dance performances, there are also plenty of creative workshops to enjoy, too, from puppet-making and face-painting to animation and cool science. Monkey is particularly looking forward to building a boat made entirely from paper and cardboard, as well as attending a treasure hunt afterwards. Peanut will also get to play games and listen to stories in the Yurt for Little People.
What I’m most excited about is stepping inside the Luminarium and as the name suggests, we’re in for an illuminating treat when we enter a network of paths and passageways where ‘Islamic architecture and Gothic cathedrals meld into an inspiring monument to the beauty of light and colour.’ The main dome of Katena is said to resemble a pineapple from the exterior, while inside, a Hindu temple.
There are so many shows to immerse yourself in, the hard part is finding enough time to fit them in. However, I will let you know how much we manage to do later on this year…
Things To Know
• bOing! will take place on 25 and 26 August 2018
• Entry into bOing! is free, however, tickets into the indoor events will need to be booked early as many of them will sell out. Tickets cost no more than £6 but the bOing! package means if you buy two tickets or more, you’ll get a discount. Tickets for the festival can be found at www.boingfestival.com or the Gulbenkian Tickets and Information line on 01227 769075
• Parking is free across the whole University campus
• You are most welcome to bring your own picnic to the event. There are also plenty of food offerings including a cafe and street kitchen.
• Cash points are available at the festival
• If possible outdoor events will still take place in the rain, so bring waterproofs!
• Baby changing facilities are available throughout the site
• Pets are welcome
• B&B accommodation is available on the University Kent Campus from just £50
Win tickets to Boing!
If you fancy joining me at bOing! why not pencil it in your diary for the bank holiday weekend? Not only is a great introduction to summer family festivals, but it will be a whole lot of fun. Head over to my FB page, and you’ll get the chance to win a family ticket to the 10 Minute Dance Party and Beatles for Babies. Hope to see you there!
* This post was written in partnership with bOing! and Gulbenkian. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own