Our trip to Beacons Festival

Last weekend we went to Beacons festival, based near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales. The line-up was good, Toots and the Maytals, Mount Kimbe, Wild Beasts and Roots Manuva to name but a few.
We were lucky enough to get residents tickets and planned on camping from the Thursday night until the Monday morning.

On the Beacons website it sounded fantastic, "At Beacons you will find a range of activities and amenities catering to families and children, all within an intimately sized green-field site. You can expect a clean and secure festival arena, a friendly family campsite with flushable toilets and baby-changing facilities, and a trolly service to help get you and your troupe to and from the festival car park... we also have a range of areas, workshops and attractions specifically for children: make sure you check out the kids and parents breakfast club, our fully sectioned kids area with CRB approved staff, and the fancy dress games, parades and kids cabaret organised by the Ladybird Project."

In reality, whilst there was family camping on the map of the campsite, there was no area sectioned off and, as such, families were scattered all over the place. My tent was pretty much the first up on Thursday lunchtime in the area we were directed to by stewards and the one marked on the map as the family area. We left our tent and when we came back someone had pitched up so close to us that we couldn't get in the door! There was no trolly service. I wasn't even allowed to park near the gates so I could lug the tent, travel cot, sleeping stuff etc.

I am incredibly pleased to say that we decided not to camp! We left the tent up and came home (we live a few miles away). The next morning I met many shattered parents who hadn't slept. The music had stopped at 3am and the campsite noise had stopped at 6am, just as their children woke up. The parents I spoke to were unfortunately leaving early. They said that they would even have paid extra just to have a family camping area separate from the rest of the campsite. We went back every day and used our tent during the day but it felt good to have got some sleep!My husband stayed over and camped on the Saturday night. He had a brilliant time. I did speak to a parent who had camped in the artists section and she had not experience any of the problems the other parents had done. Likewise with those staying in campervans, the areas for vehicles were well organised and laid out.

Within one afternoon, the campsite was dirty, very dirty. Beer cans and used condoms strewn around the main walkways. I had to keep a very close eye on the children as I was scared they might fall and cut themselves. We couldn't let them just play outside our tent because we didn't know what they might pick up. The toilets were disgusting. I am so, so glad that we took the potty. I am not ashamed to admit that even I used the potty (trust me, it was far preferable to the toilets).

The kids breakfast club was brilliant. The staff were fantastic and they entertained the older children brilliantly. There was not a lot to do for children between two and five but the shadow puppet workshop was great. Inside the ladybird tent were many different activities, again mainly aimed at older children but younger ones could also get involved. However, I wasn't at all impressed by a woman, who appeared to be working there, proceeding to smoke a spliff in the doorway of the only entrance to the tent.

In spite of all of this, we had a good time. My children had a wonderful time splashing about in mud and gaining some independence. The actual festival site was clear of litter and the children could play. There was a good amount of music during the day and we all enjoyed listening to different bands. The food available was brilliant. There was a great range of food and it wasn't too expensive.

This is is a new festival and I am sure that they will iron out these problems for next year. Either that or they will choose not to appeal to families at all. I certainly think that we will all go next year but unless things change, we will be doing the same again and not camping!

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything for writing this review and was not asked to write it.