BAM Family Festival Guide 2017

Pre-kids, music festivals were hands down the highlight of our year. From getting GCSE results at Reading Festival, to badge making stalls at Secret Garden Party, not a summer has gone by where we haven’t bust out the tent and sparkles and braved the mud / dust / torrential rain / blazing sunshine.

Nowadays it can seem like a daunting prospect but that urge to stomp around a field hasn’t left us so we’ve put together a little guide to festivals within easy reach of Bristol. Limited to a 1.5 hour drive from town, these are all family friendly festivals that are close enough to Bristol so that, if the weather’s shocking, pegging it home and returning the next day are always an option.

If you haven’t been to a festival with kids before, take a look at This is Ladyland’s fantastic guide to packing for a festival with kids.

So, in date order…

19-20 May 2017
Featuring: Molotov Jukebox, DJ Cheeba, Circe’s Diner
Blackborough, Devon
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
This ‘little festival with a big heart’ showcases local talent alongside national acts and promises lots for the kids including a forest school, story telling, graffiti workshops and craft workshops. Arrive Friday lunch and head off after breakfast on Sunday – the perfect length for anyone with younger nippers. Adults £30, Kids £10, under 2s FREE (tent pitch £30)

25 – 28 May 2017
Featuring: Skunk Anansie, Seasick Steve & Madness
Catton Hall, South Derbyshire
2 hours from Bristol
Yes, this one is just outside our 1.5 hour zone but as Winner of Best Family Festival at UK Festival Awards 2016, we had to include it! As well as an actual school so the kids aren’t bunking off, there’s a village green area with puppet shows, ukulele jams, family yoga, sing-a-longs, DJ workshops, art workshops, a craft tent and a baby area. This year’s theme is also one of the best we’ve come across… Mobsters & Lobsters! Worth that extra little schlep! Adults £110, Teens £60, Kids £25, under 7s FREE

2 – 4 June 2017
Featuring: Buzzcocks, Levellers, Billy Bragg
Cheltenham Racecourse
50 mins from Bristol
As well as entertainment such as magic, puppets, there are a dazzling array of workshops on offer including screen printing, junk percussion, knitting, willow, craft and experimental music! Adult £165, Teen £70, Kid £27.50, under 5s FREE

29 June – 2 July 2017
Featuring: Tom Odell, James Vincent McMorrow
Over, Gloucester
40 mins from Bristol
This small festival is located on a farm so children can get up close to all the animals including ostriches. The music is the main event here but there are also lots of food and craft stalls. Adult £110, under 10s FREE

27 – 30 July 2017
Featuring: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Benjamin Zephaniah & The Revolutionary Minds, Goat
Charlton Park, Wiltshire
45 mins from Bristol
Circus area, puppet making, story telling, a musical playground, climbing wall and other adventure activities are just some of the family friendly WOMAD offerings. Adults £175, Teens, £85, under 14s FREE

28-29 July 2017
Featuring: Roots Manuva, DJ Yoda, Melt Yourself Down, Nightmares on Wax
Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Somerset
1 hour 5 mins from Bristol
Farmfest is a lovely small festival that packs a lot in! Located in beautiful Bruton there are some top acts playing as well as lots for the littles including kung fu classes, hat making, botanical print workshop, graffiti workshop with Graft, kid’s yoga, magic show, craft sessions, story telling, dance classes and more. Another Friday lunchtime – Sunday morning affair, this is a great shout for Bristol families. Adult £85, Teen £63, under 13s FREE

2 – 6 August 2017
Barton Hill Farm, Monnow Valley
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
This one is a bit different! Forest school, den buidling, art workshops, adult fitness fun, animal orienteering, family raves, fancy dress discos, live music from Boudica Boogaloo, a talent show, woodland playground and, best of all, our pals Let’s Make Art will be doing art workshops. Starry Skies aims to give a family holiday experience that doesn’t leave the parents needing another holiday to recover! Adults £130, Kids £40, under 5s FREE.

3 – 6 August 2017
Featuring: Grace Jones, Bonobo, Toots & the Metals
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire
1 hour 20 mins from Bristol
Part music festival, part food fair, Wilderness is the definition of boutique family festival! Cricket matches, story telling, theatre, craft sessions, floristry workshops, yoga, cartooning and our personal highlight ‘Pimp Your Pineapple’! There’s even a nannying service so you can go off and enjoy the festival and pretend you’re in your 20s and child free for a few hours! Adults £180, Teens £120, Junior £40, Child £7

Valleyfest is idyllic. Not only is it completely beautiful up there, the festival is arranged in such a way that you feel as if it’s enclosing you and your family in a huge circle of fun and togetherness. Considering it’s a bus ride from Bristol, it’d be a great shame to miss out! – The Bristol Parent

4-6 August 2017
Featuring: This Is The Kit, Smerins Anti-Social Club
Chew Valley Lake
31 mins from Bristol
Just a hop away from Bristol, Valley Fest is somewhere the kids can run wild. No firm details at the moment but there is lots promised. And with a glowing recommendation from none other that The Bristol Parent, it must be good! Adult £110, Teen £40, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

17-20 August 2017
Featuring: PJ Harvey, Roni Size, Future Islands, Kate Tempest
Brecon Beacons, Wales
1 hour 10 mins from Bristol
One of the bigger ones on the list but so much for families to look forward to. Again, family line up is still to be confirmed but the kids area caters for little adventurers as well as older kids and there’ll be a cosmic parade! Adult £180, Kids £20, under 5s FREE

31 August – 3 September 2017
Featuring: Father John Misty, Romare, Mac DeMarco
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
1 hour 30 mins from Bristol
Again, information on kids activities not yet announced but previous years have included painting, drawing and animation classes alongside circus tricks, songwriting sessions, yoga and origami. Adult £189, Teen £145, Kids £70, Toddler £40, under 2s FREE

Happy festival season!

💥 BAM 💥

This guide is intended purely as recommendations and the events aren’t affiliated with us. If you think there are others we should include, please get in touch!

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