Food, hay bales, helter skelters – Big Feastival review

As regular readers will know our first experience with a tent and a toddler didn’t quite go to plan.  But, how did the actual festival fare?  For anyone who doesn’t know The Big Feastival takes place on Alex James’ farm in Oxfordshire (he of Blur fame and now known for making cheese, as you do) and is a joint venture with the ubiquitous Jamie Oliver.  It is a festival of music and food and is billed as very kid friendly.

After not much sleep on the Friday night thanks to Master ATWWAH and his newfound fear of tents we woke early on Saturday, as did our camping neighbours.  Sorry about that.  Have I mentioned one of the tents that was pitched next to us mysteriously disappeared on the Saturday morning?  No doubt they pitched next to the main stage, much quieter.

I was the only one who went for a shower in our group and the facilities were surprisingly good with a reasonably warm shower.  However I found out the next morning that that was because I was at the showers at 6.30am and if you went any later you were met with a trickle of water and then nothing.  I do think if you’re going to offer shower facilities they should at least work.  I bought breakfast for us all on the way back from a Jamie Oliver branded food stall, possibly one of the most expensive and over-rated breakfasts I’ve ever bought, even inside London.  On the campsite there was only this food stall and a much smaller one with a huge queue as breakfast options, unless you brought your own camp stove.

We headed out to the festival arena which really was very kid friendly.  There is only one music stage which means you don’t have to make decisions about which bands to see.  And a huge kids field with loads to do.  Some of it, like the fun fair, you had to pay for in addition to what you had already paid.  But that doesn’t feel too bad when you consider if your child is there on a day ticket they come in absolutely free and it only cost £15 for kids to camp.  There was a helter skelter, carousel etc as well as a big tent sponsored by Tesco with loads of shows and activities like milking a pretend cow.


The two favourites for Master ATWWAH and my nephew Master W apart from the helter skelter were Adam’s Farm, the guy from Countryfile who has his own farm and brings along petting animals etc, and the Little Truckers section with loads of JCB’s for kids to play on.


No pics please, I’m on a JCB


When we did finally tow the kids away from this field the main arena had loads for them to see.  They weren’t that interested in the music it must be said and forget any concerns about noise levels, it’s not the music you have to worry about but Emma B, the stage host, who literally bellowed her way through the weekend.  Somebody really needed to tell her what the microphone was for.  Master ATWWAH did manage to stay awake for Rizzle Kicks though and sang along to crowd pleaser Mama Do The Hump (I’m not up to date enough to know if that is actually the name of the song!)

Rizzle Kicks

The alternative Rizzle Kicks?

The big hit of the whole weekend for the kids was the trolley we hired from Mr Trolley on site which meant we could wheel them around, even when napping.  It provided them with hours of fun.  At first it felt a bit mean chucking them in the back of the trolley to get around but it meant we didn’t have to carry them when their legs got tired and they absolutely loved it.  One of their favourite things was pulling each other in it and I saw people taking photos of Master ATWWAH pulling the trolley with his cousin in it shouting ‘faster’.  We really need to start a World’s Strongest Toddler competition.  He’d be a favourite for a medal.


The best bit of the festival

We never made it to the chef theatre but there were loads of food demos going on all weekend from Jamie and his friends.  The food offering was diverse but I must admit I was a bit surprised about the lack of kids portions.  All the stalls just sold regular portions so there must have been so much waste and when you factor in that the festival is very much marketed as being family friendly it feels a bit strange that there wouldn’t be specific kids portions.  The favourite food stall for us was the paella one, it was great, and meant we could all share which definitely cut down on waste.  And unsurprisingly with kids the pizza stall was also a big hit.  Bit peculiar there was only one place offering pizza when there were so many kids there.

Highlight of the main stage was probably Justin Fletcher from cbeebies fame who got proceedings kicking off on the Sunday morning with loads of interactive songs getting the kids, and their parents, on their feet.  It was definitely his Glastonbury moment, with an emotional sign off on stage about all his years on kids TV and many profuse thank yous worthy of a Hollywood starlets Oscars speech.

Overall I’d definitely recommend the festival for families although do think a day ticket is probably better than a camping one with very young toddlers.

  1. Looks like you had fun. Never heard of this one. Have to say that I would probably avoid it at all cost though after reading that Justin Fletcher and the dreaded TESCO make an appearance.
    Our kids have grown up at festivals. If you are ever after the low down on any do get in touch and I am happy to help if we’ve been.

    • I know what you mean, it was all a bit sponsor heavy. I always liked Hop Farm for their no sponsorship stance although that is probably the reason they can’t afford to make it work anymore.

      I’ll definitely be in touch about certain festivals early next year. Happy to try another one (after tent practice in the back garden)

  2. I’ve always wondered how child-friendly the family-friendly festivals are in practice so this is really interesting to read.

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