Saturday, 2 June 2018

A weekend Festival With Common People In Southampton

Have you ever been to a music festival? When my older daughter Beth was 12, I took her to Glastonbury. It was my first music festival as well as hers, So when Tilly came along a few years later I couldn't wait to offer her the same experience.

Here we are in 2018 and I have just introduced Tilly to her first music festival, she is 8 years old now and although she loves music, she is still very much a baby. I chose to go to Common People in Southampton because it was organised by the brilliant team behind Camp Bestival, the biggest kids festival in England. The festival is a 2-day festival and they had another one in Oxford alongside this one, but its a festival with a difference, because there was no camping! We stayed in an Airbnb, which meant we had access to showers and a decent bed.

Common People took place on Southampton Common and it was really easy to get to, from the train station and public transport stopped outside the festival. There was a very organised entry system with security checking bags for prohibited things and ensuring everyone had a valid ticket. You couldn't take your own food or drinks into the festival, but you could take your own water in as long as it was sealed. Once you were inside, you could refill your water bottle from a tap of fresh drinking water that was checked every day.

There were quite a few different food stalls to eat from, meaning a few different varieties of food from mac and cheese, burger and chips to pasties made from the farmers market. But there were never huge queues at the food stands which was good because I hate queuing. The wide selection of food was great for Tilly too as she can be a picky eater.

The music played throughout the day, starting with Southampton based bands adding the local touch to the festival and a great opportunity for up and coming local bands. As the day went on the drinks flowed, the sun shone and the music played, it was a brilliant atmosphere. On Saturday, we watched All Saints, James, The Sherlocks, The Sparks as well as the festival being closed with Lily Allen, who gave a fab performance and then at the end of her set, she had time to stop and have a picture taken with Tilly.

On Sunday, again the sun shone and we arrived at the festival ready to soak up the music again, but first I had promised Tilly that we would spend some time in the kid's section of the festival. This was a corner that had a huge sandpit inside a pirate ship built of wood, this brought the holiday feel to the festival, and there was also a circus tent where the kids could try out tightrope walking, juggling, Diablo, climbing on giant bouncy balls but they could also sit and watch a magic show and a circus show. This was really popular with the kids, especially with the popularity of The Greatest Showman at the moment and all of the kids suddenly wanting to be circus entertainers.

The music theme on Sunday was dance and disco, the music spanned 40 years with the djing skills of Jaguar Skills to the disco music of Boney M. There was a big variety to satisfy everyone that was there, the night finished with The Jacksons, but sadly we had to leave before they came on.

As well as the Common stage, there was also other stages where you could listen to DJs and even enjoy a little kids festival called Big Fish Little Fish. So you could take a seat in the sun and just listen to the music as you chatted to friends and family.

The atmosphere was great, everybody spoke to everybody and it was a fabulous first music festival to take Tilly to. There was no trouble, there were no fights and it was a really fun and pleasant place to be. As soon as the festival had finished and we were heading home, Tilly asked me 'Where are we going next?'

My recommendation is to take your kids to this as their first music festival experience, there was a fair bit of swearing coming from the stage, but if you do choose to take your child to a festival, then this is to be expected. It didn't bother me at all because kids hear swearing in the streets all the time - and its usually worse words! The price was affordable, there was something for everyone to do and it was safe enough to let the kids run off to the kids part, whilst you watch the bands. Take a blanket and make a day of it.

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