Glastonbury Festival was always something I’d experienced without any attachments. We’d pack our car full with the camping, enough baked beans for a week, cash for cider, a few boxes of wine and off we’d go. We’d normally work the festival, so we could work hard and play hard for a few days of fun in a Somerset field.
The last festival we went to was 2011, the year before I fell pregnant with Lylah. Something happens when you fall pregnant; everything else goes out of your mind, well it did with me anyway. I wouldn’t have considered going to Glastonbury pregnant, what’s the point when you can’t take advantage of the cider bus! I didn’t miss it that year at all, my mind completely occupied with the bundle of joy cooking inside my tummy. Which was good really, as it was cancelled anyway, so I wasn’t able to see the coverage and yearn to be there. The year after was a no go as well; surely Glastonbury with a 6 month old would be too difficult? I started to get jealousy pangs seeing everyone putting their pictures up on social media, and was hoping I might get lucky with a Sunday ticket and an all day babysitter, but it didn’t happen.
2014 was my sister’s wedding year, and with the hen party costs, Glastonbury wasn’t a priority. I had to leave my little angel for 3 days already, I couldn’t do it twice! 2016 saw the birth of Malachy, so once again, an attached breastfeeding baby didn’t fit with my ideal vision of me enjoying a festival. We got tickets in 2016, but decided not to go because of, you guessed it, the children. Malachy was still too young to be left for that long in my eyes, and we couldn’t face it yet. When I saw the mud I was a little smug!
But this year we did it. 2017 saw the return of The Boyds to Pilton, raring to go, after 6 years of missing the best party in the world. However, this year we did it a little differently.
We worked again, and were lucky enough to have our shifts spread across the week from Tuesday to Saturday. Childcare in place, we packed our bags ready to go. This time though, it was just for the one night. Just a light spell of camping for us this week, as we decided to use the luxury of our own homes and comfortable beds between shifts and visits to the site! Oh what a feeling that was! To get home and shower the dirt off before climbing into clean sheets!
After a bit of looking after our children on Thursday, we went in for our next shift. Only to be faced with a dilemma: we weren’t needed! What do we do? Do we ring my parents and let them know, rush home and relieve them of their grandparent duties? Or do we keep quiet, and enjoy the night and lie in the next morning in our bed without the two monkeys climbing in with us? We settled on a compromise; we’d enjoy the festival for a few hours, and collect the children early and take them home, giving mum the night off. After all, it was only Thursday!
We went home again for most of Friday, reprising parental duties, changing nappies, holding back toddler wrestling matches, the usual.
Friday night felt like a bit more freedom ahead of us. We were going in for 2 whole nights away from the kids! We have never done that before, and we sort of did it without thinking too much about it, otherwise it might have upset me too much. The thought of Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters on Saturday night was on my mind, and Chris and I enjoyed an amazingly fun evening, meeting new people, dancing, watching music and eating & drinking. We worked a great shift on Saturday, and enjoyed a raucous Saturday night, getting jumped on at the barrier for The Foo Fighters headlining set! Throughout all these fun and frolics however, my mind often turned to the children, wondering what they were doing, and checking my phone for pictures and videos being sent through from my family. I noticed another thing, everywhere I looked there were children all around us. I’ve always known that Glastonbury is a very child friendly festival, but I never realised just how many children went. I suppose I’d never been that interested before. There were pregnant ladies, newborn babies, toddlers, right up to young children enjoying the festivities in the Kidzfield.
On Sunday morning, we went to collect Lylah to bring her on site for the day. Imagine that, your first Glastonbury experience at 4 years old! She had been so excited in the lead up to it, and I was intrigued about my first Glastonbury experience with a child in tow. Chris had agreed to drive home that evening, so I was still able to drink, but swigging back on a can of Thatchers didn’t seem right in front of my little girl. I still enjoyed the pre mixed G&T’s we’d carefully poured into water bottles after all, this was still my time to relax and enjoy myself, but I couldn’t let go like I had the otter days. And that’s fine, because I want my daughter to feel safe, and most importantly I wanted it to be fun and exciting for her.
We managed to park close to gate A, and so didn’t have much walking to do to get on site, but after 5 minutes, the whines of “my legs are tired” began, and we started to wonder whether this was a good idea! We managed to swiftly get her to the Kidzfield where we met some friends, and she excitedly wanted to go on a waltzer type ride – which she immediately cried at and wanted to get off! After a few cuddles, we found solace in a storytelling tent, at which point Chris and I had to stop ourselves from falling asleep! After meeting a CBeebies heart throb (which my friend and I were the most giddy about!) we went to the Big Top tent to watch some more CBeebies action. As the kids viewed eagerly from the front, and the adults settled down on the floor, we realised at that moment just how much our lives have changed. Out of all the amazing experiences we’d had that week, which there were quite a few of, seeing Lylah’s little face light up at rides, balloons and over enthusiastic TV presenters made our festival.
We had a few moments of distress, mainly surrounding toilet experiences and worrying I might lose her down the long drops, but thankfully the portable potty we’d sensibly packed saved the day. I wonder whether Lylah will remember her wise words “I never ever want to use these toilets ever ever again” when she is enjoying her own festival experiences in her teens!
Seeing her sing along to Ed Sheeran on daddy’s shoulders, on the video I have watched again and again and will continue to watch, was the moment of the whole festival. Her sleepy eyes struggled to stay open for the moment and song she had been waiting for all day, yet she still managed to give me some sass and a smile whilst I was filming her.
Our lives our different now, and the things we do have to change. So we went to Glastonbury, we embraced everything it had to offer and enjoyed every minute, but we did it as a mummy and daddy.