You heard it was ‘kid-friendly’.
You wanted to expose the little ones to a bit of culture
You simply didn't buy into the notion that being a parent should limit your party time.
All your friends were doing the same thing.
And hey, there was even a family campsite. How bad could this thing be?
Sure, it might have seemed like taking your kids to Electric Picnic would be a perfectly good idea – but seriously, how much cop-on does it take to realise that was never going to be the case?
I’ve done my fair share of festivals – both legal and illegal – but as a parent with a young family, my partying is now limited to the odd night, with the kids being looked after elsewhere. You know. Like parenting is supposed to work.
So maybe I’m a hardliner, but when I heard that EP was ‘kid-friendly’ and saw pics of kids at the festival with ear protectors on, it didn’t actually occur to me at any point that people would buy into this sell.
I mean, maybe when it was a boutique festival it was able to pull off that family vibe. But you don’t need to be a seasoned festival pro to have heard this event has exploded over the last 10 years from its cutesy origins, to a 60k-capacity behemoth that’s absorbed a lot of what one might term ‘the Oxegen demographic’.
And yet, seemingly some people haven’t got the memo.
There were people off their faces everywhere – it was fairly evident that people were smoking weed, boozing heavily and partying hard
So as I strolled around EP over the weekend, it made me mad. Really fucking mad. Mad to the point where I was tempted to go up to people with buggies – buggies! – and tell them to wake up to reality.
Am I being an old-fashioned prudish fart? No. Here’s why:
- Most sponsors are alcohol brands, who can’t spend their money anywhere else so they blow it all on installations at EP. There are rules to protect under-18s from this kind of thing on telly, radio, even online… but throw them into a field full of boozed-up people and booze logos, and it’s all fair game? Come on.
- There were people off their faces everywhere – it was fairly evident that people were smoking weed, boozing heavily and partying hard. I didn’t see any class As consumed, but I had my suspicions. All that's fine, it's a festival after all – but it stops being fine very quickly once there are kids around.
- It’s pretty fucking loud – it’s a concert at the end of the day, but not just at the main stage. Every bar and hangout area is shoving music down your ears. Impossible to avoid.
- It’s not buggy friendly. To put it mildly.
- You’re not going to have a good time! I’m a parent, and my priority is my kids’ safety. I wouldn’t be able to have a drink, let my hair down and party if my kids are there – the only way this can work is leaving the kids at home.
- Nobody else is going to have a good time. It’s a bit of a buzzkill when you’re conscious of setting a good example for the children of bad parents.
I love spending my weekend with my children, and I can understand why others want to do the same.
Maybe going with your 15-year-old to show you’re cool and have a bit of a bonding experience with them would be okay, if you’ve made a call as a parent that they’re ready for it.
But a five-year-old?
Call me a prude if you like, but the EP I was at over the weekend was not a place for children – so if you’re thinking of buying early birds for next year, don’t buy into the kid-friendly marketing, or tales of family fun.
Don’t be a moron – leave the kids at home.