Tuesday, 5 August 2014


So Glastonbury’s out, then. Latitude is not going to happen. It is the end of the road for plans to attend the End Of The Road festival. I’ll be folked if we can manage Cambridge. We are not going to be the family that shares when it comes to live music in a field. We’re not going to be the klaxon-voiced poshos wearing wellies, taking Jocasta and Sebastian for a kids’ Reiki massage in the family healing area on our way to have a bop to Mumford & Sons before retiring to our yurt. Thank God.

In case you’re wondering, we tried our first Kids In Tow Festival on Saturday. A friend of mine, Twang, was playing in a band at Rhythms Of The World, in Hitchin, a little town not far away from our little town. It seemed like a great, small scale, family-friendly event to try out with the kids and see if they would get the live music bug.

Food and snacks were planned in military style as usual. The picnic was consumed as soon as we got through the gates. We clocked where the majority of food stalls were so when we pitched our rug we weren’t too close to tempting smells. These are all Prader-Willi Syndrome requirements when in unfamiliar territory.

My daughter - whose PWS manifests in many ways, one being not liking loud noises - donned a pair of ear defenders as soon as we got within 40 feet of a stage. (You know what I mean by ear defenders - those headphone-like things like you see clamped to the heads of celebrity babies with fruit-based names when the camera zooms in on them at televised festivals. Just like that). We headed to the Arcadecletic Stage (easier to find than it was to pronounce) to see Twang’s band, Beau Jangles, a bluegrassy/folky duo. My girl sat and listened, fascinated to see Twang singing and playing guitar just in front of us “like a proper pop star, but not as good as One Direction”. Her brother, teaming up with Twang Junior and assorted mates, tipped back his hat, had a little listen, and got bored after three songs, only perking up when he learned how to shin up a tentpole. He never got over his initial disappointment that Twang didn’t enter the stage astride his motorbike. I don’t know why he thought this was going to happen. He’s not Meatloaf, for Steinman’s sake. 

“Well, I wonder who we’ll see next?” I said to Ear Defender Girl. “Oh, no-one,” she replied. “That was good, and now I don’t have to listen to any more bands because I’ve seen that one.”

So we picnicked, pottered about some stalls, had a smoothie (made, rather marvellously, in the back of an adapted fire engine), and generally avoided going anywhere too close to actual music, until I persuaded my boy to come to the main stage with the rest of the Mini Peaky Blinders to jump about a bit to the fiddle-fuelled sounds of the lively CC Smugglers.

We lasted about three hours, and headed home just as the rain started to fall. I would have loved to have stayed and heard a ton more live music, but the kids had reached their limit. My daughter pronounced it “good fun, Mummy, if there weren’t so many bands.” My son could only come up with “hairy butt face” as a comment, and no, I have no idea if this is good or bad.

So, Hitchin Rhythms Of The World, you fun, hairy butt face of a festival, we will be back. I’m just not entirely sure if we’ll bring the kids next time.

Video is Adam Buxton - Festival Song

Thank you so much to Twang, Jan, and Ben, for providing us with a parking slot, good company, football/pole-climbing/piggy-backing/instant friendship services.

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