Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare
Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare

Holly O'Neill

This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million
This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million

Megan Burns

Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings
Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings

Lizzie Gore-Grimes

With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of Mink Hand and Foot Spa on mastering multitasking
With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of...

Lauren Heskin

Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids
Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids

Geraldine Carton

Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer
Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer

Sarah Finnan

Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend
Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend

Holly O'Neill

What to do when your boss is a bully
What to do when your boss is a bully

Colette Sexton

Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West Cork
Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West...

Sarah Finnan

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

Why children don’t belong at Irish music festivals


by Louise Bruton
08th Aug 2019

Shot of a little boy sitting and looking up at the camera with protective headphones over his ears at a music festival. getty images

blank

Shot of a little boy sitting and looking up at the camera with protective headphones over his ears at a music festival

‘All Together Now’ reminded me of one important thing: music festivals are playgrounds for adults, not kids


While music festivals are a place for childish behaviour, they are not a place for children. Over the past 10 years, music festivals in Ireland have morphed driven by the view that a festival is a space for everybody, from teeny tots to octogenarians and music lovers to people who are happy to play in bumper cars all day without seeing a single act. But the harsh reality is that music festivals, even if they come equipped with high-end children’s areas, are not for everyone and it’s time we found the proper divide.

This isn’t an article on parent shaming. It’s an article on festival organisers trying to achieve too much with their events, leading parents to bring their kids for weekend of camping in an environment that immediately becomes unsuitable once night-time falls.

Most festivals this summer promote incredible children’s areas, with Body & Soul, Electric Picnic and All Together Now topping the pile with high quality facilities. Dedicated areas with entertainment, child-friendly music and games are available each day of the event. Each  festival has designated family camping area, ensuring everyone can have a good night’s sleep without overhearing their neighbours stumbling home at 6am or hearing them talk pony all night long. And let’s be honest,  people tend to talk a lot of pony in the early hours of a festival.

All Together Now

At All Together Now over the August Bank Holiday weekend, I saw three miserable children under the age of 10 wearing their protective headphones and sitting on the wet ground as their parents danced away to Jon Hopkins.

One friend spotted people tripping over a buggy that nobody could see.  I saw parents shushing their children when they were bored at Ólafur Arnalds. Even if there are Ferris wheels, ice cream trucks and woodlands for children to play in during the day, when darkness falls, a festival becomes a different place altogether, as people getting drunker and some taking drugs. When masses of people are making their way from one stage to another, it’s difficult to see small ones and it seems that surely they run the risk getting separated from their parents and potentially getting lost.

“You can’t really take that break if you have to play the strict parent.”

I can understand the appeal of parents wanting to share the experience of music festival with their children. Maybe they want to offer their offspring a glimpse of how they spent their teen years and their 20s and 30s. When childcare is so expensive, it can make more sense to bring the kids with you instead of shelling out loads of cash for a minder.

Extra challenges

However, music festivals are a place to take a break from reality. And you can’t really take that break if you have to play the strict parent. I saw a mother giving out to her daughter one morning, saying that “she has to behave herself when she brushes her teeth in public” when all she was doing was spitting in the grass because she couldn’t reach the sink.

To me, it seems unfair to scold a child for doing something you wouldn’t have to give out to them about in the real world. It also feels like an added pressure to be a parent who can balance it all.

“Children aren’t allowed in Irish pubs from 9pm, so why don’t the same rules don’t apply here?”

If you can take the break, embrace it. Why create extra challenges for yourself?

I posted a hyperbolic statement on Twitter, saying that I didn’t know if All Together Now made me anti-kids, anti-parents or both and the replies I received were mostly from people in agreement. The conversation turned to music festivals in general, with one parent saying that she brought her son to Beatyard and he hated the noise, the toilets, the drunk people and the number of people smoking.

Another parent brought his young son to the same festival and had a great time seeing his son dance to different kinds of music but he left early, saying that “there’s a cut-off point” for kids at festivals.

Irish pubs

Children aren’t allowed in Irish pubs from 9pm onwards so when people are drinking all day long for three days straight at a music festival, I don’t understand why the same rules don’t apply here.

Keeping children out of pubs at night is a safety and a cultural consideration that festivals and parents who want to bring their kids to festivals need to take on board. Would you let your kids hang around Camden Street at midnight on any given night of the week?

While the children’s areas in the mainstream festivals are incredible, the overall nature of music festivals – loud music, large crowds, all day drinking, late-night partying and non-discrete drug-taking –  is not suitable for children.

Family festivals

Music festivals with children’s areas work until a certain point in the evening but if you want to full family experience, there are festivals in Ireland that are marketed specifically as family festivals, such as Kaleidoscope and Bray’s Groovefest.

They offer live music and a safe environment for children to run around in. Ireland has a music festival for almost every occasion. Every music festival in Ireland cannot be a one-stop-shop for all.

People can enjoy music at any stage in their life but music festivals are playgrounds for adults, not kids.

Featured image by Getty Images


Read more: Iconic music festival performances

Read more: Festival favourites for a first-timer

Read more: Why music festivals need to be more female-friendly

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Quite interesting’: Princess Anne comments on The Crown

We’ve all heard that the royal family don’t exactly gather round to watch The Crown, but one member has shared...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
BREAKING STORIES
Supermodel Naomi Campbell becomes a mum at 50

The first-time mum shared the news on social media today.   Supermodel Naomi Campbell has announced that she has become a mother....

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
Laura Whitmore’s baby name retaliation is about so much more than double standards

The Love Island presenter has divided social media after she singled out a journalist trying to confirm the name of...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
The life-changing act of binning all your terrible underwear

A life of wearing the wrong underwear had Sophie White’s knickers in a twist. She reports on the unexpected satisfaction...

By Sophie White

blank
EDITORIAL
You don’t have to love football to have been affected by the tragic scenes at the Finland Denmark game

There were heartbreaking scenes as footballer Christian Eriksen was given CPR at the European Championship game Questions have been raised...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane