Being parents to a 2 year old toddler, it’s been a good few years since we were part of the festival scene! In fact, we thought those days might be behind us for a long while yet! But then I heard about Festival Number 6 in Portmeirion, not far from us in Manchester, that was ideal for families! So ears pricked, we started to look into it and whether it could really be a possibility with a toddler in tow…
Festival Number 6 Ambassador
Occasionally, my job as a blogger brings about really cool sh*t! Being asked to be a Festival Number 6 Ambassador, was definitely one of those moments where I think of how much I love my job! We were already considering going along, so to be asked to review it and share the love with others, was the perfect decision-maker!
So on the 2nd week of September this year, the hubby and I packed-up the car, with Flo excited by the promise of camping and made our way on the 2.5 hour drive to Portmeirion.
A Truly Beautiful Festival
First things first, Festival Number 6 really has the wow factor as far as appearances are concerned. I mean it’s beautiful! It’s a seaside village, designed by a local architect which makes you feel like you’re in the Italian Riviera. On our first morning there, we were obviously up before most of the festival-goers, having a 2 year-old, so took a stroll whilst it was quiet, to discover our surroundings.
This is what we saw…
I mean, isn’t it quaint! This is Portmeirion Village and only part of Festival Number 6 – just one of the areas to explore! There was also The Woods, the Main Arena (more of what you imagine when you think festival), and the Village Green. It was so cool and because the entertainment, music and food was spread out amongst these areas, nowhere every felt too busy or crowded…which is ideal with a little person who wants to walk or be carried everywhere!
So we decided that because it was the first time we’ve been camping since having a child, that we probably shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves! Therefore we decided to book a tent through Pitch Village which is an area of pre-erected tents! This meant that we could just arrive with our gear and not worry about struggling to erect our own tent (in the inevitable rainy weather!).
THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION OF THE WEEKEND!!
I can’t emphasise enough, that if like us, you’re NOT a seasoned camper and you have at least one child who wants to run off at all times, the Pitch Village is an amazing option. We chose to go for a 4-man tent, as we knew we’d appreciate the extra tent and even ordered mattresses and sleeping bags, so we didn’t have to bring our own. This made the trip (and journey to the tent), much lighter, easier and we could get straight stuck in when we arrived!
The tent, mattresses and sleeping bags looked brand new, were perfectly clean and did the job for us!
TIP: My only critique, which I didn’t realise until after sleeping in it for a night…was that our tent was pitched on a slope. Great for the rain to run off and not puddle, but not great for a good night’s sleep with a child. Me and Flo spent the entire night, slowly slipping down into a heap at the bottom of our tent, so I was constantly waking and shuffling us up! I’ll remember this for future!
Pitch Village also was more spacious than the General Camping, was private (so less tents) and we had our own toilets and hot showers! There was also a portacabin with hair-driers and mirrors and a tent service tea and coffee 24 hours a day. With it’s own security and staff there 24 hours too, I really did feel more secure with Flo!
Camping Must-Haves – The Clothes!
A good pair of wellies!
Mine are from Cath Kidston and Flo’s are from Chipmunks Footwear – they’re called ‘Daisy’ and she LOVES them! They’re designed so well with the loops to pull them on (she enjoys pulling them on herself) and the design is so cute. They were an absolute god-send for the trip and kept her feet dry when the rain set in.
A warm, weather-proof jacket/coat!
Although glorious sunshine on day one, the weather at Festival Number 6 became very wet and therefore quite chilly. I was so glad to have my Regatta Parka Jacket as it kept me warm, dry and was light-weight. It’s even on sale right now!
With a smallish tent, we made the most of the space around us and because we were back at our tent by 8pm each evening, we knew we’d want to be able to sit and not just lie-down! So again, these Regatta Camping Chairs made the world of difference and Flo loved her special shark one! They were lightweight to carry too with handles to make transporting them super easy!
For the little ones of course, as in some areas it does get a bit loud and it means you can go nearer to the stages without worrying. We bought these Banz Kidz Hearing Protection for Flo and they do them in Baby sizes too (Baby Banz) – I thought this design was perfect for a festival too!
Family Fun at Festival Number 6
Obviously, with a 2 year old with us, our focusses and priorities for Festival Number 6 were slightly different to what we have been used to in the past. We couldn’t just be out all night, drinking all day and wandering into mosh-pits…so we had to adjust our expectations slightly and you know what, we were so surprised at just how much we could still do at Festival Number 6.
With lots of stages (some hidden), tents, performance spaces and roaming artists, Festival Number 6 really is perfect for the family, as everywhere you go, there’s something going on! We knew, with a toddler, there was no point in planning ahead too much and although there were lots of amazing performers scheduled, we were quite happy to just roam around and stumble-upon anyone new. This was the best plan of action.
On day 1, with the sun shining, we spotted two deckchairs, down by the swimming pool overlooking the beach and with Flo in a good mood and it not being very busy, we took our opportunity and nabbed them. 15 minutes later, there were bubble machines, Flo was naked running around, Mr Scruff was DJ-ing nearby so we could hear his set and we were eating the most delicious lobster roll! Perfection.
We ended up spending 3 or 4 hours like this, with the hubby disappearing for 15 minutes to get Flo off to sleep in her buggy, before coming back, setting-her up asleep next to me and grabbing a beer. We were feeling particularly smug with ourselves at that point…
Kids and Family Only Areas
What made Festival Number 6 really great for us, was the option to be able to take Flo to the kids tents and Rave-A-Roo in the afternoons. It meant she had some time to see other kids, have a play and explore, in a safe space that wasn’t too busy. They had a few different tents and teepees, with music, dancing and crafts and the staff were fantastic. Even just going in to read a book when it was raining and so she could stretch her legs was a god-send!
We manoeuvred her around in a buggy most of the time, which was totally fine (only a few really muddy areas proved tricky) and then used a little back-pack with reins for the first time, which she loved as it meant she felt free and could explore without the fear of her running off or getting caught-up in crowds.
We ordered this Safety Harness Backpack from Amazon and it was great! Cheap too!
Well it wouldn’t be a HollyGoesLightly post if I didn’t mention the food! If you’re a foodie, Festival Number 6 will not disappoint! There was street-food, breakfasts, BBQs, snacks, desserts and even a little fruit and veg stall. And for those without kids, they have top chefs cooking-up tasting menus in the Castle! This year it was Aiden Byrne and we would have loved to have sampled his 6-course tasting menu, but thought we might be pushing it with a toddler (though they did say she was very welcome!).
In Conclusion…would we go back to Festival Number 6 again?
In short, hell yes! We learned a lot and there’s a few things we’d tweak next year…
- take less clothes! You never wear them and end up in the same things most of the weekend
- don’t pitch tent on a slope
I think we’d also really like to try a Yurt or Teepee next year…just because when it rained, it didn’t get a bit damp by the third day, so I think it’d be nice to be off the group to sleep. If not, we’d definitely book Pitch Village again in a heartbeat.
Til next year Festival Number 6 – we’ll definitely be coming back!
Want to go to Festival Number 6 next year?
Well early bird tickets are now on sale – just click here and be part of the magic too! I’ll be sharing a video of our experience very soon too, so keep your eyes peeled!
And if you have any questions about attending the festival, with or without kids, then please do just ask!