As a Mama of teens, I was recently invited to blog about my experience at Southampton’s family festival ‘Common People’. As a former resident of the city and follower of the superstar DJ Mr Pete Tong, I of course jumped at the chance!
So on Saturday 27th May, my Mum friends and I joined 30,000 revelers on Southampton Common, totally over excited to see Pete Tong play his Ibiza Classics with the Heritage Orchestra. Other artists were on stage throughout the day, such as Becky Hill and Tom Odell, who we saw, but for us old-school party Mamas, we were purely there for the dance music, which kicked off with Faithless’ very own Sister Bliss DJ set.
A new festival on me, Common People is a small and intimate festival, with a Bestival vibe at its core, thanks to its curator Rob da Bank. For those of you who haven’t been before, CP is a two day family friendly festival, which stops at 11pm each night. As it’s in the centre of the City there is no camping, but it’s just a short journey/walk back home or to a local hotel/B&B. A tip for the wise pre-order transport if that’s possible, as hailing or queuing for a taxi with 30,000 can’t be fun. Luckily for us, we had friends living close by, so we carried on back at theirs until the crowds had ebbed away.
Anyway, I digress, getting back to the day time; we were thankful the sun stayed to party with us, despite a few cloudy spells, we remained dry and weren’t at risk of sunburn, so all in all perfect weather conditions, which was a good job really seeing as some of us were dressed for Coachella in our festival staples of shorts and kimonos (much to our children’s horror, particularly as we applied our glitter and bindi tattoos, as if we were 17 again).
Speaking of fashion, unlike the other Bestival events this one doesn’t have a fancy dress theme, so the attire was varied, highlight for me would have to be the full-length sequin robe, you could see that girl for miles; like a walking disco ball. However my kids would have disowned me should I have taken my festi dressing to this extreme!
So after grabbing a rather delicious Old Cuban at the Jam Jar bar, we had a little dance around the Sugar skull bus, briefly visited the enchanting children’s area but as we were sans kids we quickly scarpered to enjoy our gloriously rare day off from child care (after all we were out out!!!).
The children’s area is a great addition to a festival, to keep the children entertained in between watching your chosen acts and a lovely dedicated space should the main festival (although perfect in size) be too much for younger kids.
In true Bestival style, the food selection was wonderfully diverse. Of course, there were burger bars for the less adventurous among us, however you would’ve been taken aback when perusing the menu board of the ‘Kitch Chargrill’ as it was filled with Zebra, Kangaroo and Wild boar burgers! For the carb-lovers looking to line their tummies there was the ‘Chunky Chips and Wicked Dips’ stall, or the ‘Tenth Hole to Go’ selling Mac n Cheese with a wide variety of toppings. The choice as they say was endless, plenty to keep both the fussiest and adventurous in any family catered for.
We ended our site tour just as the sun started to go down, and made a beeline for the front of the stage, to settle in and watch the global ambassador of dance music, Pete Tong. Queue bright lasers, a cheering crescendo, and the first few bars of Fat Boy Slim’s instantly recognisable ‘right here, right now’ and suddenly you have a 30k strong crowd with their hand flying as high as the now iconic festival flags.
If I were to sum up Common People, I would say it’s a great starter Festival to take young kids and early teens to. The crowds are small and friendly (no-one under 18 is allowed entrance without being accompanied by an adult), it’s finishes at a nice early time, it’s local and is very reasonably priced at approx. £30 per ticket. If you haven’t braved a Festival with kids yet, this one is a good starter for ten, I guarantee the whole family will have fun.