8 July 2012

Penn Festival - mud, music & a midnight trip to hospital

I am currently tired and aching and recovering from a strange weekend.
You know when you really look forward to something and it doesn't quite work out to plan? 
Well, that pretty much gives you a heads up as to where this post is heading.

On Friday I was heading to Penn Festival with a car full of excited kids and a festival first timer, in the rain, knowing it was going to be wet but not worrying too much as the waterproofs and wellies were packed. On the way I picked up a text from Romany at Festival Kidz saying the festival site was in a bad way and the whole event may be cancelled. We pulled off at the Membury Sevices to try and find out more information. A few anxious texts and broken phone conversation later we decided to head on - after all we had three excited children on board about to have a break down if we headed back west on the motorway.

The festival is situated in a beautiful part of the country but on arrival at the site it wasn't looking so attractive. Unfortunately, I am unable to do a proper review of the festival as the weekend didn't turn out at all as planned - and it wasn't the weather to blame.


So far so good, I kept the car in a low gear and managed to skid over the field and park up.
Not everyone was quite so successful...

We set up camp and I treated myself to a nice cold drink...

...and then we had a walk around the site. The kids loved this as it was dark and muddy. A perfect combination for them! The festival site was about 30 acres so a relatively small, but importantly safe, space when festivalling with little ones. The music tent was in full flow and it all sounded good. I finally got to say hello to Romany from Festival Kidz and really wanted to meet up again on the Saturday and hopefully find the other Penn Festival bloggers.
However, it was not to be.


A lie in - fair enough, they were up till 11 the night before.

Alban was being extra sleepy - I didn't give this a second thought at the time as he loves his sleep.

Alban took ill on Saturday with a spike in temperature and laboured breathing. This worried me as two years ago he was hospitalised with similar symptoms due to pneumonia. My friend headed to the first aid point for Calpol - note to self, take a proper medical kit next time - and this took the temperature down and Alban perked up. I know though that Calpol does not work forever and it wasn't going to fix his breathing. The first aid point were on standby to get us dragged out of the car park in an emergency. We decided then to decamp - much to the frustration of the girls - as I wasn't going to risk Alban deteriorating overnight and being stuck in a tent in the middle of a mud bath.

I have to say thank you to a great bunch of workers and festival goers who helped us get the car off site after getting stuck in the mud. We finally returned home with three very tired children and my two went straight to bed - mud and all. I decided to call NHS Direct to put my mind at rest and after speaking to three different health professionals I was advised to take Alban to the local hospital at midnight where he had his breathing rate and oxygen levels checked. They were not great but luckily we avoided another trip to the main hospital in Bath. He is now on antibiotics and bouncing back but I am constantly whipping up his top and checking his belly and chest for rates of breathing.

So, there you go. Clearly it didn't go to plan and I can't write a comprehensive review of the festival for you. From what I did see though there was a mix of families and young groups of music lovers - some of whom played the bongos very badly at 2 a.m. whilst I was TRYING TO SLEEP!! The organisers did all they could under the circumstances and from what I saw later on Twitter a good time was had by all.

I was gutted to miss Soul II Soul but my little boy was my priority on Saturday.

Disclaimer: I received a family pass in return for a review of the festival.


  1. Sorry to hear it didn't work out Viv! Alban was much missed by Zak at his party - hope he's feeling better!


  2. Mummy's always know...sounds like a fun weekend and then you're extreme mothering skills took over and you saved your son a lot of grief. Well done. x

  3. Oh what a shame on all fronts... So glad Alban's feeling a lot better now! (:

  4. Mummy knows best and at least you got to experience some of the festival. Glad your little boy is OK.

    This weather is grating. Imagine if it was sunny and balmy as a July weekend should be? Hey ho you got out there and did it. Well done missus.

  5. You poor things x
    Glad Alban is perking up now but you definitely did the right thing to decamp. Better safe than sorry. Such a shame you missed the festival x

  6. such a same you missed the festival, but these things happen. Glad Alban is alright :)

  7. So sorry....It was a challenging weekend for all with young ones. However as a fellow review writer it was great fun and at the point where we decided to decamp the organisers were so kind in getting us out...little Oliver is still talking about the car being pulled out by the big green tractor...!! Hope to see you...next time?

  8. Sorry he was unwell! Hope he feels better soon! x

  9. Oh dear, sorry your weekend turned out this way. Glad to hear your boy was ok in the end though.

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