I’ve been going to festivals since I was about 16. I’ve been to the rowdy ones like Reading, the biggest one at Glastonbury, and in more recent years the folksy or arty ones like End of the Road and Edinburgh Fringe. But this year, I had a whole new festival experience when I went to Latitude while pregnant, and with two young teenage girls, aged 13 and 14. Rather than a weekend of drunken revelling, it was a laid-back time, filled with incredible performances, a lot of mini pancakes, and the next-level luxury of the family camping toilets! I felt like I’d entered a new era of festival going.
Going to Latitude festival when pregnant
Latitude was the perfect choice for bringing teens and for being at a festival pregnant. There’s a whole family area, filled with fun workshops like basket weaving and whittling, plus a programme for ‘inbetweeners’ where they can do things like make their own films. But even without these dedicated areas, the festival has plenty to keep all ages entertained. It’s a multi-arts festival with an impressive comedy, literature and theatre line-up, alongside all the music stages. Plus the setting is stunning, surrounded by forest and next to a lake that you can swim in or punt along in a boat.
One of the things we enjoyed the most was simply walking around and discovering all the installations, from the mesmerising light sculptures in the Solas woodland retreat, to the pampering area in the Lavish Lounge where barbers were cutting hair. All through the woodlands, you come across different artworks and performances. The girls did a VR experience about what it’s like to be deaf, and at night, we were all transfixed by a light show on the lake.
Bringing children with us was a delightful way to see the festival through new eyes. It also meant we got to stay in the family camping area, which was a step up from the festival camping I’m used to. It had trailers with real toilets and sinks, and even showers, which was all luxury in comparison to the usual story of portaloos and wet wipe washes (or burning loos like you might find at Reading)! I especially appreciated this as it was nice to have a slice of comfort back at the campsite.
I was 12 weeks pregnant at the festival, at the end of the first trimester. I was more tired than I’d usually be, but I wasn’t getting the same debilitating exhaustion of the earlier weeks. This meant I had enough energy for all the walking, but I could also happily put down my blanket and rest when I needed to. Luckily, this didn’t mean missing out on anything. Lots of the stages can be watched sitting down, from the comedy tent to the beautiful lake stage where we watched the BBC young dancer finalists. As I said, it’s an ideal festival for going to pregnant. I even managed to find a space to sit during Mumford and Sons, the busiest show of the weekend!
Some of the highlights from our time at Latitude Festival
- watching the Fleet Foxes, one of our favourite bands, for their first UK performance in over six years
- eating as many mini pancakes as we could. Oh my, they are good!
- seeing Baaba Maal perform with Mumford & Sons
- being hit by a cheerful dose of nostalgia at Charlie Baker & The Hit Polishers’s brilliant cabaret performance.
- getting decorated with glitter, including a full-on sparkly beard for Steve
- watching the impressive talents of the BBC Young Dancer 2017 finalists, presented by Sadler’s Wells on the waterfront stage
- spending hours at the comedy stage and being entertained by the likes of Simon Amstell and Ivo Graham (while trying to shield the younger one’s ears from the expletives of Richard Herring!)
- one thing we were sad to miss was Gary McNair’s Locker Room Talk, a political play inspired by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. And it’s sold out at Edinburgh too. We’ll get there eventually!
Some tips for pregnant festival goers
- It’s seems it’s really hard to predict how you’re going to feel at any point in pregnancy. I was lucky at Latitude as I didn’t get too tired. I thought this was because I was at the end of the first trimester and past that stage, but now I’m at 15 weeks and I have had bouts of exhaustion in the last week, so I guess there are no hard and fast rules. For that reason, make sure you have the option of somewhere to rest. Latitude is great as you can watch lots of the acts while sitting down. We also bought a comfy inflatable mattress and had a really big tent, which made life at the campsite more restful. Plus, of course, being in the family camping area helped because of its superior toilets and showers. I think if I had been more heavily pregnant, I’d have also bought a portable chair.
- I would think twice about going to some of the rowdier or more crowded festivals while pregnant. Latitude felt spacious so I didn’t have to worry about people knocking me over or hitting my bump. I think this would be more of a concern at a festival like Glastonbury where you’re often swept up in the crowds, or at the more party-orientated festivals like Boom Town or Secret Garden Party where people are really letting loose. However, I know lots of pregnant people do go to these and love it. It’s about what you feel comfortable doing.
- I’m a huge fan of festival food and I found it east to fulfil my nutritional needs from what was on offer. However, I did also bring lots of nuts and dried fruits to snack on as this was a cheap and easy option for whenever my energy was flagging.