On Saturday 2nd June, I went to the Enjoy Music Festival in Aberdeen with my 9 year old son.
So… did we enjoy the festival? (Do you see what I did there? Haha)
Firstly, it is great that there are events like this locally in Aberdeen nowadays and one which is suitable for families as well! The event offering in Aberdeen has certainly improved over the last few years.
Walking through the sunny Hazlehead park towards the festival gates we could hear the music already so our excitement kicked in. When we arrived (around 2:30pm) entry was very smooth and quick even with security checks in place, so I was impressed with this! A good start – as an event organiser myself I know it’s very important to give a great first impression and also to let everyone leave on a high. A good start, middle and end – basics of event planning… ALL stages of the event need to be smooth for your attendees! I will come back to this point later in this post!
My Mum was kindly offered free tickets so she came along and met us later in the afternoon. She lives near the festival venue and was sent a letter from organisers around 1 week before giving details of the event and offering 2 free tickets. I thought this was a fantastic gesture to keep the locals on side, just unfortunate I had already bought my ticket so I couldn’t use that 2nd free one!
The festival had 3 tents of music, with a variety on offer. My personal favourite was rock band, Cold Years who were established in Aberdeen and played that afternoon in the main stage tent. They are definitely more my type of music than the DJ sets in the other tents although we did have a fun little dance to that later in the day too! I also really liked Starsailor, I managed to catch a couple of their songs before we headed out of the festival. Also caught a bit of Goldie Lookin’ chain earlier that evening… lets just say they had an interesting choice of language for a tent filled with a few families!
I didn’t manage to catch as much of the music on the day as I would have liked because with the music being inside a tent it was REALLY loud. Which of course is what you would expect from a music festival, however for one welcoming families I’d say it was at times too intensely loud in the tents for (some) kids. At least it was for my child, he didn’t like how loud it was so I didn’t get to spend much time in there… I popped in a few times while my Mum watched the little one or we listened from just outside the tent. Next time I will consider ear defenders for him… What would be great at events like this is having ear defenders available to hire out (at an extra fee of course) as this would be so handy!
My son said what he liked most about the festival was that it had different things to do, not just the music.
For example there was:
Pony cycles and scooters (Party box)
Superhero and Princess characters (Love Rara)
Crafts & Playdoh activities (The Creation station)
Nerf & gaming tipi (Activity Delivered)
Bouncy castle & tea cups ride
Magician, face painting, storytelling & more!
We liked the drummers – my son got involved playing drums and maracas and dancing along to the the drumming rhythm. We love this kind of interactive entertainment.
He also liked the gaming tipi… Cool idea… Typical though you take your child out to a sunny music festival and they want to go inside a tipi and play Xbox! I sat outside enjoying the sunshine keeping an eye on him from afar. You can hire these gaming tipi’s along with nerf etc for birthday parties and events so I took a leaflet for future events!
I read on the Enjoy Music Festival Facebook page beforehand that over 60% of family entertainment was free. Our personal experience was that we paid for a lot of the activities… typically £3 for 10-15 minutes of activities such as bouncy castle, pony cycle and gaming which over the course of the day can add up to quite a bit when kids want to do this more than once, along with food/juice!
Food and drinks
You weren’t allowed to bring in any of your own snacks or juice which is pretty standard for this type of event.
There was a good variety of food stalls available not just the standard burgers which is good as my son isn’t a huge fan of a typical burger van. We opted for a freshly made margarita pizza from Nomad wood fired Pizza. This was delicious and reasonably priced, only £6 for a whole freshly made pizza. I’d happily have another one of them right now, so good! We also had ice cream which was not such a fair price (£5 for a cup of ice cream with chocolate sauce).
The main bar operated on a token system and I did see festival staff going around crowds selling tokens which is a great idea to avoid having to queue for tokens and then queue again for your drink. Excellent!
Now I wouldn’t normally have a specific section on exiting an event… What is there to say, you walk over to where it says exit and you leave, end of story. Or at least that is what I would expect!
However that was not my experience on this occasion! We spotted 3 large signs on the fence stating exit… We headed to exit 1 beside the entrance (at around 8:40pm) security staff told us “you need to go over there to exit” gesturing to the left but not specifying where they were referring to. We knew there was another exit sign down to the left beside the family area so we headed there assuming that’s what they meant. A couple of minutes walk to exit sign 2 and again security staff told us “no you exit down there” *gesturing back the way we had come* stating rather rudely that this exit was for staff only. He offered no further information. NOT HELPFUL.
Back we went towards the original exit and we spot a gap in the fence behind the toilet cubicles (yes that’s right BEHIND the toilets!). We were able to exit here.
3 large exit signs but none of them actually being exits makes no sense… why only let people out of the event by an exit hidden behind toilets and of course the queue for said toilets?? And why security staff could not direct us there instead letting attendees (with a tired child!) wander back and forth not knowing what’s going on, is also annoying. I refer back to an earlier point that events should allow attendees to leave on a positive note – well we left a little annoyed and confused over something that could have easily been avoided…Not the desired effect organisers would want I’m sure. I don’t know how the exit situation was at the official end of the event but it should be smooth at any time… As a family friendly event not everyone is going to stay until the late finish. Minor issue but one that was totally avoidable – have an exit sign in the right place or an arrow to another exit if it changes and staff being polite and giving correct information. Simple!
Anyway, overall it was a really good festival that yes we did indeed enjoy! It was a lovely sunny day filled with music, family fun and pizza in a great location, what more could we want!
It was pretty family friendly (as mentioned the noise levels not so much but otherwise very suitable). I would also suggest a blackboard with entertainment times for the family tent would have been a great addition to the family area to easily check what’s coming up.
I noticed the festival site was also wheelchair accessible – fantastic. For more on wheelchair accessible venues, see here.
It’s great to have this music festival as part of the local events scene and I hope to see it taking place again next year. Well done to the organisers.