It can be hard to find the perfect family festival, somewhere that’s got just the right balance of entertainment for both kids and adults, is not too crowded yet still carries the vibe of those free-spirited pre-offspring days of old. Oh and of course, there needs to be a spectacular setting too.
Croissant Neuf Summer Party (10-12 August), a mega-green festival in Usk, an Iron Age fort in Monmouthshire, ticks all the right boxes. It combines the spirit of Glastonbiry’s Greenfields with the quirkiness of Camp Bestival, but as it’s still relatively under the radar (though it won best family festival last year) you won’t have to walk in a twenty-across throng.
Much of the action takes place in the solar-powered big top tent or in the surrounding ‘village green’ which means you can keep an eye on wandering kids at all times.
This year’s line up includes Seth Lakeman, Willy Mason and Moya Brennan from Clannad as well as a plethora of other bands you may not have heard of but will probably love. The emphasis is on ska, folk and Cajun music.
There’s plenty of low-key madness here – on Sunday there’s a tea-dance when everyone dresses up in vintage Sunday best to drink tea, eat cakes and dance. There’s even an on-site ‘village pub’, The Stagger Inn, serving local ales and ciders and hosting impromptu jamming sessions, skittles and darts.
For kids there’s walkabout theatre, circus workshops, arts and crafts, ‘crazy’ bikes and even a sports academy manned by qualified coaches which features cricket, rounders and the CNSP Silly Olympics.
In the evening there’s the beautiful lamp parade and a huge bonfire to gather round.
There’s real attention to detail at CNSP - barrow boys help bring your luggage from car to campsite and the loos are constantly cleaned (why can’t other festivals follow suit?)
The vibe is laidback, wholesome and feel-good – the kind of festival where you might even get to Monday without feeling like you’ve done 24 hours in a boxing ring and then been dragged through a hedge backwards.
And of course there’s CNSP’s extraordinarily green credentials – Europe’s biggest solar-powered festival, last year it was also carbon neutral. Incredibly all electricity for the sound, lighting and stalls is generated by wind turbines and solar panels. Naturally food is organic and local.
What you’ve got here is one of the best kept secrets on the festival circuit – guaranteed good times, we’d say.