Disclaimer: we paid for our normal day tickets for the festival, however we were kindly upgraded to VIP – this review contains some elements from the VIP area. We’ve also tried to share images without other kids’ faces in – if you would like me to remove any, please let me know.
Friday 12th August 2022 was like Christmas morning for Lily – she was up super early and bouncing around like a pogo stick. I had 5 hours of work in the morning, but once she finally saw my Out of Office go on, her excitement levels were through the roof. Why? Because it was time to head to her “favourite festival in the whole wide world”, Gloworm Festival.
Friday night opens to those who are camping or glamping, with the main festival opening to everyone else over the Saturday and Sunday. Gloworm Festival really holds a special place in our hearts and I admit feeling a massive buzz as Lily ran through the gates, making sure she was one of the very first kids to step foot into Gloworm Festival 2022.
Was it everything she hoped for and dreamed of? Yes, without fail, the whole festival totally blew her mind once again. There really is SO much to do, all included in the price, and it’s difficult to share absolutely everything, so here are 10 of our highlights.
1. The funfair
One of the many great reasons we love Gloworm Festival is that so much is included in the price compared to other festivals, which includes the funfair rides that are free until 5pm each day.
From a helter-skelter and swinging chairs through to a carousel and even a little roller coaster, the funfair is fab. It’s always the first place Lily loves to run straight to each morning before the queues build up, but we found the queues dropped again in the afternoon and she was able to lap her favourite rides again.
I did lose count the number of times she went excitedly on that helter-skelter, but my favourite was the big wheel at sunset on the first night, overlooking the awesome festival site.
2. Andy and the Odd Socks
Andy and the Odd Socks is Lily’s absolute favourite band, and she was beyond excited to see the band play on the main stage on the Sunday of the festival.
Sadly, she had a minor injury on the barrier the minute the band were about to go on stage (not the festival’s fault!), but she quickly bounced back when she saw them come on stage and she was straight back into her rock mode to sing along, dance and cheer with Andy and the Odd Socks.
Their set was filled with all her favourites and she was buzzing to meet the whole band afterwards in the Meet & Greet area. The band all did well to get round seeing all the kids as there were so many wanting to see their heroes, so thank you for making it happen!
3. Playmobil Rave
The Playmobil Rave has been a firm favourite in the past from Lily, so she was counting down to the first Playmobil Rave on the Saturday of the festival.
Complete with fun music, dancing along with the awesome Playmobil characters and plenty of crowd interaction, there are prizes to be shared out too.
Incredibly, Lily won the first big prize that went out for her crazy dancing, so we came away from the front with her giant Playmobil set to let other kids in to her space, but it is always such a fun atmosphere and kids and parents alike all get involved.
Thanks Playmobil for her epic prize, that is already out the box and being loved with her other Playmobil figures too from the goody bag.
This was the first year we made it down to the forest school area as the thought of the trees and cooling water drew us in from the heat.
Lily and her friends spent so long paddling in the water, building a dam with the wet moss, building different structures with the stones, and searching the water to see what they could find. It was so lovely watching the kids play happily in the water, free to explore nature and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Thoresby Park.
I also won’t deny enjoying standing in the cool water too, though Lily did take it to the extreme and ended up contently sitting in the water… thankfully she dried off quickly too!
5. Kinetic Sand & sandpit
The sandpit area has always been a firm favourite for us to enjoy at Gloworm Festival, especially having a coffee in the deckchairs while Lily played away in the sandpit, however this year had the addition of the Kinetic Sand tables in the covered over area which were brilliant.
Kids of all ages could enjoy playing with the kinetic sand in the shade with the mess-free sand. Lily was really excited to go here (and asked about 100,000 times to go back in!) and really enjoyed it, plus was just as excited to find her very own sand in the goody bag too. I know this will be something to add to her Christmas list!
6. The VIP area
The VIP area was new for us this year and we are so glad we had the opportunity to try it as it was just so special. The VIP area is a small separate area near to the main stage with different activities, seating areas and its own bar and toilets.
We had an absolutely awesome time trying out the activities, especially the Morph making workshop with Aardman Productions (Lily and I were proud of our Morphs!) as well as making rocky roads with the Three Bears Cookery Club.
We went back a few times to the silent disco area for a boogie in the shade and definitely enjoyed the nice toilets too – though I have to say that Gloworm toilets always seem to be clean across the site too.
7. Cosmic Kids Yoga
Cosmic Kids Yoga was something that kept us strong through lockdown and so we were excited to see Jaimie again on the main stage this year.
Despite the strong sunshine (and many, many layers of suncream – thanks Child’s Farm!), Lily really enjoyed following the kid-friendly yoga on the main stage again.
8. Happy’s Circus
This was the first time we’ve made it to the circus at Gloworm (there really is always SO much to do!), but we made sure we went along to the first show on the Friday night.
Again, it is included in your ticket price, but what a brilliant show it was. It was well organised with kids in front and adults behind to make sure everyone had a good view, and the whole performance was just mind-blowing.
They had an A show and a B show – we caught the A-show, complete with some incredible trapeze artists, a lady balancing a bike on the top of a really tall stand and other crowd-interactive acts too.
9. Meet & Greet
The Meet & Greets throughout the park were brilliant again this year, with characters for all ages to enjoy.
Even though she is 7, Lily still loves her Paw Patrol characters, so was excited to spot Rubble and Chase for a high 5. She loved meeting Gilbert Gloworm as well as Sunny from My Little Pony too.
On top of some of the awesome kids’ characters, you could meet some of the artists from across the weekend – Maddy Moate and Andy and the Odd Socks bands were top of Lily’s list as well as CBeebies legend Nigel Clarke too.
10. The Hive area
I couldn’t share highlights without sharing the love of The Hive area again, with so many activities for kids to enjoy.
“DJ Lily from Leicester” enjoyed joining in with her very own DJ set again this year with the Four Four DJ Academy as well as a return to the drumming workshops with the awesome Kyle Commerie.
She was also excited to see the graffiti workshops back as well as the Reality Arcades again – though apparently Mummy as Pac Man was hilarious 😀
Every year we go to Gloworm Festival it just gets better and better, but the awesome vibes that make Gloworm so magical just never go away.
The Gloworm team really works hard to make it special for kids of all ages, no matter what they enjoy doing, from outdoor activities to indoor crafts, live music to smaller workshops, with just so much to do across the weekend.
We battled some intense temperatures across the weekend, but that didn’t stop the fun, and the Gloworm team did everything they could to support those visiting an outdoor festival, including an extra water station, allowing smaller tents, covered over seating areas, spraying the crowd with water and ensuring there were plenty of activities in shady areas too. Extra shout out to Child’s Farm for the pocket suncream too!
It didn’t feel packed out this year, with everything so spread out, and there was always something else to do if you felt an area was too busy.
We barely scratched the surface with things to do again this year, but that made it just as awesome as the other years as we had a whole other epic experience once again.
With so much included in the price too, it really helped with the cost compared to some other larger festivals, and the toilets were also very clean too… plus there was a Mobiloo for those who needed the accessible facilities.
My only suggestion would be to give families a bit of guidance on setting up so close to the main stage – it is many families’ first festival, so there were several families who set up with pushchairs and blankets on the floor by the front barrier, which was not only not great for safety during some of the more popular acts, but also meant some kids couldn’t see the main stage as they were blocking the view.
This isn’t Gloworm’s fault at all, just maybe some guidance to families for their first festival could help next time – it was the reason Lily got injured at the start of Andy and the Odd Socks, when kids were trying to squeeze past the pushchairs at the front barrier to try and see past the people sitting on the floor at the barrier.
That aside, I’m sending the Gloworm team all the biggest love and thanks for once again giving us such an epic, mind-blowing, Lily-buzzing weekend. My little gloworm was so happy to be back in her favourite festival grounds again and you really didn’t disappoint.
The countdown is already on til next year…. bring it on!
Lots of love from Lily, one of Gloworm’s ultimate fans!