I recently experimented with taking a child to the Isle of Wight Festival - which was a success as long as you don't mind spending at least some time holding a paint brush or singing songs about telling the time.
And so, I decided to carry out a further social experiment by sending my mother to the Festival for the first time on Sunday. Her husband had been in 1969 but he missed Bob Dylan's famous set and could only recall The Who being 'a cacophony of noise' (I thought that was the idea?) so I wouldn't count him as a regular visitor.
Mother lives close enough to hear the *thump thump* but has never quite made it onto the site. Sunday night was ideal since Rod Stewart is one of about eight answers she would come up with if given the vague category of 'people who sing' on Pointless. Those who have been to the Isle of Wight Festival in recent years will also be well aware that a couple in their 60s can very easily blend in amongst the families and teenagers.
After ensuring she had a clean hanky and 10p for a payphone I set them both free and told them to explore the whole site, which they dutifully did. I also told them to go on the ferris wheel to get a fantastic view of the crowd spread over the riverside site.
After the ferris wheel they happily wandered from big tent to bigger tent, impressed at the scale of the whole thing and the fact that it didn't feel like a great big heaving crush. My mother grooved the night away to some kind of grungy rock act (there's a helpline to support those who witnessed this incident) and then spent an unnecessarily long time making small talk with a crepe seller who I'm sure would rather have dealt with the queue.
She also remarked to me that she felt £3 was too much for a 'lukewarm coffee'. I'm inclined to agree but it does cost the same in Costa Lotta (and every other festival).
Rod Stewart proved popular with them both ("I liked the one about sailing") and contrary to stereotypes they didn't complain that it was too loud. I'll admit that's rather scant detail for those hoping for a review but I can confirm they were generally impressed.
So will they come back? I'd say they were at least converts to the idea of day tickets, even if they won't be turning up for the full four days with a cool box full of tinnies and a pair of wellies in 2018.
The exception of course will be if Cliff Richard headlines, in which case mother will be in the front row with a handmade placard and a sunflower in her hair. If that happens, you'll find me in the Big Top.
This blog first appeared on Isle of Wight Guru