DD 16 wants to go to Reading Festival after GCSE's

(42 Posts)
bevelino Sun 12-Jan-14 23:49:16

Is it ok to let dd aged 16 go to Reading Festival unaccompanied with 20 school friends this year? Siblings aged 13 also want to go but have said no to them.

phoolani Sun 12-Jan-14 23:51:45

I was 16 when I first went...or maybe 17? Had a whale of a time. Really depends on your dd and what you think she might get up to.

NigellasDealer Sun 12-Jan-14 23:51:56

well i suppose you would worry but if she is with such a large group they will look after each other - so yes i think it would be OK - even though you might not sleep well all weekend.....

SuzanneUK Mon 13-Jan-14 00:20:14

If it's sex you're worrying about, you should bear in mind it's 2014 and she's 16 years old so, if boys find her attractive, there's no point closing the stable door for a weekend now. It's a pound to a penny that particular horse bolted a long time ago.

hiphipreplacement Mon 13-Jan-14 00:58:44

I was 16 when I went. Was great fun. And I was reasonably well behaved! grin

Selks Mon 13-Jan-14 01:01:20

Age 16 yes, 13 no. Mine went to Leeds fest at age 16 and had a great time.

thecatfromjapan Mon 13-Jan-14 01:04:58

Hello Bevelino. My ds is going. Perhaps we should p.m.? He's 16, going with friends (yet to be announced). I'm terrified. smile

NatashaBee Mon 13-Jan-14 01:08:41

I would let her. Make sure she has a cheap mobile so it doesn't matter if she loses it, make sure she puts your number in a couple of other friends phones as a backup. Make sure she packs a wind up phone charger, baby wipes and sunscreen, and a padlock for her tent.

ancientandmodern Mon 13-Jan-14 09:15:50

Completely agree with advice from NatashaBee. Also good to remind her that phone coverage can be patchy, so sensible plan is to have a time/meeting point pre-arranged if people get lost and can't make contact. And empty plastic water bottle - taps to fill up on site and bottled water v expensive (can be hot in August!)

Would also say DS has been to Reading (and Glastonbury) several times, but says he found last Reading trip not so great, as lot of setting fire to tents (!?) at the end, plus petty thieving (had his wallet pinched) Not a reason to pull out of going, but wise to emphasise need to stay with friends and take sensible precautions.

akachan Mon 13-Jan-14 12:23:07

I went when I was 14 and had a brilliant time and didn't get into any trouble! She'll have a great time.

EasterHoliday Mon 13-Jan-14 12:27:09

You might be interested to know that Carling no longer sponsor Reading / Leeds because the average age of attendees has dropped so significantly that they'd have issues with Portman Group advisory / wrong target audience for alcohol. The 16 yr old will have a rubbish time having to babysit a 13 year old.
If the 16 year old works particularly hard in exams, you could always throw in a room at the Renaissance / George hotel so you know where they are... (tho' they get booked out very early for the people who go on work tabs, like the music journos. Which also means that the bar is very "lively" after the festival shuts)

bevelino Tue 14-Jan-14 00:45:08

Thank you for all your messages of support. I have said yes to dd and have a very happy, smiley good natured teen on my hands this evening promising to do chores and all kinds to pay me back for the cost of the ticket. ancientandmodern I nearly had a heart attack when I read your post about tents being torched but am sure she'll be ok in a huge group.

Catfromjapan I will pm you!

NatashaBee Tue 14-Jan-14 00:58:31

I wouldn't worry about the tent torching. I think anything like that tends to happen as people pack up and leave the campsite on the last morning, I would just make sure they get up and packed up and gone early - if only because the trains will be rammed.

All three of mine went at that age... and all survivedsmile DD1 is nearly 22 and has been every year since GCSEs and loves it. Bad points.. she got swine flu the first time and came home very ill indeed. She once found a naked drunk lad in her sleeping bag (and booted him out!) and last year she and her sister were in the official video footage on some blokes' shoulders in just shorts and bras..and a few moments later someone reached up and unclipped DD2's bra..which being a 28J cup (on a tiny frame) was..um.. notable! grin

They are very strict about no alcohol for under 18s (tho of course some will get hold of it) and overall I think it's a fab experience for them. The toilets are vile.. but if they can not wee til the arena ones open in the morning they are much better apparently! Mine come back like hobos, filthy, exhausted and happy!

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 14-Jan-14 22:49:00

I was 16 when I first went in <ahem> 1987. Twas fab and no doubt a bit more rule free in those days

Claybury Wed 15-Jan-14 13:58:13

Noone worried about drugs at festivals ?

Custardo Wed 15-Jan-14 13:59:17

i went a couple of years ago - it was swarming with post GCSE twats young people

IHatePopUpTents Wed 15-Jan-14 14:07:32

I think she would enjoy it, but I went two years ago and the shear number of drugs around made me a bit uneasy, aged 20 and I would DEFF pick her up after the last performance on Sunday. Sunday night is when twats start burning tents, and generally being reckless. I ended up at the walk in center on the Monday morning as someone had thrown a tent pole through our tent and it whacked me on the head..

mummytime Wed 15-Jan-14 14:14:47

If teens want to use drugs they will be able to get them in any town or and school in the country.
The geeky boy my DS sat next to in Physics disappeared one day; even the teacher was shocked he had been excluded for drug dealing.

falaaalaaa Wed 15-Jan-14 14:21:54

Thanks for all the advice! My dc also wants to go.

Sounds like it's become the thing to do after GCSEs. Was it the same last year, or is it a new post-GCSE thing?

ancientandmodern Wed 15-Jan-14 15:46:09

No, not new - they all go post GCSE, which reminds me of another tip - for those whose DC will be going into school to collect results and then going straight on to Reading with mates, give them an SAE so they can post results info home, rather than losing vital bit of paper in the mud on the campsite. (

tinytalker Wed 15-Jan-14 20:40:10

Am I the only mum here who would never let my 16yr old CHILD go to a festival?! I trust her but she is a very petite attractive & unworldly little thing and I do not trust the people there to not take advantage of her, ply her with drink/drugs etc.
Medusa's, IHatePopUpTents stories (above) make me feel well justified in this view.
Maybe I'm just a mean mum but at least she'll be safe!

HerrenaHarridan Wed 15-Jan-14 20:54:43


That kind of attitude will get you a 16yo adult who moves out grin

IHatePopUpTents Wed 15-Jan-14 22:21:15

tiny tbh I wouldn't let my children go either, it was petrifying and I was with a massive group of 25 and over half were men. I've never been back, my brother went the same year as me aged 19 and he came to find me not to check up on me because he was scared..
I hope everything goes well for those who are going, just please please please brief them on aspects mentioned here..

Tiny talker... mine aren't idiots ..but they are both petite attractive, unworldly girls from our PM's constituency, blondes... not beer swilling oiks.
There are bad people everywhere in the world, there are probably drugs too.. but it doesn't mean all kids are 'taken advantage of'... most will only do things THEY want to!

When will you 'let' her (should she so wish!) At 17, 18 when she is has left home for uni? The vast majority really do go for the music and the mud!!
Mine have managed to be unscarred from their yearly trip and are now both at uni (one med student, one nurse)

Having said that their brother went at 17 and hated the tent life and mud.. but then again he WAS an idiot and insisted on going only 10 days after having his appendix removed... !

I WAS worried when DD1 first went, but she saved for it herself, and went with a small group of close friends and they had fun.

mummytime Thu 16-Jan-14 11:57:48

I'd rather mine went to Reading than to Newquay/Rock/Ibiza post GCSE, as there is a point beyond Drink, Drugs and Sex. But then it's close to home and they have relatives in the town.
The oldest two haven't actually indicated they might want to go though. (More likely to go to the local one I think.)

Milliways Thu 16-Jan-14 21:35:36

Mine have both been - but we live close enough for them to come home daily for a shower!

DS is an August birthday and chose not to go the Summer he turned , and said he was glad as REALLY enjoyed it the next Summer and said he would have found it a bit "full-on" if he had gone at "just" 16.
He prefers V Fest but as Reading is so close, went back last SUmmer and is hoping to meet all his mates back from Uni this year.

If they stay in a group they will be fine. The tent burning phase has passed - DS saw none of that - he said the fire wardens are SO strict on the last night - no fires at all allowed. Food is MUCH cheaper and better quality just outside the site. DS got food poisoning the one time he ate on-site, and said the welfare tent was amazing in looking after him - giving him a mat & blanket to sleep on whilst someone keeps an eye on you after being checked over. There are lots of medics and support groups around.

I'd let her go but insist she texts you/sends a FB message each day to let you know she's alright, and pick her up Sunday night after the last headliner before all the arseholes start setting the place alight smile

On the whole Reading is a great experience (as long as your DD is a bit streetwise and knows what trouble looks like, and how to avoid said trouble!)

Winniethepee Sat 25-Jan-14 02:02:21

An August child,my dd is the youngest in her school year.Imagine my horror when i asked what she wanted from Santa,Xmas 2012 and she replied 'reading festival ticket' After all,'all her friends were going'
Except,of course,the 'saddos'
My baby amongst the boozy,stoned,sexual predators with dubious musical taste?blazing tents,petty crime,and wasn't there a rape a couple of years back? Intolerable.
Started researching....Thames Valley police have some useful info,previous attendees likewise.Shared concerns with dd's friends parents......one of whom was going to festival. Realised that alcohol,other drugs,sexual predators are part of our society and,to date dd coped responsibly with parties,sleepovers etc. Then dd master stroke.(sexist term?). 'Dad...you know how you were a steward at Glasto?Maybe you could work at Reading?' Well readers,I did,and it put my mind at rest. Naturally I kept a respectful distance,appearing briefly to deliver cider ration.However,being in situ with a daily text was reassuring,certainly for me.
Daughter loved the festival,witnessed some d'head behaviour,ate more crap than usual and made another step into young adulthood.
For the more protective parent,like myself,maybe consider giving yr beloved& a couple of friends a lift and spending the weekend somewhere nearby.....

otpot Mon 24-Mar-14 08:58:48

hah this is very current in our household. I too have a small, blond gorgeous girl who is going (eek) It seems to be the post GCSE thing. The burning tent thing terrifies me (they do check no one is inside?) however she is going with a group and I've told her to stay in the group at all times. Also we are already chatting about drugs (just don't do it!!) - don;t carry anything for anyone else - a criminal record for possession would stop all number of careers, and the best one- you can never go to new york as the USA won't let you in. To be honest its not the drink and drugs I'm worried about (I think they are exposed to that in everyday life) I'm more concerned about things like her losing her glasses or having all her stuff stolen. I'm going to watch this thread like a hawk for top tips (i.e. the cheap mobile phone etc)

littlegreenlight1 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:43:57

This is great to read, DD is doing a festival and is 16 and Ive been going mad about it but I think at that age they are ok.
I did it at her age, so not a leg to stand on!

notquiteruralbliss Wed 09-Apr-14 00:10:22

My eldest went gorgeous the first time at 15 and loved it. Reading is a perfect first solo festival for 15 to 17 year olds.

tara49 Sat 12-Apr-14 05:43:07

I know it's a different set of worries for a boy but my DS is sixteen next week and has reading tix for his BD. I also know he's tried alcohol in the last year so won't tell him not to - just to be aware and moderate, same for weed but will try my best to terrify him about anything stronger. 16 with a group of good friends, the odd cider and a joint - ah, I remember it we'll...she'll have a ball!

AngryBeaver Sat 12-Apr-14 09:27:56

Suzanneuk...wow! That's a massive sweeping statement!
I was an attractive 16 year old, not THAT long ago.
But I wasn't ready for sex until I was 18. I'm hoping my dd will be the same.
Saying someone's child lost their virginity "loooong" before they were 16 is a bit unpleasant, imo.
That may well be the case, it may not?

I think the op is worried about her child's general safety and nothing specific.

I personally, don't think I would let my dc go at 16 (I have been to festivals and think maybe it's too young, but would depend on the child) but each to there own.

And the op,seems happy that her dd can be trusted to keep herself safe. All good.

Martorana Sat 12-Apr-14 09:34:14

I would be a bit worried about such a big group, to be honest. I think a first festival is best with a group of 4-or 6 at the most- good friends. Always an even number, so they can go everywhere in pairs. With a huge group it's easy for people to opt out of the"looking out for each other" role.

bevelino Sat 12-Apr-14 21:11:51

Due to all the anxiety amongst the parents of dd's friendship group about them all going to Reading Festival post GCSE dh and I are also now going. I won't be cramping dd's style and we will be in a separate tent, but at least we will be nearby. I am trying to convince myself (unsuccessfully so far) that it will be fun!

GwenStacy Sat 12-Apr-14 21:26:30

Can I really suggest you don't padlock a tent? I've been to numerous festivals, including Reading for several years, and padlocking a tent generally means people assume there's something worth nicking and will just slash it to get in.

For the last few years we've rented lockers from these guys and stuck car keys, cash etc in, just taking out what we need each day- www.lockerhouse.co.uk/booklocker.asp you can charge your phone in them as well smile

If you are going to keep any valuables in your tent overnight, keep them away from the door - we've had chancers opening our tent at night before, claiming they thought it was their tent, but having all out stuff away from the door means it's safer smile

AnarchoSyndicalistMumofthree Wed 16-Apr-14 00:00:12

Absolutely! it is a great British tradition - getting high with your friends and many like minded people for a dance in a field! A coming of age experience I don't doubt.



Fatcontroller1 Thu 17-Apr-14 14:54:21

My DD is going to Reading post GCSE. Originally thought she was going with friend and parents but since found out parents not going at all and there's a bunch of about 10 of her friends. She plans to drive down with a 17 yr old who has just passed his test ..... It's about 110 miles away from us. I'm unhappy she' s been uneconomical with the truth and not happy for her to drive with a 17 yr old inexperienced driver. What do you all think?

WheresRyder Thu 17-Apr-14 14:56:48

ds1 went for the first time 2 years ago, so was 15, we do live just outside reading though so 30 minutes on bus and hes home.

MillyMollyMama Thu 17-Apr-14 17:49:06

I took my DD to Reading, used their drop off point in the town centre , and she met up with friends at the campsite. They ended up being a group of 20 but they did look out for each other. However, it is rougher than other festivals and she much prefers V.

What you need to know is that the mosh pits are wild and the boys go mad! They tread over anything and anyone. The medics are so busy dealing with fairly major emergencies, my DDs friend who was badly trodden on and had an extremely swollen foot was never seen by a medic. She had to be collected by a parent. Things are stolen. No-one sleeps because of tent torching rumours. The music was too heavy for DD and she only went the once, aged 17. Her's and her boyfriend's wellies were stolen. All in all, V usually gets a great line up and there is no agro. Both mine have been several times and it is definitely more of a girls' event. Considerably less boozing and not so wild. Reading is raw and macho. Suits some, not others. Cautious parents should consider V, definitely. However, if your DC wants to see the Reading line up, then only Reading will do. I would never let mine be driven by a young boy to and from Reading. Take her yourself!

Recently overheard in our village: "My DD is going to her first festival this year - Reading. It will be such a wonderful experience. Camping, fresh air, cooking out in the open, such fun!!"" Haha!!

hoboken Thu 17-Apr-14 17:53:58

DD went at 16 and had a fantastic time. No ill effects other than fatigue!

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