We’ve had an extremely busy weekend this weekend which started with Louis’ Big Wild Sleepout and ended with The Manchester Day parade, and in between we managed to squeeze a day out at Stockport’s Family Festival – the Headlander Festival.

Billed as a festival suitable for families, there seemed to be plenty on offer when we checked out the website before we went. The promotional poster boasted an array of entertainment and fun for all.

Headlander Poster
Photo courtesy of headlanderfestival.co.uk

The festival kicked off at twelve and we arrived a little before one. We were directed to our free parking spot by a volunteer and approached the main entrance, which was actually quite an attraction in itself. The staff were very helpful and the event seemed to be well organised.

Headlander Entrance

Once inside we decided to case the joint before making our first move. That is, we checked the map and decided to head to the nearest music tent which happened to be a big white one containing a fresh faced trio from the Starlight Academy Rock Zone. They made me smile; they were so young and having such a great time. I imagine they live for that music and want so badly to ‘make it’. Ah, I remember having a dream once …

Anyway, I digress.

So off we went from there down to the funfair to shut the kids up have a lovely go on some rather pricey rides. To be fair (see what I did there?) the prices were no more extortionate than any other funfair, I just hate paying for fairground rides.

Then once we’d been suitably fleeced, we bumped into an old friend!

Happy Happy Boy!
Rowan & Spiderman
Catching up with an old friend

At this point I really wanted to see some live music (we only stayed in the first tent for a few minutes) but I found that the main tents didn’t have live bands scheduled until later on in the day. There was a coach next to some bales of hay where the Longevity record label were showcasing some pretty cool signings, but once we headed over towards it the kids noticed the dreaded SOFT PLAY.

Now I hate soft play. It’s the stuff my nightmares are made of. Ten trillion kids high on sugary substances propelling themselves around with wild abandon. Ugh. This one though turned out to be only mildly terrifying. I even managed a relaxing blackcurrant tea whilst the kids hurtled down a slide or ten.

And so on we moved towards a random piece on linoleum.

Yes, really.

Well, not quite. It belonged to a group of breakdancers who were having the longest ever dance off. We waited and waited for a ‘show’ of some description but nothing came. Just groups of girls throwing each other around, some guys doing head spins and flips and what-not, and the young girl in this photo who wowed us! It gave our eldest a definite enthusiasm for breakdancing though and by the time we were ready to head home he was begging for dance lessons!

Headlander Festival 014

There was a lot of stuff we didn’t see. We  couldn’t find pirate school which the boys had been looking forward to, we didn’t see any balloon modelling or face painting, and we couldn’t even get into the Oxjam stage at one point to watch the music. If we hadn’t already made plans for Sunday we would’ve camped and gone back into the festival to catch all the things we didn’t have time to do on the Saturday.

Although it is predominantly marketed at families, this would be just as much fun for music loving adults. Although there isn’t a huge amount of live music until 5 o’clock ish, there is some on most of the time and it would be enough to keep you happy. Another reason you ought to make a weekend of Headlander and camp in the grounds.

We did get to see quite a bit of live music ourselves, including a band called Vendanna(?) that I can’t find any info on so might have got the name wrong. They appeared to be connected to Longevity Records too; maybe they’re new. They were great irrespective of how I spelled their name – everyone was nodding and tapping along regardless of their age (and there was quite a range of ages!) and the dynamic between the lead singer and the bass guitarist was great to see.

Bad light – sorry!

We also saw a *little* bit of comedy which we left as soon as one of the comedians used the phrase ‘b*llock naked* in front of the kids. They did explain before the show that they’d had to tailor it for families but I felt there was no excuse for the foul language when you’re fully aware of your audience. Slight disappointment there.

Before wrapping up this review, I must give a special mention to Maisetto, a band that played not long before we left. We are a family of rock lovers – and not the kind you study in geography. We love a bit of rock music and Maisetto provided the perfect end to the day. We brought their CD home and listened to it in the car, and nobody asked if it could be turned down or off – we all just enjoyed listening to it. So cheers Maisetto, you rocked.

Overall, Headlander Festival was a great day out. Ticket prices are fair at £25 per family per day or £45 for the weekend plus £10 camping per night as an optional extra. We’d definitely go again and next year we’ll probably make a weekend of it to get the best experience.

So to play you out, here’s Maisetto with Watch The World.


  1. Well there was certainly a lot going on there! Love the idea of live music and all the entertainment at a reasonable price for the family. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  2. We went to his event once with a lovely singer singing perky tunes and for the first time my son stopped and he just listened. This never happens when we are out. Usually grass means running around to him. This event made me realized how much he loves live acts and its my dream to bring him to one like this event that you went to. #CountryKids

    • We take our children to see as much live music as possible, though there aren’t that many options. Is there a festival held near you?

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