Discover how the Electric Picnic, one of Ireland's top summer festival experiences, broadened its potential customer base by developing a family-friendly product.
Eight years on, The Electric Picnic has established itself as a truly unique annual Irish festival, set amid the rolling lawns of Stradbally Hall, Co Laois. Renowned for great music, art, theatre, comedy, pantomime, food and holistic health, the festival has in recent years expanded its appeal to younger picnickers with great results.
The effort by the organisers to understand and meet families’ needs has certainly paid off. The feedback from families that attend is positive, with the result that the Electric Picnic is firmly on the family-friendly list of festivals.
On a practical level, families are well accommodated with a specially-designated family campsite that genuinely caters to their needs. For example, parking is located in close proximity to the tents, and this part of the site is reserved exclusively for families, so parents have no need to worry about rowdiness from revellers or late-night noise.
Entertainment-wise, families have plenty of choices to keep children amused. The “Soul Kids” children’s area is a wonderland for children and has a reception for babies, toddlers and children up to twelve, as well as a chill-out space for parents.
Like children, Soul Kids just keeps growing! Since it started at Electric Picnic in 2006, it has grown into a magical and creative space embraced by both parents and children alike. The Soul Kids team have put a lot of love, energy and imagination into the area over the last few years and plan to develop it even further.
In 2010 Soul Kids' broadened its boundaries, embracing the enchanting walled gardens of Stradbally Hall in their entirety. What makes this such a successful amenity is Soul Kids’ appreciation of the challenges involved in catering for families.
In 2010/11, the team offered an impressive free service for families, presenting an amazing assortment of activities, entertainment, workshops and performances over the course of the festival weekend. Activities ranged from the athletic, such as yoga and dancing, to the musical (drumming workshops, singing, and discos), to the unusual, with juggling and circus acts. Relaxing options were also on offer, with storytelling, willow-weaving, arts and crafts, balloon modelling and puppet shows.
Catering for everyone
Of course different families have different needs, especially where babies and toddlers are concerned, so there’s also a separate area within Soul Kids called Soul Babies, which is just for under-threes and their parents. Soul Babies contains a soft play area, sensory toys, junior arts and crafts and plenty of experienced staff on hand to help.
Ensuring families feel safe adds significantly to their enjoyment of the festival, and the organisers appreciate that children’s safety is critical to parents. To promote security, only Family Camping ticket holders are allowed into the designated Family Camping area, while adults can only access the Soul Kids area if accompanied by a child.
In terms of management, families require a different approach too, so online pre-registration is available. Once at the event, Soul Kids receptionists are on hand to book children in for workshops or events during the course of the festival.