More than 50 years after the Beatles built the foundation of their musical legacy in clubs of Hamburg, Germany, it remains an essential pilgrimage stop for music fans. However, like other major German cities, the city is packed with museums, historic sites and cultural spots tailor-made for visitors of all ages. And then there are statistics showing an increasing number of U.S. travelers want their children to have a truly “local” experience at the vacation destination, and see for themselves what kids their age do for fun.
A Summer’s Tale Festival, Aug. 1–4, 2018, is one special event you may want to consider planning your family’s European vacation around. Situated in nature reserve Lüneburger Heide (Lüneburg Heath), less than an hour by car from Hamburg, it is a perfect package of everything every member of the family would want included in any summer vacation. For teens and adults, top international rock acts (including Madness, Belle & Sebastian and a few probably influenced by the Beatles) perform at the event’s main stage. Other stages and venues feature a mix of kid-oriented performances, movie screenings, poetry and literature readings, an art fair, DJ sets, dancing lessons, yoga classes, diverse food vendors and special environmental activities.
According to its promoters, A Summer’s Tale strives to be much more than just an ordinary open-air festival in one of Germany’s most beautiful parkland areas. The weekend ends up being a self-contained world where families and individuals can pick and choose various activities in its diverse lineup to create memories that will speak to them long after the festival ends.
Parents will not only be impressed with the German planning that goes into the annual event with regards to entertainment and interactive fun, but also the fact it endeavors to be one of the safest in the world for kids as well as the most fun. Special “festival bracelets” are made available for all revelers aged up to 14 years of age free of charge, allowing their parents to write a mobile number ensuring family members can stay connected or get reconnected.
Kids under 16, meanwhile, need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or have the written permission of the parents (via a “party note”), along with proof of ID from the parent, and be in the company of an adult responsible for the child on the festival grounds. Teens between 16 and 18 years are allowed on the festival grounds after 24:00 with the written permission of their legal guardian and proof of identification from the parents.
It is also one of the cleanest, most eco-friendly festivals going, also sure to provide a few teachable moments. All festival-goers are responsible for picking up after themselves, from using trash cans and waste containers, to taking every object of camping gear off the festival grounds when they leave.
Unused food and related objects can be deposited at a Food Sharing Project area at the information station, and, if they wish, they take something new from what others already left. Every food vendor will require deposits for beverage cups, which can be recycled or donated to international German-based charity Viva Con Agua, which stages events and raises funds for communities in Asia and Africa in need of fresh and clean water sources. Much of the electricity powering swaths of the festival are green electricity generators made of 100 percent regenerative energy carriers.
There are areas for setting up camp, as well as Comfort Camping for a “glamping” type of experience. Families preferring the comforts of a hotel can also check out various lodgings in Lueeburg, offering rooms for A Summer’s Tale visitors, convenient locations walking distance to the Lueneburg train station and free bus shuttles to the festival grounds and back.
Individual ticket prices and family packages can be purchased here.
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My youngest daughter and I arrived from Barcelona on the high-speed AVE train (in less than three hours) and entered Westin Palace Madrid in time for the Sunday Opera Brunch — which takes place under the stained-glass cupola of La Rotonda, where daily breakfast and cocktails are served. I’d heard about this event on several occasions when I toured the hotel in 2015, and when my granddaughter and I stayed there in 2017.