The 3foot People Festival

The UK’s Largest Outdoor Festival for Preschool Children


The 3foot People Festival in it’s 9th Year

A Huge Event for Tiny People

Tailor-made for pre-school children, this innovative multi-award winning event, The 3foot People Festival welcomed over 14,000 little and big people for an exciting array of playful activities and amusements ready to inspire and entertain.

Children, parents and carers alike were overwhelmed with wonder as they experienced this unique festival of multiple creativity tents, performance stages and other areas to stimulate curiosity.

Unlike other festivals this was not about ‘big names’ on the main stage – instead you have a huge number of smaller-scale activities on offer, including gym classes, art workshops, drama, music & movement, puppets, storytelling, a giant sand pit, crafts, science, a variety of sporting activities and a petting farm. There are also opportunities for creative play around every corner.

What surpised many people were the workshops specifically for babies – who are often left out in festival programming – including baby signing and sensory activities.

There were also great facilities provided such as parenting information and advice, on site cafes with a variety of foods and drinks for small children – with bottle warming and food heating facilties, plus multiple nursing tents and nappy changing areas.

The 3foot People Festival was the largest outdoor festival – exclusively for children aged 5 and under – in the UK. When I was involved it sold out all 14,000 tickets within 48 hours of going on sale and we had no PR support to achieve this. Customer satisfaction ratings were consistently between 98 and 100%.

The idea for this festival came when I was walking through a very small but attractive city centre park in Chelmsford, Essex. It’s size made it too small for a normal festival to work but then the idea of tiny people came to me and The 3foot People Festival was born. That said, it was still a pretty impractical site to work with so it wasn’t long before it outgrew that site and moved to an adjacent park – and then another when each year it sold out and required more space.

“You are one of the most creative talents with whom I’ve been lucky enough to work. Your unique ability to grow ideas into deliverable events is somethings that few people possess.”

Bernard Mella, Head of Culture

This festival also had a huge influence on the children’s festivals LolliBop and Just So, with organisers coming along to visit in the early days of their events.


Festival Awards

The 3foot People Festival was shortlisted for Public Event of the Year at the Event Production Awards in 2016.

It also frequently won other awards, including the Primary Times Best Family Event in 2015 The festival has won the Best Event Essex Mums award every year since 2014 and the Best Summer Event Award every year since 2015.

“The 3foot People Festival is a great example of how these types of events have a positive impact on the local community.”

Councillor Julia Jeapes

The 3foot People Festival was also awarded a top star green award from Julie’s Bicycle. Founded by the music industry in 2007 and now working across the arts and culture, Julie’s Bicycle is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation that’s mobilising the arts industry to take action on the climate and ecological crisis.

We worked with local suppliers, producers and caterers wherever possible and we demanded ‘environmental bonds’ from them to encourage respect for the environment and to ensure rules were met. Recycling facilities were also present on site and there was relatively low contamination due to clear signage and good pre-event messaging.  Regular and efficient public transport was laid on and we had a dedicated car-sharing website for The 3foot People Festival.


A few years after starting this festival, I wanted to run a new one but for grown-ups. Any new festival is risky so I proposed the new event shared infrastructure with The 3foot People Festival to save money. The added advantage was that this festival took place in the week because pre-school children don’t need to be anywhere else! So this mean that the new festival could take place the following weekend, using the same fencing, power, toilets, tents, etc. And so, The Fling Festival (for adults only) was started. See elsewhere on this website for details on that event.

Some of the decor at The 3foot People Festival
The twenty tons of sand was a popular feature – with real palm trees too. This also remained in place for the adults at The Fling Festival.
Boxes donated by the local shopping centre provided a new (and low cost) activity managed by creative festival staff
The Horse World area was created and managed by artist Jo Peacock – who then successfully altered the space for the adults at The Fling later in the week
Often you could learn something from the entertainment
Children made use of old cardboard boxes in their own way
Many performers were at both The 3foot People Festival and then altered their show (somewhat) for The Fling – the festival for adults only – that took place the following weekend
More decorative elements at the festival of pre-school children
Science for pre-schoolers was popular
The Music & Movement dome at the festival

SHORT FILMS FROM EARLIER FESTIVALS

The 3foot People Festival – 5th year
The 3foot People Festival – 3rd year – film by Arklight Media
The 3foot People Festival – 2nd year
The 3foot People Festival – 1st year