The Big Feastival – our first time
I had never been to a festival until earlier this year. When I heard about The Big Feastival being a fairly local, family-friendly festival combining music and food I knew we had to go! The Big Feastival is held at Alex James’s farm in Kingham, Oxfordshire. This year the festival was held between Friday 24th and Sunday 26th August. The line-up for the whole weekend looked amazing, but being new to festivals and with a certain someone’s birthday celebrations also happening, we opted to just go on the Saturday.
Obviously I have very little experience of festivals, but I was impressed with the organisation here. I was expecting a long queue to get in. However, we followed the signage to the event and were directed to the car park quickly. Arriving at the site before the festival arena opened, we had a short walk from the car to the entrance. When The Big Feastival opened at 10am we went for a wander around the site to get our bearings. As you would expect, there were loads of different food stalls, selling pretty much any type of food you could think of. There were bars, stalls and lots of activities which caught the girls’ eyes.
My lovely friend and fellow blogger Emma was also attending The Big Feastival, with her daughter, Erin. They live close by and the girls all attend the same school, so were happy to spend the whole day with each other. It is lovely spending time together as a family, but it was even better having my favourite drinking-buddy to have a good natter with too. Plus, as the girls happily entertained each other, we felt we could relax a bit more.
On the Village Green, the girls were immediately drawn to the maypole. They were just in time for a session being run by Maypole Movers. The three of them joined in with the dancing. The instructor was brilliant – explaining clearly what they needed to do. All three of them absolutely loved it.
There were plenty of other activities to keep them happy. They went to stroke the piglets from Adam Henson’s Cotswolds Farm Park, but spent a lot of time doing crafts and colouring. They enjoyed having a go at some circus skills and loved watching the Indian Circus performance later on in the day.
All of these activities were free, however, there were fairground rounds which had an additional cost. You purchased tickets from various booths which could then be used on the rides. Of course, the girls wanted a go on some of the rides!
There was also the opportunity for the girls to do some cooking in the NEFF Little Kitchen. This was for children aged 5 to 12 to prepare and cook their own dishes. I am sure my two would have loved this, especially Emily who will pull a chair up to the kitchen counter when I am cooking in order to “help”. However, as you can imagine, this was really popular, and we weren’t prepared to loose time queuing up to do this when there was so much else to do. The girls didn’t feel like this missed out. In fact, I think the highlight of the festival for them was just hanging out together.
The music line-up over the weekend provided something for everyone. Craig David was headlining on Saturday. Although the girls preferred Justin Fletcher (if you aren’t a parent then you won’t understand what a big deal this guy is), I enjoyed listening to The Bluetones. However, as great as the big names on the Main Stage were, we enjoyed chilling out in the brightly coloured tent of The Udder Stage. In the afternoon, it was taken over by BBC Introducing and we were impressed with 22 year old Oli Hannaford is a 22 year old. He has been recording, producing and mixing songs in his bedroom on a budget, and this was his first gig. You wouldn’t have known it! I would definitely recommend spending time here and discovering some new talent.
What sets The Big Feastival apart from other music festivals is the food. There are celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations and cookery schools on throughout the weekend. There was absolutely every type of food you could imagine, and plenty of surprises too. I wouldn’t normally associate healthy food with festivals, but there were various plant-based foods to try at the Alpro Planquet, corn-on-the-cob and even free samples of tender stem broccoli to try.
There were the usual festival favourites, such as ice creams, pizzas, burgers, chips and hot dogs. Freyja had a Margherita pizza from Made of Dough. They were cooked to order, and definitely worth the 20 minute wait. It was so nice that Freyja ate almost all of it, so Rich and I were only able to try half a slice.
We opted for halloumi friens from Oli Babas. The deep-fried halloumi was served with za’atar yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, mint, sumac and wilderbee chilli honey. They looked and tasted absolutely gorgeous.
My Festival Favourite had to be Sharp’s Brewery Secret Bar. Myself and 7 other festival goers entered what appeared to be a large crate. This huge wooden box, adjacent to the Sharp’s bar hid a small bar where beer sommelier Ed Hughs introduced us to a range of different beers. Using lights, sounds, smells and various foods to pair with the beers, this immersive sensory experience really opened my eyes to how beer varieties can be as different as wine varieties. I enjoyed this so much, and am so glad to have been introduced to Sharp’s Atlantic pale ale.
Although we don’t have much experience of festivals, I can’t imagine enjoying another festival more than we enjoyed The Big Feastival. We all had so much fun. There was so much to do, to eat and drink and to just keep us entertained. I wish we had decided to make a weekend of it.
Disclaimer: We were provided with tickets to The Big Feastival, but enjoyed it so much that we wouldn’t hesitate to buy weekend tickets for ourselves in future.