Wychwood – Our First Festival
I have never been to a festival before. The thought of lots of crowds and unmentionable toilet facilities is not my idea of fun. However, so many family-friendly festivals seem to be popping up nowadays that I have been coming round to the idea. I HAD been totally against camping, but had my opinion turned round on that last summer. Could the same happen regarding my opinion of festivals? We decided to give Wychwood Festival a go. This is a music festival which is regarded as being very family-friendly, and is also local to us as it is held at Cheltenham Racecourse. At least if we didn’t like it, we didn’t have far to come home.
We just decided to visit for a day. I feel happier about camping now, but camping AND our first festival may be too much! There was plenty of parking at the racecourse and not far to walk to the entrance. The festival site was also quite compact, so no grumbling from Emily about having too far to walk!
Music kicked off at 11.30am on the Sunday with Demi Marriner. I hadn’t heard of her before, however, she did a cover of Sheryl Crow’s “If it makes you happy“, which was a definite crowd pleaser – even if at this point the crowd was quite small! The great thing about the small crowd meant that we could wander right up to the front and the girls could have a dance!
What did surprise me was that most of the people watching the performers on the main stage were sat on fold-up chairs or picnic blankets that they had bought with them. What was really nice was that you could camp out on a blanket and let the kids head off towards the stage.
Whilst we were sat on a blanket it seemed only appropriate that I have some sort of refreshment. Thankfully, our friends from Olive in a Bus were there, and I started my first festival day off with a Bloody Mary.
I can thoroughly recommend one of Olive in a Bus’s Bloody Marys to start any day off right. Although, probably not a working day. It definitely put me in a good mood, and the girls decided to take advantage of this. Before long they were devouring candy floss as quickly as they could, before I could decide that having both of them on a sugar rush was not going to be a great idea.
Wychwood is primarily a music festival, however, there was plenty of other entertainment to please all the family. There was craft making, story-telling, circus school and a fairground that was particularly popular with the children. My girls enjoyed a short show by Sole Rebel Tap performing “Blues and Shoes” which was a mixture of live music and tap dancing. Rich couldn’t resist the opportunity to take one of the girls on the dodgems. And yes, I think he was having the most fun!
There were loads of different food vendors at the festival, selling the usual burgers, pizzas and noodles. I wanted something a bit different, so grabbed one of Olive in a Bus’s charcuterie boards. These comprised of good quality cheese and meats, olives, beetroot humus and sourdough crispbreads. As I don’t eat meat, the very lovely Kirsteen swapped out the meat for some extra Hereford Hop and Alex James’ Blue Monday cheeses. Emily, who had a box of noodles, obviously realised that I had chosen the better food option, and it was then that she developed a liking for olives.
We had a glorious day for Wychwood Festival which was lovely, but by the afternoon, it was getting very hot in the blazing sunshine. We sought shade in the Village Hall tent just at the point that Marawa’s Majorettes were holding a Hula Hoop tutorial. Emily was desperate to have a go. Now, I have seen Emily and a hula hoop and most of the time the hoop is on the floor and Emily is having a strop that she can’t do it. I sat down, making the most of the few minutes I would have before I had to remove a frustrated four year old from the tent and find shade elsewhere. I was, therefore, flabbergasted that before long Emily was actually managing to keep the hoop up – and then “styling it out”, as she was taught, with a big smile on her face when she dropped it.
Whilst all this was going on, Freyja and Rich went off to have a go at Circus Skills.
After watching Emily try to do the Macarena WHILST hula hooping, I felt like I deserved a drink. Thankfully Olive in a Bus had a range of different gins. I had a lovely Bloom gin, garnished with hibiscus and juniper.
I would have loved to have stayed to see Sunday’s headliners – Feeder and Shed Seven, however, they were on too late for the girls. Definitely an argument for camping next time!