Last weekend (August Bank Holiday) we went to our very first family festival! Despite my initial hesitations the only regret I had was not staying for the whole weekend!
I had watched my Insta Stories with jealousy over the past couple of years as many families enjoyed the experience of Camp Bestival. Though this year’s rain did put me off slightly I must admit! When I read about The Big Feastival I thought it sounded great but kind of dismissed the idea. It wasn’t until I realised that it was so local (in the Cotswolds) that I thought maybe the time had come for us to go!
At this point I feel I should admit, I’m a bit of a control freak, new situations freak me out a little, especially when I don’t know what to expect and the children are involved. Will there be things for them to do, will there be big queues for things and they’ll just be a pain? Anyway, long story short, we decided to go for it. We didn’t camp this time, I thought maybe it was best to test it out this time around and if we loved it, we could maybe camp next year.
We went to The Big Feastival on the Sunday, the festival runs from Friday. With headliners playing on the music stage such as Olly Murs, Louisa Johnson, Madness and Hacienda Classical.
We arrived at 10am and encountered no traffic at all getting to the venue, parking is free which was a refreshing change as many festivals charge for parking (V Festival I’m looking at you!!). The parking is on wide fields with marshalls helpfully directing cars to spaces. There was only a short walk to the entrance, which was also welcomed on such a hot day.
On entry we were greeted with really friendly security who gave us wrist bands (much to the children’s excitement) and discreetly checked our bags.
This is no exaggeration, as my pictures will tell you! When you enter the festival you really feel like you’re part of something amazing! There is a colourful entry through a tree lined, bunting filled walk way, which is just magical and leads straight to the vintage fun fair which includes an old style carousel and helter skelter! Tickets for these are sold separately and cost about £10 for a couple of strips. You’re surrounded by atmosphere right from that moment, bubbles cascaded over our heads from a stall nearby and the scent of candy floss filled the air. The sun was beaming down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! I wondered what the hell I’d been missing all these years.
The Big Feastival takes place on founder Alex James’ farm in Kingham, the musician who was formally of Blur fame now owns a farm in the Cotswold countryside and is a cheese maker and Djs at the event too.
The passion for good food and drink is conveyed throughout the event from celebrity chefs taking to the stage to cook up a storm to the individual street-food sellers whose offerings were absolutely delicious! Our favourites were the Thai street food, the Jamaican jerk chicken and the children loved the popdogs hot dog stall. I also had an amazing pizza. Wow, when I think about it we really ate loads of amazing food in just one day! We did spend quite a lot of money on food & drink so make sure you budget before you go & save up some cash for food, drink and bubbles!
There was also plenty of gin, provided by Sipsmiths, Fever Tree and not to mention the gorgeous GIN SORBET! There was also an area from Veuve Clicquot where we had a virtual bike tour through their vineyards and of course sampled their champagne. Veuve Clicquot also sponsor the VIP tent where you can listen to bands while sipping champagne and enjoy proper toilets. Though we must say, the porta-loos on site were always clean, with toilet paper and even had proper hand wash stations outside. Just what you need with small children in tow.
Aside from the great music, food and drink there are also plenty of activities for the children, way more than could be sampled in just one day but some we tried were basket weaving, head-dress making and of course lots of fun was had in the play-doh tent which provided welcome shade, as did The Cotswold Farm Park’s area which was filled with hands-on experiences for children to stroke pigs and rabbits.
There were some gorgeous big brands interspersed with smaller independent stores which I thought was really lovely, Jools Oliver’s Little Bird Stand was next to a lovely independent headband seller and The My Little Pony Bus (a huge hit with my small people) was next to a circus stall with opportunities to try unicycling and juggling. In a way I feel kinda bad I didn’t get to see every single stall and craft opportunity, I now know why people go for longer. There really is plenty to do over two days at least!
I bumped in to this absolute beauty on my way round and Fan girled over a pizza! The Honest Mum is just as lovely in real life as she is on her blogs, and it looked as though Vicki and her family were enjoying soaking up the atmosphere as much as we were! It was lovely to meet her there and give her some festival sparkle too!
As the sun began to set we made our way to the stage to watch some music. I wasn’t sure how this would pan out. Our four year old can be a little funny with loud noises and it was getting on in the day. I feel like an idiot for even worrying, he was a m a z i n g , the crowds weren’t over powering there was plenty of room. We danced the night away and made our way back to the car around 9pm. Via the silent disco, which was SO much fun.
Looking at my 300+ images I feel so, so lucky we were able to experience The Big Feastival, especially on such a beautifully sunny weekend. I have really only touched the surface of the things on offer, but thinking about it I think it’s quite nice to leave some parts of the event to the imagination, for you to discover yourself.
If you’re thinking of biting the bullet and trying a family festival next year I would highly recommend The Big Feastival it’s everything we could have hoped for, and more. Next year I might even camp. … I did say might.