A festival for families.
Tent packed? ✓ Wellies packed? ✓ Largest icebox we could find filled with Prosecco ✓ ✓ ✓ We’re lucky, as a nation, to have hundreds of festivals to pick from should the need arise. There aren’t many I would consider taking the kids to though but I was assured by the other half that Solfest is most definitely a festival for families. He wasn’t wrong either. After we’d loaded up the car and roofbox with practically everything we owned we left at 6.30 in the morning to head for Tarnside Farm in Aspatria, Cumbria. No traffic, no queues. The only sign warning us that a festival was in fact happening was about 50 yards from the site entrance, thank goodness for the satnav.
A pitch was found in the, obviously named, ‘Quiet Campsite,’ as opposed to, well, you’ve probably guessed, ‘Noisy Campsite’ and Mr Organised had us with a temporary home all erected and furnished within an hour of arrival. The weather was OK and not raining and I was super happy about this because this bad mother had forgotten to pack the kids rain coats. Wellies? Yes. Jumpers? Yes. Coats? Nope.
We’d arrived the day before the festival started so the next morning we were ready to make the 5 minute journey to the gates to go and explore what Solfest had to offer. Everything I have to say about the festival is good, apart from this one niggle. We listened to the camp whispers and figured that opening time was 10am, however, when we arrived we were informed it was actually midday. Back we went at 12 only to find that nobody was being let in at all ‘because some fence panels hadn’t arrived’. You know what? Things happen, but what annoys people more than anything is not being given any information for hours! We didn’t bring food for the Friday (something had to give to make room for the fizz) so we had budgeted and arranged that we would lunch in the festival grounds. Moaning, hungry kids do not make for a merry time.
When we were finally let into the site the very first area we came to was the Kids Area, full of loads of things to do, bouncy castles, play areas, music, food and crafts. The kids had pocket money and had spent their daily ration within 5 minutes. Given the rate of expenditure I calculated that they’d need about £2500 each pocket money for the rest of the festival (3 days). There were LOTS of free things to do of course but give a kid a tenner and it must be spent immediately at all costs!
The rest of the site was spacious, well laid out and had various tents for different genres of music, retail therapy, sculptures, art, crafts and even somewhere to get some, much needed, holistic therapies. The festival really came into itself after sunset with amazing light shows and a sea of happy people hopping from tent to tent, some in outrageous fancy dress, some in next to nothing but, hey ho, c’est la vie! There were 16 of us and we brought attention to ourselves with our homemade Jellyfish costumes (using umbrellas, fairy lights and bubble wrap – genius!)
I didn’t know any of the bands playing but ,wow, there’s so many talented musicians out there. Craig Charles did a set on the Sunday night and tried to outfunk neighbouring sound stages, he had the crowd buzzing and looked like he REALLY enjoyed himself in the process. Hats off to a band called Zion Train, officially my new favourite! The 11 year also enjoyed dancing on a hay bale in the trance tent (I’m not sure if I should be scared or proud)
The toilet situation always grosses me out but I have to report that there always seemed to be the ‘loo truck’ coming to empty and clean. There was no light in them in at night so it was an experience trying not to lose the iphone into the black hole, but we can’t have everything right?
To describe this festival as ‘happy’ doesn’t really do it justice. It was certainly a place that everyone could find something to enjoy, a place to chill for 3 days, a place to eat great food from around the world, a place to immerse yourself in brilliant music and a place we will certainly return too next year.
WIN ESSENTIAL FESTIVAL WEAR FROM BOGS…
The happy chappies over at BOGS UK sent me an exceptional pair of rain boots to try out. Firstly, they’re REALLY comfy. Secondly, they have super handles to pull on your boots with ease. Thirdly, they look COOL. If you doubt me check out the images! Enter our giveaway and next week, one of you lucky readers can win a Kids pair of these iconic boots for one of your sproglets to meet the Autumn feet first and fearless.