Laurence was the first to spot The Good Life Experience. “If there’s any festival I want to go to, it’s that,” he mused, “but we probably can’t this year because of the baby.” I looked at the calendar. The 16th-18th September would make Delilah almost nine weeks when we went. Could we really do a festival with a baby that young?
Then again, Talitha was six weeks when we took her to a festival. We just didn’t camp. The most stressful part of that experience was that I wasn’t used to breastfeeding in public – not an issue now. We did camp with Ophelia at four months. Maybe, maybe, oh why not? Worse comes to worst, we’d just ditch the camping bit and sleep somewhere local.
So we were delighted when The Good Life Experience offered us tickets. Here’s why we’re excited about going.
1. It’s a festival with real zest for the outdoors
The Good Life Experience plugs into the yearning many of us have developed for reconnecting with nature, rewilding and pursuing simpler experiences in the outdoors. From axe throwing to wild running, foraging to adventuring, abseiling to yoga, there’ll be lots of wilderness inspiration with a great lineup of people who are genuinely out there living their passions and are excited about getting others involved.
2. It’s about so much more than the music
This is a festival that’s as much about books, craft and The Great Outdoors as it is about the bands. There are masterclasses in henna decoration, pumpkin carving, mosaics, woodcarving and more. The Meek Family who’ve written about their many outdoor adventures and their experiences worldschooling will be there as will a pop up library, a mobile bookstore, author and adventurer Ben Fogle, and Mark Shayler of the Do Lectures.
3. But also, it’s about the music
There are a few familiar names in the lineup like Mercury Rev, Cerys Matthews and Gilles Peterson but we’re also looking forward discovering music. We’re particularly looking forward to taking in some rootsy folk and gypsy groove. It could be fun to check out the brass band too. We’ll definitely have to pack ear defenders for the kids.
4. We like that it’s a smaller festival
So many festivals have blown up over the years and become grimly overcrowded. We’re hoping there’ll be a bit more breathing space at The Good Life Experience.
5. There’ll definitely be the chance to learn something new
Apart from the crafts and books I’ve already mentioned, the festival is teeming with opportunities to leave having picked up something new, whether it’s an insight into bee keeping, a Welsh phrase or some swing moves.
6. We love its commitment to small business
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that a couple of the organisers are also behind Pedlars vintage shop, the festival’s bias is towards smaller businesses that display careful and creative craftsmanship, sustainably making beautiful things that last.
7. We’re looking forward to eating real food
There’s also a strong lineup when it comes to food. There’ll be campfire cooking sessions, authentic southern style barbecue, The Independent on Sunday’s weekly food correspondent Bill Grainger, food writer and television presenter Thomasina Miers, craft beer and a farm shop, to name a few.
8. The festival is equally aimed at children and adults
The Good Life Experience claims to aim everything at children and adults alike. We’re really hoping this is true. Certainly I can imagine making flower headdresses in the WI tent with my girls, checking out a children’s author or joining in a campfire singalong. Less segregation between ages, more experiences together, please.
To find out more about the festival, check out them out on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Adult tickets start at £69 for a non-camping weekend ticket and whether camping or not, kids 11 and under go free.
Thanks to the Good Life Experience for having us as guests!
Photographs 1 and 3 by James Fibonacci, Photograph 2 by Nenad Obradovic