The Big Feastival is hosted by Blur’s Alex James on his farm – or in the words of Paloma Faith – in his backyard – either way it is MASSIVE!! We stayed from Friday to Monday and I know we didn’t cover all of it! I was initially worried that I would get lost and bought a lanyard for the map alone! But I needn’t have worried as the Big Feastival was so well organised that it was never a problem.
Camping at The Big Feastival
First of all the car park was laid out with letters and numbers so you could very easily find your way backwards and forwards without getting confused/lost. Next it wasn’t all that far to the campsite and all very flat. The fields are organised by campsites named after fruits – with you having the options of where you want to camp – with the exception of pre-pitched, guaranteed pitches, glamping and accessibility. We didn’t really think about where we were camped just looked for the first available space big enough for us. This turned out to be by some trees that happened to be next to the Udder Stage – you know the place with the not so silent Silent Disco! Ah it wasn’t too bad though and all went quite really reasonable early for a festival.
Different camping areas had different things to offer – such as Strawberry having the lovely Dorset cereals (who provided free breakfast collecting donations for Action Against Hunger), When Nature Calls (the luxury camping facilities) and their own entrance straight into the Big Feastival.
Toilet Facilities at The Big Feastival
I have to admit that I am discovering how much toilets can make or break a festival. Previously we went to a festival where there was only alcohol gel for cleaning your hands and by the end of the weekend I felt very dirty. I also had to keep remembering to take my toilet paper because it kept running out. So when I heard about When Nature Calls being on site I was keen not to let that bad experience happen again. Nice clean toilets (with cleaners waiting to clean and restock them at all times), plus a wonderful sink where I could not only wash my hands but brush my teeth! The only negative is there wasn’t a dedicated disabled toilet. All they could offer is that there was a ramp on the way in and a step to help them into a tiny toilet cubicle.
There were also places with mirrors to sit and do hair and make-up; as well as hair dryers and straighteners. Lucky for me Nash White did mine and my ten-year old son’s hair for us on Saturday (and well Sunday was so wet I don’t think anyone even tried to do their hair!)
Although I have to admit that I didn’t always use the Nature Calls facility because you had to walk over to the Strawberry campsite, and it wasn’t open all the time. At no point did I discover that there was no toilet paper in the normal portaloos; which also had running water with soap outside them. Plus males and females were split up and waiting time was really minimal.
Food at The Big Feastival
Obviously an important part of The Big Feastival is the food. In fact I think it was my boys’ favourite part. Just walking around people kept offering them food in a variety of formats! I would never have thought that The Sensory Seeker would like Hippeas (organic chickpea puffs) but he absolutely loved them and was delighted that people kept on offering him more and more packets throughout the weekend! I am not a big fan of kale and was surprised how much I enjoyed a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale!
It really was a wonderful way to experiment with tastes that we may not have done otherwise. I was super impressed that the things on sale were all reasonably healthy (well most mostly – our teen has decided that for his 16th birthday he wants to do a doughnut masterclass in Soho London!).
As well as things to taste/snack on there was a huge variety of foods to try for your main meal; with all kinds of diets/allergies seeming to be catered for as well as tastes. Plus there was the opportunity to be able to cook and take away food in the Neff kitchen (if you could get there quick enough for sign up – even in the rain it was super popular!), watch to learn new skills, and much more including top chefs questions and answers.
Children at The Big Feastival
Wow there was so much for children to do at The Big Feastival that I really do not know where to begin. As I say the Neff kitchen was popular so if they wanted to make a pizza (using vegetables they got to pick from the Home Farm Highgrove Veg Patch) then they would have to be quick in the queue. Woodland crafts also required booking first thing, offering workshops with clay, making fairy doors, willow headbands and journey sticks.
There were talent shows, circus skills, craft making, tie dye, design a family t-shirt with Volvo, planting seeds, a campfire, pop-up performers, family quiz, VR, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, Village green games, yoga, hula hooping, jazzercise, swing patrol, tree climbing (which didn’t need booking but children need to be prepared to wait in a queue) – as well as Dick and Dom, The Gruffalo, Andy & The Odd Socks, Peppa Pig & George, Paddington™, and Justin Fletcher – all for FREE! Of course on top of this was the fun fair and lots and lots of festival things to buy like bubbles, and capes, festival hair and glitter!
Not forgetting that you can feel safe about your children at The Big Feastival with lost child bands to put your phone number on and a lost child tent!
Music at The Big Feastival
A lot of people I spoke to were going to The Big Feastival for the food – because after all that’s why it is a feast and not just a normal festival!: But for me, as much as the food was nice, The Big Feastival was hosting some pretty amazing artist that I really wanted to hear. I went on YouTube and listened to each and every one that was to appear on the main stage – planning my free time to explore the rest of The Big Feastival around it. I discovered some amazing artists I had never heard of before (in particular Duke with their amazing Beatboxing). With a real mix of taking me back to my youth to music currently in the charts (which is still what I love today).
The area in front of the main stage was split with no chairs of any kind (including pushchairs and wheelchairs) allowed beyond these barriers. This meant that wheelchairs users could not be right at the front (this was especially unpopular when Justin Fletcher was on) and at the back everyone sort of reserved their spot putting chairs up and even tables! I felt it could have caused a bit of a health and safety issue if some disaster had happened (like if the rain suddenly got really heavy). Also the wheelchair area did not have a cover – which meant that electric wheelchair users needed to vacate the area and find shelter when it rained.
There was much more to The Big Feastival than the Main Stage but it really was fitting it all in, in what was the quickest weekend ever. My favourite acts from each day have to be The Artful Dodger, Craig David and Paloma Faith: The latter of which really reaching out to the crowd and making them think about things of importance – such as loving their bodies the way they are and being kind every day. I did also enjoy the Bandstand but there was music in Alex James’ Cheese Hub, Silent Disco among many things at The Udder Stage – and much much more.
Conclusion of The Big Feastival 2018
The Big Feastival is definitely a great family festival. Well organised, clean and plenty for the whole family to do. The food and entertainment were fantastic and there was a great festival feel. Like any festival there is room for small improvements but overall it was pretty near perfect – possibly catering for every need.
If you are considering attending The Big Feastival 2019 you may be interested in my Tent Packing checklist:
We were invited to The Big Feastival for purposes of review. All words are honest and my own (apart from where I received feedback about the struggles of those with electric wheelchairs).