Standon Calling 2023: Summer in Strange Valley

Once again we were invited to Standon Calling Festival, where 17,000 people enjoyed a weekend of music, comedy, science, swimming and dogs! Headlined by The Human League, Years & Years, Self-Esteem, and Bloc Party – all in Strange Valley!

Strange Valley at Standon Calling 2023

Entertainment at Standon Calling 2023

As well as the Headline Acts there was an enormous array of musical talent including the likes of Rick AstleyMelanie CAnastaciaSquidConfidence ManLF SystemBob VylanSad Night DynamiteKaty BFaithless DJ set, Groove Armada DJ set, ShygirlScouting For GirlsDjango DjangoWe Are Scientists49th & MainGirls Don’t Sync and Sprints.

Whilst also a hugely successful new partnership with BBC Introducing also provided a platform for local artists from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire, Essex and London, including WunderhorseFinn FoxellConnie CampsieArthur HillTibasko and more.

Plus all new FutureFlow hip-hop night in the Cowshed and shows from D Double ESainté, and P-Rallel; and so much hilarious Comedy from the likes of Mark WatsonKiri Pritchard-McleanRhys James and Reginald D. Hunter over on The Lawn.


There was so much to do at @StandonCalling covering a range of interests and tastes. Did you go? What was your best bit? #StandonCalling2023 #EssexFestival #FamilyFestival

♬ OMG – White Gangster

Other highlights of the weekend included the legendary Standon Calling Dog ShowCostume ParadeDick & Dom’s DJ Battle, Skatepark sessions with Scorcha Skate SchoolSwimming PoolFairground rides, Hot TubsWild Wellbeing, In-Conversations and Talks with the likes of Dr. Cheddar Gorgeous and ZAND.

Things to Note

This year a lot of things were the same whilst other things were a bit different. Obviously there were new acts, and once again Standon Calling was cashless. This meant we could easily top up children’s wrist bands without people even realising that they had any money on them – whilst giving the children a bit of independence.


Most things were in the same locations – obviously the pool, The Lawn, The Main Stage, Backstage Bar, Laundry Meadows – but there were new things such as the restaurant and a Guest Bar – and The Village Green only had two food/drink vans, the Corner Shop, The Campsite Office and the Cashless band top-up outlets.

The App

The App is great but make sure you have plenty of charge. Also be prepared for little signal. WiFi was available for a charge. There was a big “Clash Finder” again but what would be great is if the App could put together your schedule from the liked items.

Standon Calling Clash Finder 2023

However, be prepared For change – due to scheduling, crowding, weather, hunger, noise, needing the toilets running out of stuff, mess/mud! For instance, when we turned up at the Hip-Hop academy they weren’t ready so had moved all the timetable.

Food at Standon Calling

All the delicious food was a hit, with the new addition of Canteen Rib & Quinn serving up world-class wood-fired feasts with panoramic views over the festival.

Unfortunately, you still need to head down to the Village Green to purchase food as there’s no food or drink on sale in the camping areas. Of course you could cook back at the tent – with The Corner Shop catering for many needs – including extra gas canisters, lighters and Pot Noodles to name a few.

Standon Calling Inclusive Once Again

Standon Calling’s has a commitment to ensuring diversity and representation across ALL aspects of the festival. This can be witnessed throughout in terms of acts, staff, volunteers, press – and anyone else you can think of!  Personally I would like to thank them for being understanding of my neurodiversities, and of course inviting me along again!

It is the most inclusive family and dog friendly event, with diverse line-up sets – hosting over 50% female and non-binary artists. Self Esteem even pushed back her sound-check so she could watch England’s first game at the Women’s World Cup with festival goers on a big screen on the main stage!

With dedicated areas for both families and dogs, and all the support needed to accommodate and entertain kids of all ages on site. This also included Mortimer Nannies a child minding service.

Sober at a Festival

Although Standon Calling is definitely the place for a party, they recognise that you don’t have to get drunk to do this! As someone who is now tee-total I was pleased about this and pleased to see Lucky Saint there!

Lucky Saint

Lucky Saint is an alcohol free beer, just 53 calories, sugar free and vegan! Free samples were readily available and I can confirm it did taste just like the alcoholic versions and my husband went on to buy a pint. Also in an environmentally friendly plastic refill cup!

Other Sober Options

Of course as a family festival it was good to see that there are plenty of places to access free water – refilling bottles or even plastic cups. Unlike at Wychwood Festival these weren’t placed so adjacent to the toilets and tasted a lot better.

If you fancied something with a bit of flavour there was Rubicon. We loved the Sparkling Passion and Mango drinks – both made with real fruit juice.

Final Thoughts on Standon Calling 2023

We had an excellent time at Standon Calling again with our two boys ages 14 and 15. Neither of which are really into music but I like them to keep being exposed to it because I feel it is so important. But what is really good about Standon Calling is that it is a festival about so much more than the music.

Disappointed to see that there were no she-urinals this year, and that most of the Bushcraft activities were now £5 each – with no axe throwing. But neither affected our experience.

We really enjoyed the science talks this year and loved that we could once again join in with Bernlack’s Bingo! Personally I loved the excuse to dress up and there were many Instagram worth photo opportunities around the festival. These included things set in the theme, with the Pig updated, and the Big Yellow Duck!

Our biggest take homes this year are that a good festival trolley can make SO much difference. Of course you won’t need this is you book to stay in Lavish Lands where you things are transported for you! Oh and Standon Calling really likes to party night and day – don’t forget noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs if you don’t want to party 24:7!

About Standon Calling 2024

Standon Calling will return for its 18th year between 25-28th July 2024. Limited Super Early Bird tickets are available here!

With your chance to win tickets whilst also having a say who should play at Standon Calling 2024!

Standon Calling 2024 - who should play and win tickets
Who do you think should Play at Standon Calling 2024? We are hoping for Becky Hill!!!

Standon Lordship. Hertfordshire. Standon Calling is located at SG11 1EF, a festival in a valley, nestled in the stunning Hertfordshire countryside. It is less than 45 minutes from Central London. With the nearest train stations are Bishop’s Stortford and Ware.

1 thought on “Standon Calling 2023: Summer in Strange Valley”

  1. This sounds like a fantastic festival.
    That is good about it being cashless. I always worry more about losing cash than losing my bank card.
    It does sound like a very diverse festival. There’s something for everyone. x


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.