Tag Archives: manchester

The time I fell in love with festivals

Michelle, Stav, me, Katie and Serena

Michelle, Stav, me, Katie and Serena

There’s always one moment that sparks a passion, whether it is the moment you first hear a favourite band, the moment you realise the career you want, that first moment you lock eyes with the one you love – for me, it was at The Parklife Weekender that I realised I was a true festival girl.

It sounds trivial and more of a hobby, but realising how much I love the atmosphere of music festivals, the people there and the sheer escapism of it all that has really changed my life over the last two years. I went to the festival in 2012 with my university housemates – it was our reunion and had been months since we last saw each other. It was tricky to organise meet-ups b=with us all scattered across the country, but when someone suggested we do a festival we all jumped at the chance!

Serena and I

Serena and I

Parklife was a great choice, not only did it take us all to a city that some of us had never been to, but it was a non-camping festival to ease us all in. We rented a gorgeous luxury apartment in the city centre and all piled in buzzing with excitement after a long drive from all directions. We arrived in Manchester in the pouring rain and were pretty worried about the festival site and how muddy it would be the next day – but we needn’t have worried, excellent drainage meant that despite a full 24 hours of hard rain, it was actually pretty dry! We had glorious sunshine for the rest of the weekend and loved every second of wandering across the festival fields, exploring the tents and generally having an amazing time.

parklife 3

Two years on, I can’t even remember which acts we saw except from some of the highlights – Dizzee Rascal’s set was incredible and I remember dancing on a wheelie bin with two of my friends until it collapsed. Labrinth was also amazing and perfect for watching in the sunshine. We also spent hours in one tent watching Jaguar Skills, Chase and Status, Zane Lowe and a bunch of other DJs. The rest is a blur of warm cider, smelly portaloos and meeting randoms – but I know one thing, and that was that I had a bloody good weekend with my girls.

Glade Festival

Glade Festival

Pete, Banks and me

Pete, Banks and me

Parklife was my first ever festival and it helped me to realise that I am not as much of a girlie girl as I had previously thought, so much so that I went to my second festival – Glade Festival – a week later and raved all weekend. This was also incredible. I was loving my time at the festivals so much that my boyfriend suggested I get in contact with a festival news website and see if they were looking for reviewers or writers – I did and was taken straight on as a staff writer for This Festival Feeling. They gave me the opportunity to review the brand new Zoo Project Festival in Kent and I jumped at the chance, despite this being the first camping festival. My boyfriend and I went along with two friends and met some others there for this zoo-themed festival that was taking place at an actual zoo!

Sarah, me, Mark and Piers

Sarah, me, Mark and Piers

We had a perfect weekend of camping, drinking, raving, exploring the zoo, laughing at the gorillas, meeting the meerkats and making all kinds of friends. It was truly epic and we all had such an amazing time. It really cemented for me what festivals are all about – good friends, good memories and pure escapism. It was awful coming home and back to reality after such a good weekend, but it really brought the four of us closer together.

Sarah and me meet the locals

Sarah and me meet the locals

That summer changed my life. It sounds silly, but that first festival really has turned me into a different person, has opened me up to meeting so many new people and to new experiences and has given me so many amazing memories. As a result, I have become the editor of This Festival Feeling, which last year gave me the opportunity to review Croatia’s Hideout Festival. I have become the type of girl who camps with no worries, isn’t bothered about not washing her hair for a week, can cope with portaloos, camping with boys only, can rave all night and cope with no sleep in four days, can walk all day every day and much more. And I absolutely love it. Bring on the next festival season and all the adventures ahead.

Piers and Mark making friends

Piers and Mark making friends

Is there a moment that has changed your life? Something that seems small at the time but has made a big difference?

Part 1: A busy summer touring round as many festivals as possible – Wyndstock and Hideout Festival

Now that the summer is clearly drawing to a close, I’ve spent the last week huddled under an umbrella with soggy feet in my sad-looking ballet pumps, shivering despite wearing several layers and the token pashmina has come out of storage. I find myself reminiscing and feeling pretty happy with the way I spent my summer, after a short holiday in Croatia for a music festival, forgoing my usual two-week break abroad, I spent the rest of the summer touring around music festivals across the UK and for once getting to make the most of the beautiful, if late, summer we have had in the UK.

After discovering music festivals last year when I went to Manchester’s Parklife Weekender with my university friends, they ignited something in me that although already aware of, had never really unleashed before now. My love of music, dancing and meeting all types of new people from across the country was perfectly suited to the lifestyle and I had no choice but to further indulge when I went along to Glade Festival and Zoo Project Festival – all attracting very different crowds, from the chavvier types to the laid back hippies, I had a fantastic time at all and quickly decided that 2013 would be my festival summer.

Thankfully, my friends, family and jobs all helped to make this happen and despite going to five festivals this summer, I actually only paid for one set of tickets – top blagger, I know.

It all started at Wyndstock, a new addition to the scene which is marketed as the anti-festival. Set up by Victor Wynd as a party for his friends and like-minded individuals to enjoy a Midsummer Ball in the beautiful setting of Houghton Hall, in my home town, the event is for the more upmarket festival-goer. There was dancing, feasting, fireworks, literature talks, petting of prize bulls, a “fox hunt”, falconry, puppet theatre, lawn games, tours of the stately home, jazz, storytelling and stargazing amongst many more amazing activities. My favourite was the swing-dancing lessons and competition, which my boyfriend won and was very proud about. I love anything vintage-inspired and Gatsby-esque and this was an amazing opportunity to get very glammed up and go to a banquet of lobster and venison before partying the night away with some amazing people.

Before the hunt, meeting the horses and hounds..

Glammed up for the banquet and a night of dancing..

Meeting the host for the evening, Victor Wynd himself…

Our swing-dancing teachers shared dinner with us..

Mark winning the swing-dancing competition..

All in all, a very fun festival with amazing benefits such as being a small and intimate affair, and very posh toilets and showers!

Then we boarded a plane to the Island of Pag in Croatia for Hideout Festival which was very much a festival for the beautiful people – everyone had amazing bodies and the perfect tan. But I wasn’t bothered about all of that, we had a team of friends with us and more meeting us out there for one thing only – to dance until the sun came up every day. 

There were a lot of amazing DJs coming along to play the festival and I was very excited to see a whole range of them including Julio Bashmore, Chase and Status, Skream and Benga, David Rodigan, Rudimental, Seth Troxler, Andy C, Pendulum, Redlight, B-Traits and many, many more… Here are some of my snaps:

Sunset on the first day in Croatia.. such a beautiful country!

Packed out stages…

The King’s Lynn crew ready to rave until dawn..

David Rodigan – one of my favourite sets of the whole week!

Raving is even more fun when you do it with some of your best friends…

Chase and Status were pretty intense…

Boat party with Midland, MK and Julio Bashmore playing… so nice to get away from the festival for a short time..

And sadly, ending with Rudimental, who only gave a rubbish DJ set rather than a full show – such a disappointment!

I wrote about my experiences at Hideout Festival in a preview and review for This Festival Feeling in exchange for press tickets.

Check out my next posts for the rest of my experiences…