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Chilled in a Field Festival held on 3-5 August 2018 at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum was a small but perfectly formed festival.
This was our first festival as a family, and apart from far-off teenage memories of Reading festival, my first for a long time. Chilled in a Field Festival felt like the perfect re-introduction to festival fun: it is small, only over an hour away from London and a not-for-profit social enterprise run entirely by volunteers.
Unfortunately we missed the opening of Chilled in a Field Festival on Friday but arrived ready to dip our toe early on Saturday morning. The car park was only a short walk to the camping field, although we envied the camping trolleys/wheelbarrows and will definitely invest in one for next year. We chose, like most of the families with young children, to pitch up in the ‘Early Bird’ camping field which had a strict no sound after 10pm rule, although its proximity to the main festival field meant the music from the main stage could be heard until 11:30pm. As keen campers the proximity of our tent to the next family was uncomfortable to begin with. However the 10 minute pitch time of our Coleman Fast Pitch tent impressed the neighbours and served to break the ice!
We headed into the main field for lunch and was pleased with the wide variety of choices, including children’s options, and the covered eating benches provided which was much appreciated in the 30 degree sun. It became very clear that we were not wearing ‘true’ festival clothes: more bright colours and glitter needed next time! After our re-fuel we headed to the Woodland Stage and Bar to find some shade. We had just missed the Tot Rocking beats kiddie rave which were later told was more toddling than rocking, and we saw the Rhubarb Theatre Three Suitcases performance which for the over 5s was too old for our two, but had a huge crowd laughing and pointing in amazement. Both boys were amazed and impressed by the TwistingSpace marble run made entirely in wood and slung between 4 trees with rope: a competition ensued to see whose marble could reach the bottom of the run successfully. It kept them entertained for ages.
On the way back to the Wonderland Bar we discovered that the model steam railway which is a permanent fixture of the ‘Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum’ was accepting festival goers at £1 a ride. Our youngest was beside himself with excitement! Suffice to say that was not the last time we had to ride on the train- although it did give a great tour of the festival site. We also stumbled across another permanent fixture at the site: Branching Out Adventures. This is a rope obstacle course in the trees which fascinated our two, who were of course too young this time to try it out, but it would make a great alternative shady activity to amuse jaded festival goers.
The Wonderland tent housed not just the main bar but also a party charity who entertained the kids with games such as ladders, human bungee hungry hippos and giant twister, leaving their parents to sample the array of ciders, beers and much to my delight gins, whilst reclining on a comfy cushion. The entertainers had so much energy and really captivated their young audience. We left this tent briefly for the obligatory face painting and purchase of superhero fancy dress costumes but really began to relax in to the chilled vibe of the festival here.
After some downtime back at the tent on our newly purchased ‘Chill Sac Laybag’ we headed back out to the woodland stage to dance to the DJs as the sun set between the trees- this was definitely my Chilled in a Field Festival highlight until our youngest fell off a pile of logs and the dancing was cut short by a trip to the St John’s ambulance tent, who on our arrival earlier enchanted the boys by allowing them to sit in the ambulance, wear the helmets and turn the lights on. After being patched up the main stage beckoned with a set from MUSEK- a Muse ‘tribute’ band. Here the music, which had been a pleasing background noise before really took centre stage and we really felt the festival vibe: kids asleep in wagons, families reclined on blankets, children bopping to the music in headphones and adults blasting out long forgotten tunes surprised at just how many Muse tunes we knew.
A fire show took our attention on the way back to the tent, and seemed to give our 4 year old second wind as he stayed up with obligatory glo stick and light show to dance to Tom Williams- the headline act on the main stage. I was upset to not be able to partake in the Silent Disco at the Woodland stage which went on until 4am- where is that babysitter when you need them?!
After a much needed lie-in on Sunday morning and refuelled by a wholesome smoothie and ethically sourced coffee the boys had their turn bouncing on the inflatables which put us all in the mood for the Play tent. We had missed it yesterday and arrived to see the end of the Family glitter wrestling- just as it is described! In the tent toddling babies were tumbling over soft play blocks and we enjoyed playing giant Jenga and Connect 4. Here we built towers of giant lego and there were creative activities too, all to the background noise of the drumming workshop outside. This tent was excellent for younger children and outside it we also discovered the sandpit.
Tired, grubby and covered in glitter we reluctantly left for home. I can honestly say that this was one of the most enjoyable days I have spent with my little family- Chilled in a Field Festival really was chilled in a field (and wood). Everyone was so friendly, accepting and welcoming. There was so much for the kids to do and although the site and festival was small it really was perfectly formed. I am a reformed festival convert!
Chilled in a Field Festival is back on 26-28 July 2019 at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum
Tickets on sale NOW
We are a nation of festival lovers. It seems we love nothing more than live music, performance and dance, arts and crafts in a field with some rain, some sun, and lots and lots of mud. We have also recently gone nuts for Family Friendly Festivals and here at Mini Travellers we have loads and loads of Family Friendly Festival reviews for you to check out before you decide to book one!
Why not PIN this post about Chilled in a Field Festival