We all know one, don’t we? The only person in our group of friends that always makes excuses about why they don’t want to sit glued to the computer on Glastonbury ticket release day, or wait for hours in gridlocked traffic trying to get to Download in the pouring rain.
But today I’m thinking about it from the other side of the fence. What if you are that person? What if it’s you that doesn’t like camping in the baking heat with thousands of other half-naked revellers and could easily do without throwing expensive pints of cider down your neck?
Never fear, my friends. If you feel this way, I promise you’re not alone. I’m supposed to be an outdoor-loving hippie, but in truth, I really like my bed and I don’t always want to get swept up in a big free-lovin’ crowd. I’ve only ever been to two festivals in my life, and even though I enjoyed the experience overall, there were parts of both that weren’t really my cup of tea.
So I thought I’d put together a list of six festivals for people who want to hide under a rock when the ubiquitous “which festivals are you going to this year” question gets bandied around at the office. And maybe, just maybe, together we can be brave and enjoy the experience of a quieter, smaller and more intimate gathering of people.
No need for bum-exposing shorts and Native American headdresses, I promise.
If Glastonbury is too big (but you like your music): 2000 Trees
If you want the traditional festival experience but you can’t afford the Glastonbury price tag and you’d rather not trek for hours to get from one side of the campsite to the other, you could do much worse than 2000 Trees Festival in Gloucestershire. I attended for the second time last year and it is such a good option for the festival amateur.
Three days camping, a great selection of bands, a friendly vibe and on the whole, pretty sensible attendees, 2000 Trees is the perfect way to ease yourself into the culture without diving in at the deep end. It’s also ridiculously cheap – weekend camping tickets are only £75! Catch ’em quick though! 2000 Trees takes place from 10th-12th July.
If you want more than hedonism and hangovers: Buddhafield
There aren’t that many alcohol-free festivals here in the UK, but after doing a bit of searching I did find one that caught my eye: Buddhafield. Unfortunately this festival is taking a sabbatical this year and will return in 2015. Boo! However, the organisers have decided to put on a smaller event called Green Earth Awakening Camp that will run from 16th-20th July in the Blackdown Hills, near Wellington, Devon.
Sharing many of the bigger festival’s values, Green Earth Awakening offers live music, dance, green crafts, meditation, a forest school, healing fields and yoga classes. It looks like a lovely intimate event, perfect if you don’t like crowds and would rather not spend your festival days bumping into inebriated folks. Adult tickets cost £80.
If your hayfever spoils all the fun: Looe Music Festival
If siting in a field for a weekend and sneezing your head off isn’t your idea of a good time, I’m with you. I’ve suffered with awful hayfever for most of my life and if I wasn’t dosed up during the summer months I would have a really rough time of it. So how do we sniffly ones get partying without the need for copious tablets and nasal sprays?
When I started looking for the ideal weekend away for a hayfever sufferer, Looe Music Festival in Cornwall caught my eye straight away. Taking place on the beach and in the small surrounding town, there isn’t a field in sight and yet the festival vibes are just as prevalent. Folk favourite Frank Turner is headlining and there are a whole host of other acts that will grace the stages. Tickets start from £67.50 and the festival takes place from 19th-21st September.
If camping isn’t your thing: try “glamping” instead
Look, I get it. Camping isn’t for everyone. Deflating airbeds, lumpy sleeping bags, soggy tents: I don’t believe anyone who says they really enjoy them. Luckily, most festivals have embraced the fact that not all attendees know how to set up a tent in the pouring rain, and many offer pre-erected tents, tipis and yurts that are ready and waiting for you upon arrival.
One of the best options I found for anyone that doesn’t like the idea of sleeping in a cramped tent was Rewind Festival. Being held in three locations (Cheshire, Henley-upon-Thames and Perth, Scotland) this eighties festival looks like a lot of fun! And they’re ensuring you can camp in style with the choice of cloud houses, bell tents and pod pads. Check out the glamping section of their website for more info. Tickets start at 117.50.
If you’re taking the kiddies with you: Shambala
Many festivals claim to be “family friendly”, but I know that if I was taking my (albeit imaginary) kids with me to a huge weekend party, I’d want assurances that they were going to not only be safe, but entertained and catered for too. So I took it quite seriously when I started looking for the best festival option for families, and after a prolonged search I hit upon Shambala.
Winner of both the Festival Kidz Festival of the Year and the Green Parent Festival of the Year awards in 2013, Shambala dedicates a huge section of its festival (and indeed its website) to families and children. With several dedicated family fields, kid-sized loos, adventure playgrounds, nature workshops, free-play activities, baby changing facilities, bedtime stories in the family yurt and even a creche, it’s no wonder families come back year after year.
And if for some reason you still don’t believe me, check out this adorable video.
If they’re all too expensive: your local community festival
There’s no denying that going to a festival is an expensive affair. Not only do you have to cover the cost of the ticket, travel to the site and food and drink throughout the weekend, there’s all your camping gear to worry about too. It’s no wonder a lot of us decide not to bother.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the atmosphere. Almost every town or city in the UK has some sort of summer community festival you can get involved in, and most of them are free. You’ll get local bands, stalls, and even food and drink without having to travel too far from home or worry about camping.
Additionally, last year I wrote a post called The Ultimate Festival Packing List for Girls, which might help you out if you’re struggling with what to take to your first festival. Whatever you get up to and wherever you go, make sure you have a ton of fun and make some good memories that will carry you through the winter and on until summertime 2015!