A warm welcome from our blissful Blissfields family
Something amazing happened to our family at Blissfields festival this year. It was so amazing that it reminded me why I am so enthusiastic about taking my children to festivals. But just to keep you all in suspense I’ll get back to that later.
The whole site is just one large field, so if you lose your children you can easily find them again, and it’s even possible to leave the older ones doing some arts and crafts while you sneak off to watch a few songs on the main stage.
It has a proper ‘party’ vibe, and appears to be a favourite for teenagers at their first festival, so if you want to keep your children away from such things this might not be for you. But the atmosphere is incredibly laid back and friendly, and for me it’s great to see people actually dancing to the music instead of sitting on deck chairs (as happens with an older crowd).
This year the family camping had been moved back to the furthest corner of the field away from the stages, where it was in 2013, and this was an excellent thing. We were far enough away from the crowds to get a decent night’s sleep.
There were also family-only toilets. However the rest of the campsite found out about them, and as there were only 3, they filled up and were horrible by the end of the first day. I reported this and they were cleaned out almost immediately, and every day from then on. Blissfields is that sort of place.
Apart from the general bad state of the toilets on site (and there were kids-only toilets in the kids’ area, which meant the children didn’t have to be subjected to them), the whole festival was absolutely perfect this year. Blazing sunshine helped, and we keep meeting people each year to add to our Blissfields family. This year we met several single parents which was great to see. A fantastic time was had by everyone.
The music at Blissfields is always such high quality, with something on offer for all tastes. The great thing about the main stage is there are things for the children to climb on and play with nearby.
The best of these being a large hippo and tennis balls to throw into his mouth. It kept the children occupied while we enjoyed the music – and it was all in the shade of a few large trees so a perfect place to escape the heat of the day.
The Crafts area was up near the main stage, with lots on offer for both adults and children. The children spent a long time making pendants out of slate, and my eldest went on to make a wooden spatula, and a wooden pen turned on a lathe. She took a huge shine to the electric wooden lutes and played them at every opportunity, even learning a little tune.
I don’t normally see much music at festivals these days, but at Blissfields I saw quite a few acts. I even managed a proper dance at the front! One of my favourite acts, The Dub Pistols, gave an energetic and crowd-rousing performance, and they enjoyed themselves so much they even jumped into the audience and crowd-surfed across the field to great cheers and laughter.
I also loved Ghostpoet, with his wonderful spoken word poetry. Public Service Broadcasting was another favourite of mine. Their performance and light show was a highlight of the weekend. I’d never seen the Correspondents before, but their music was infectious, jazzy and impossible not to dance to. The singer’s dance moves wowed a packed crowd on the Thursday night.
However the true highlight for me had to be the great Grandmaster Flash. He got the whole field up and jumping, even on a hot afternoon. Mixing classic dance tracks and whooping up the crowd to get their “hands in the air”.
The food at Blissfields is good and we decided not to take a stove and eat out the whole time. This did prove to be a little expensive – it would have been good to have been able to get half portions for children. The best thing was the wood fired pizza. The tent had a climbing wall inside it which meant we could sit and eat while the children were entertained.
There was a range of different food – burgers, toasties, noodles, breakfasts, burritos, sushi, curry – plenty to keep everyone happy. The kids’ café in Angel Gardens was absent this year and it was greatly missed; we hope it reappears next year. There was also the addition of the Cereal Killer Café which the children absolutely loved. But it was a bit steep at £5 for a box of cereal plus toppings. Luckily they were happy to split one portion into two boxes for us.
The Kids Field
We spent most of the festival in Angel Gardens, a kids’ area that has such a special energy about it driven by the wonderful Angel staff. There was a never-ending array of workshops, arts and crafts, circus skills, science shows, bubbles and dancing.
One other mother remarked to me that dancing with her daughter in the kiddie disco was more fun than being at the main stage and I had to agree with her. My eldest daughter, now 8, is always complaining that she is bored – not here. She did nearly every single workshop and activity on offer. She even went to a DJ workshop and spent 20 minutes on the decks, loving every minute of it.
When she told me she was going in for the talent show I was surprised and pleased – my child is not one to get up on stage with an audience, she is usually quite shy. But she lined up to DJ in the talent show. Then the amazing thing happened. Grandmaster Flash appeared in the kids’ field to see the young DJs.
The man was a superstar; he listened to them play, spoke briefly about how we should encourage young DJs, and gave out certificates to the children. The look on my daughter’s face was something I will treasure my whole life, as he gave her a certificate then shouted “Put your hands in the air for Eloise!” We all cheered and shouted. It reminded me why festivals are so important in our lives – to encourage our children to try out different things and to have exciting new experiences.
Thank you Blissfields
So thank you Blissfields for that, and thank you for another truly amazing weekend. We walked away with several new friends, a bit of sunburn, and happy children with the widest smiles.