Folk by the Oak 2022 couldn’t have come at a better moment. It was our first little toe dip back into festivals after a long pandemic break. We were eased in with soothing songs and a laid back vibe. Just as well, with the weather building to its record breaking crescendo, a chilled out festival was just what we needed. We even got to go home to our own beds afterwards.
Folk by the Oak is a one day festival in the vast grounds of Hatfield house, just north of London. We arrived by car, but with our air con broken I wished we’d come by train instead. Hatfield station is directly opposite the entrance to the estate.
Thankfully Folk by the Oak was prepared for the heat. The queue to get in was mostly in the shade and moved quickly. Once through the gates we made straight for the covered acorn stage. This turned out to be a great move, while we ate our picnic we listened to the London Youth Folk Ensemble and then a young singer songwriter called Eirra. with a stunning voice and beautiful songs.
When we eventually ventured out from the shade of the acorn stage we found other defenses against the heat. There were prominent water refill points and the girls were absolutely delighted when we discovered “the spray tent”. Essentially a gazebo sized shower that became a dance venue for our youngest daughters and their new found friends.
Despite being just a small one day festival there was plenty on offer for children. The children’s area had circus skills, a climbing wall, archery and an array of craft activities. Unfortunately we found the craft tent a bit too late. Perhaps unsurprisingly the fan making activity table had run out of materials.
I had been a bit concerned that hiding out in the acorn stage would mean we couldn’t get a view of the main stage later on. This is very much a bring a chair type festival. Actually in some cases it was bring chairs, tables and a gazebo. This was well organised though and the gazebos had a designated area at the back that didn’t obscure anyone else’s view.
We were traveling light but in the end had no problem finding a spot with a good view of the stage and it was easy enough to wander right down to the front as well.
Like many people we took a picnic but there was plenty of other food on offer. So once the kids had finished off everything we brought with us they were delighted to find the waffle on a stick van. I think my 9 year old could start her own website reviewing festival food vans, waffle on a stick would be highly rated.
There were also pies, toasties and burgers on offer. Including vegetarian, vegan and kids options. Beer and Cider were £6 a pint plus £1 for a disposable cup with the first drink.
Sadly with a drive right around London ahead of us, and school in the morning, we had to leave before the headline act. This year it was The Proclaimers.
But as we braced ourselves for the coming 40 degree heat and several days of hiding indoors with the curtains drawn, we had at least had a lovely day of shade, beautiful music and running about getting absolutely soaked.