This was such a lovely way for us to start the season. Magical Faerie Festival is such a short distance from my home in the beautiful Sussex Downs.
If you haven’t been to the Cuckmere valley, then it is worth a visit for the area’s year round appeal. But it is an even better idea to combine it with this festival.
It is so relaxed and friendly. We drove up to the entrance just after lunch on the Saturday and were greeted with a cuddle from Matthew Callow himself. He is the festival organiser, but also one of the highlights of the stage. I’d definitely suggest checking out his music.
It’s a small festival spread over a few fields. There is camping available, but because of the numbers, it’s all in the one field. This is perfect though as it is accessible and family friendly. The festival clientele are such a lovely bunch that a separate quiet camping area just isn’t necessary.
Food & Drink
A corner of the field is dedicated to dining. All food was vegetarian with vegan options. The prices were reasonable. A wood fired pizza was £5.
The bar stocked an impressive range of real ciders and local ales, for less than £4 a pint. I didn’t see any queues at all.
There were just the right amount of stalls, largely selling the expected alternative clothes, jewellery and handcrafted items. One stall had beautiful handmade masquerade masques which I meant to go back to, but forgot. Fortunately I did pick up a card, and would thoroughly recommend a visit to Art of Spellbound.
The lady at Fun Hair Stuff was another example of how friendly and helpful everyone was. She didn’t have the particular masque that I was looking for, but I’m assured that she is busy making it for me now!
I think as a family we all agreed on our favourite stall. The Magic Box was the first close up magic stall that I can recall seeing at a festival, and it was such a good idea.
Magic Josh had previously provided the magic at Hamleys, but is looking to take his art to as many family festivals as he can. This was his first, and I really hope we see him at a lot more, as the magic was mind blowing.
My husband and son did buy a few tricks from him, but I won’t get involved with the ‘how to’ as I don’t want to spoil it! If any festival organisers are reading this, then please do look at booking him as he is GREAT!
There was a circus skills area and separate shop. The team from the shop were very popular with my daughter, who learnt a lot of new tricks for the hula hoop. I loved the skills area, there were stilts and a large number of steppers, which aren’t usually on hand at festivals.
CircusSeen had provided the equipment and were so helpful. My son had wandered over there almost as soon as we arrived at the festival. Happy that he was safe, we stopped to look at a stall, and then turned back to see two ladies holding him up while he tried out the a stepper.
The festival wasn’t particularly aimed at young families. There is no dedicated baby or toddler area. However, a nursing mother would have felt comfortable anywhere due to the overall friendly, laid back vibe. There was comfy seating in the bar, and it was fine to change a nappy anywhere.
Of the stage acts, I think the drumming and story telling went down very well with the younger audience. My six year old especially liked the Pentacle Drummers.
Young and old faeries alike also enjoyed the face painting. 1066 Falconry were there, and several adults and children gave a small donation to experience having an owl on their arm.
I was sorry to miss the fire shows, which were a bit late for my little ones. I heard they were spectacular.
The festival is on an campsite, which is brilliant. Campers have full use of hot showers, flushing toilets and washing up areas with hot and cold running water. As the numbers were small, so were the queues.
The site is small, flat, and easy to navigate. Good news for attendees with mobility issues. Although there were no disabled toilets we could see, which needs addressing.
The Castle Stage was easily visible from about half of the main festival field. So there’s probably no need for a viewing platform.
I think everyone who went had a lovely weekend, and will keep returning. I certainly hope to go back for its tenth anniversary next year.