Maui Waui we love you! It’s been some years since we discovered a new festival and immediately felt at home. This perfectly formed little hidden gem ticked all the boxes for the whole family and we just adored it. A proper festival without the commercialism and rubbish of some these days, it just had that special authentic magic we haven’t found since saying goodbye to Festival Kidz favourite Blissfields.
The 8th Maui Waui was held at the festival’s new home of Hill Farm in Norfolk. Considering its tiny size of around 5,000 guests Maui Waui did not disappoint, and even though there were a few teething problems expected from a new festival location, we would highly recommend it to other families and are already planning to return with friends.
Creativity and Kids
Priding itself on its family-friendly credentials, Maui Waui is welcoming to all ages. We were there with older kids who loved the freedom they were able to enjoy. But even with very young children, the beautiful site was spacious enough to wander freely with plenty of seating and quiet shady spots under old trees or quirky installations for kids to explore.
For a small festival, the dedicated kids’ area located near the main stage was packed with content including craft, storytelling, cooking, kids disco, drumming workshops, dance classes, bouncy castle and slide, and even a wagon of curiosity. All FREE. The festival even ran ‘treasure hunt style’ competitions for kids and adults with a chance to win 2022 tickets. What we loved, however, was the craft area in the main festival site. Everyone was so welcoming and happy to demonstrate their skills. It felt relaxed and not overcrowded like so many festivals these days. We never had to queue for any activities, even at mealtimes the food vendors and bars were quick and efficient.
Fun and Games
Kids were encouraged to creatively join in all weekend with a family parade, a talent show, tug of war and silly games, circus workshops, and of course, the famous Paint Pixies mega paint fight which just got bigger each day. We loved the relaxed, inclusive vibe at Maui Waui and it was clear there is a lot of love from everyone involved.
Festival highlight for our kids were the daily paint fights, the wonky bikes, electric hamster racing, and meeting the ever so friendly and inspiring Monkey Business aerialists who performed at the main stage and were also kind enough to let the kids show what they can do on their rig. Thanks for your encouragement!
Like a few other daytime venues, The Foolhardy Circus tent turned into an evening venue with a late-night Psychedelic Circus. By day, the circus tent was packed with all kinds of performances for families. Sunday night the venue that had housed a full day of Living Art Show body painting creativity went neon and became a full-on UV rave. Lots of fun, if a little sweaty!
The only real complaint we heard was from a couple of families who struggled to sleep due to the proximity of the dance area and family camping. Something we’re confident the organisers will take on board for future planning. There was a quiet camping area located further away from the festival – a bit more of a trek for little legs but something to consider if you need peace at night.
Music and more
The ‘Outer Limits’ new dance area was awesome and LOUD. We are a dance music-loving family and got stuck into enjoying this and the Section 63 area but I think a mixture of crew excitement and 18 months of dreaded Covid meant Friday went a little wild (and didn’t seem to stop!). It was pretty apparent festival-goers hadn’t been out for a while, including a large number of teens who’d likely ‘come of age’ during lockdown, and they were ready to seriously party late into the night. Officially, the campsite was supposed to be quiet after 1am. We felt a little attention to keep those that want to stay up all night and those that don’t happy so everyone can enjoy the weekend would help.
The main stage at Maui Waui is in a large big top and we had no problem getting close up to lots of great live performances. You could also choose to sit on benches at the edge of the tent or just outside and the accessibility platform seemed to provide a good viewing platform for hoards of little ones all weekend.
Music at Maui Waui is outstanding and we discovered some newfound favourites. It was great to catch high-energy festival favs the Dub Pistols and, as always, Goldie Lookin Chain put on a fab show to close Sunday night. Teenager’s fav was hip hop duo The Scribes and all the late-night DJ’s. Husbands favourite were Rollo Markee and the Tailshakers on the Jeremiah Marques tribute stage. Personal favourites were The Baghdaddies, Dutty Moonshine, Sunscreem and a surprise appearance from Max Pashm & his pretty splendid brass player. I may have been suffering from a broken wrist from a previous accident, but boy did I dance my socks off at Maui Waui. I take my festival hat off to whoever programmed the stupendous line-up!
Facilities and friends
Across the festival site, lots of stalls were selling vintage clothes and festival attire and our family all enjoyed a daily wander and a good rummage. My youngest was in heaven in the festival sweet shop and even my husband bought himself some handmade jewelry. In the evenings we really liked the ‘Fantastical Contraptions’ artistic seating circle with gas lamps and wood burners made from upcycled metal and also serving pretty special coffees. We met heaps of lovely people and everyone was happy to sit and catch up with new and old friends.
Showers were available in the campsite and never too busy with plenty of toilets in the main camping area. Food and drink were some of the cheapest festival prices we’ve found with a pint of beer (with cup deposit scheme) just £4. Yes… £4!! Plenty of reasons the festival asks guests not to bring in their own, although you are welcome to do this at the campsite.
It’s clear that Maui Waui has a dedicated following and we are sure will continue to go from strength to strength. There is so much love and good old-fashioned festival vibes in this perfectly formed little treasure. Visit the dedicated Facebook fan group here to see what others got up to. Kids 13 and under are completely free and adult tickets are around £100 making it excellent value for families and groups of friends (see their website for group booking discount).
Thanks for inviting us along. See you next year. Maui Waui will be held again over the August Bank Holiday weekend and family-friendly priced tickets are on sale now. Don’t forget KIDS GO FREE!