The friendly and beautiful Nibley Festival utterly charmed us first time visitors. It was a joy waking up to the awesome countryside views, the music was well pitched and accomplished, and the kids’ activities were well thought out, varied and fun. We had a great time!
We headed to the ‘quieter camping’ field. It was the furthest from the car park, so was a bit more of a trek. It was worth it though for those views!
The camping fields were busy by the time we arrived – around 6 p.m. on the Friday. We were worried we wouldn’t find a spot for our large family tent. Luckily we managed to fit it in near our friends but if I went again, I would definitely try to get there earlier.
You will definitely want to head to ‘quieter camping’ like we did, unless you’re up for a party as we saw some huge groups of younger revelers in the main field having a very lovely and good-natured but raucous time!
Main Festival Site
Once inside the Nibley arena, there were two main fields. The area that housed the main stage also contained lots of the food traders, some stalls, the big wheel and some of the kids’ activities.
One of the things we loved about this space was the picnic tables and chairs near the food stalls. They were usually free and close enough to the main stage that you could chill there and listen to the music.
My kids can be sensitive to loud noise, so we spent quite a bit of time there listening to the bands and enjoying the food.
The next field along, ‘The Orchard’ was the main area for the children’s activities and was like a little festival within a festival.
I loved the chilled-out vibe and how much there was to discover.
There was so much for children to do at Nibley that I don’t think we even scratched the surface!
My 11-year-old son loved the footy skills workshop on the first evening. £1 gave him three shots into an empty goal and the speed of his shot was measured by a clever device.
Children got their name on the board if they got the fastest time for their age group. The ladies running it, from the local football club, were very fun and encouraging. He went back for A LOT of turns.
Another activity my son loved was the BMX display on the Saturday. The compere whipped up a storm with the crowd and the riders were awesome. He got a signed picture afterwards and fist-bumped one of the riders, which was super cute.
My friends had younger children with them and they lapped up so many activities over the weekend. They loved the child-led comedy show by festival favourites The Flying Seagulls. They came with their usual array of fab circus skills too.
Junkfish, another family festival staple, ran the craft tent, which had so many activities all weekend. The children in our group made some fab masks and top hats.
The Nomadic Natural History Museum was fantastic and such a quirky addition. Another favourite was Miss Popularity’s Balloon Comedy Show. She was super funny and entertaining and the adults seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids!
There really was so much to do for children and so much space for them to run around and discover. Fab art installations and roaming performers made it such a lovely space. You could see why there were so many children at the festival.
I didn’t see anything specifically on for teenagers, and though there were lots of teens there having a great time, they seemed to be in groups. My fifteen-year-old definitely would have enjoyed it more if she’d had a friend with her, which we would probably arrange next time. But if you have a child up to the tween age, they’d be hard pressed to be bored.
Almost all the activities were free, other than the big wheel. Some stalls like football skills and lucky dip had small fees, but it really wasn’t a festival where you were dipping into your pockets all the time, which was great.
There was a good choice of food at Nibley. As a family we ate Thai curry, wood-fired pizza, burritos, chips and crêpes. Everything was tasty and the vendors friendly.
Main meals came in at around the £10 mark and there was a great selection of vegan and gluten free options.
And who doesn’t love a Pimms tent?
The music at Nibley was varied and of a very good standard. We watched Feeder from the picnic tables at the back and had a good dance and singalong as we ate. Some friends of ours went right to the front with their kids and said it was such a great atmosphere with a real mix of ages and loads of children.
Dutty Moonshine closed the main stage on the Saturday. A 14-piece big band fusing heavy UK bass with Jazz and fronted by grime and hip hop MCs, they absolutely brought the house down.
But my favourite act of the entire weekend was the skiffle covers band, Thrill Collins. If they ever play near you, I highly recommend checking them out. It was one of the funniest, most joy-filled experiences I’ve ever had at a festival. We danced for the entire set and laughed so, so much at their genuine comedic value.
The festival loos were the usual portable cubicles. They were absolutely fine for most of the weekend, only struggling by the Saturday night. Loo roll and hand sanitizer were available most of the time. Multiple taps were dotted around for drinking water.
The festival isn’t long enough to want to wander far, but we did nip into Dursley on the Saturday morning. It was the only period of the weekend where it rained and we nipped off for a lovely brunch and coffee in a cosy café. I also bought a new dress in a charity shop! It can feel a bit like cheating to leave a festival but we quite like to see a tiny bit of the local area if we get a chance. And the luxury of a flushing toilet is nice!
Would we go again?
Absolutely! We’d just try to pull the kids out of school on the Friday and get there earlier. That way we would be able to make the most of the Friday as well as the Saturday.
There was such a lovely, friendly vibe at Nibley. It managed to appeal to all ages, striking the perfect balance between being a really family friendly event, while there still being plenty of party opportunities for the adults (hello silent disco!) We’d love to go back.
See our Nibley factsheet for more information on the festival.