Last weekend we took the motorhome over to Wales for a festival with a difference. While there was music, there was also a whole heap of other forms of entertainment on offer too. We learned about campfire cooking, watched how to make a wooden bow and heard all about iron forgery… so where were we?
We were at The Good Life Experience in Hawarden, Flintshire. The Good Life Experience is in it’s third year in 2016 and has gone from strength to strength since it started out. It’s a celebration of books, poetry, food and cooking, bushcraft, music and much, much more.
Hawarden Estate in Flintshire is a working farm in North Wales. They also have a brilliant selection of pick-your-own fruit and veg throughout the year and have a brilliant farm shop and cafe too. For the past three years, Hawarden Estate Farm has also been home to The Good Life Festival. The festival was founded by friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone and is a celebration of great food, axe throwing, campfire cooking, mass sing-a-longs, comedy, beer served by experts, talks by explorers, raucous music, abseiling, a 1930s fairground, butchery displays, poetry, literature, endless How To… talks.
There is so much on throughout the three day festival you couldn’t possibly fit it all in. Luckily, there’s a programme available on arrival or you can simply print it off the website before you arrive. If you opt for the latter, you can plan your weekend out perfectly, ensuring you don’t miss anything you particularly wanted to see.
There are several main areas, which this year were:
This is where all large scale and headline acts were, including Ben Fogle, Michael Morpurgo, Booka Brass Band, modern jazz band The Shirt Tail Stompers and many more. On the Friday and Saturday evenings the main stage hosted DJ sets for attendees until quite late on.
Meditation, tree climbing, a family treasure hunt and creative writing workshop were just a handful of things on offer at The Academy. Definitely the place to be if you fancied learning a new skill as a family.
Named after the former Prime Minister, the William Gladstone tent was home to some fantastic DJ sets as well as the meeting place for early morning runs and foraging walks.
Ever wanted to know more about juicing? Home brew? Honey bees? Speakers’ Corner was where that was at. Also offering the chance to listen in on organiser Cerys Matthews chatting with The Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson.
Hawarden Estate Farm Shop Butchery
Adults and children gathered here to learn about butchery, sausage making, and the plucking and skinning of birds. A class on what and how to eat when foraging for food was also really interesting here.
Caught by the River
A celebration of everything away from the hustle bustle of daily life was in the Caught by the River area. To find out more about Caught by the River, pop over to their website.
Amongst many other things, Pit Baked Lamb, foraged food and Paella were all prepared in front of an audience over at Campfire Cooking. A really interesting part of the festival for me.
Why yes, since you ask, there was plenty more besides everything listed above.
There was something for all of us, even Eric who was just 4 weeks old took advantage of the free sun cream outside the first aid tent. I’ll have to do a separate post detailing our highlights though or you’ll be reading this post forever!
I am so pleased that we were invited to cover The Good Life Experience on That Lancashire Lass. We go to a lot of events and have attended a few festivals too, but we have never come away quite so enthusiastic about literally everything we took part in, saw and learned.
Tickets were sold for the full weekend and no day tickets were available. There were camping facilities available onsite for tents, campervans and glamping in pre-erected bell tents. The campervan supplement tickets were already sold out before I discovered The Good Life Experience, so we stayed on a nearby site.
Tickets for The Good Life Experience 2017 are already on sale. If you’re quick you can catch them at the early bird prices – just head to the Pedlars website.