2018 marks our third year of attending Standon Calling. This is most wonderful family friendly and dog friendly festival in the depths of the Hertfordshire countryside. I say depths, its near Ware so 100% accessible from London. And it has the best music, comedy and stuff to the kids (and parents) happy for a whole weekend. Here are my best and worst bits. Gotta be honest folks!
The Best Bits
Oh my gosh the music was amazing this year. Each year Alex the organiser goes in high to get the best artists to perform and he did good this year. Headliners were Paloma Faith on Friday, George Ezra on Saturday and Bryan Ferry on Sunday. How good does that sound?
Check out this YouTube vlog for day 1 of the festival, recorded at 6am on the Saturday from the campsite. I was the only person awake in the entire festival😊 day 2 can be found at the very end of the vlog so keep on reading!
So yes, the music, my personal highlights were obviously the headliners, Paloma Faith was incredible. Her voice is divine, and she sounds just like she does on the radio! She has such a good natter with the audience talking kindness, loving yourself and the environment. She has a right good chat about her Skoda ad which I thought was funny as she started off by talking about famous folk who sell out. But like what I do, if you are approached to work with a brand that you really believe in, whom have the same brand values as you. Why not work with them and share the messages of both brands.
George Ezra was of course amazing, and we got to watch from stage left in the press area. A money cannot buy moment that makes me very grateful to run Mrs Mummypenny and enjoy these experiences. Josh and I watched the delightful Hollie Cook earlier in the day and we interviewed her as well. It was refreshing to chat to down to earth very normal singer. Her music is reggae-pop, colourful, summery. I recorded the interview to include in my podcast which will be aired 14th July.
Other highlights included the Bootleg Beatles who were so so good. I sang along like a teenager to everything. I really wanted to spend hours in the dance tents to DJ’s like Hot Chip, Jarvis Cocker and 2manyDJs. Next year I will ensure I have some childfree time. Josh, although hardcore, wasn’t up for the dance tents.
The Wellbeing Area
I LOVED this area and spent mucho time here as I bought a weekend pass. This got me an hour in the wooden hot tubs every day. Unlimited usage of hot showers, nice toilets and sauna.
On the Sunday it was raining but it was perfect in the 35-degree hot tub as the rain poured. The wooden cabin sauna was so good, again when it was raining. There was a yoga tent with free classes, we watched a dance yoga class from the comfort of the hot tub.
Our weekend pass to the wellbeing area cost £55 for the weekend and children aged 12 and under could go in for free. Considering the alcoholic drinks cost around £8 to £10 each this was £55 well spent on wellbeing and relaxation.
The Children Entertainment
The boys got to do loads of fun stuff in addition to the hot tub and sauna (they loved that they were allowed in as normally kids are not allowed!). Dylan and Josh did binocular football and zorbing. The football involved wearing funny goggles that made it very hard to kick the ball. And then zorbing in the giant inflatable balls smashing into each other.
There is a beautiful pool that they wanted to go back to time and time again, four times all together. Yes, four times for a three-day festival weekend. On the Sunday when it was a bit cooler Josh had the whole pool to himself, his top highlight of the weekend!
There was a big wheel, dodgems and a swing chair ride (ha-ha not sure of the actual name!), they had a go on everything. Jack loving the big wheel and went on with his big brother.
The Go Get Glitter team was there again doing the most beautiful glitter art on everyone. We saw some brilliant art, glittered hair, beards, jewels. I had one side of my face glittered up. It was tough for those guys in the wind and rain though and lost their marquee in the wind on the Saturday.
The Worst Bits
The amount of money we spent
We spent an absolute fortune. Around £250 went onto our wrist bands and was spent so quickly. The food was a lot. It was all very lovely food, but it was expensive. Hotdogs were £8, coffee was £3, alcoholic drinks were £8 to £10, crepes were £5 (not too bad!), toasties were £5, brownies were £3.50. Keeping the 5 of us fed was not cheap.
On the Saturday morning the payment machines were not working, and the lovely guys ear the family camping area gave us bacon sarnies and coffee. We went back later to settle, and they gave us free milkshakes to say thank you for our honesty.
The summer of 2018 saw 50 days in a row of hot sunny weather until the last weekend of July where we saw torrential downpours, thunder and lightning and wind of 40 miles per hour. All when we were camping. At 6pm on Friday night we cowered in our tent whilst a full-on thunder and lightning storm went on right above out heads.
The hot weather made it incredibly difficult to put up the tent and to hammer in the tent pegs. Even adding water to the holes was not helping. It took Dylan, Josh and I two hours to put up the tent and we didn’t do it properly. But hey it survived 24 hours and one night of camping.
The composting toilets were pretty ming. You got a cup of composting stuff and poured it over your poo. First rule of composting toilets NEVER look down the hole. It is something you never want to see.
Fortunately for us we had a nice toilet in the press area that everyone looked after and kept clean. And, the toilets in the wellbeing area were well looked after by the team manning the area.
The Lack of Directions/knowing where to collect out tickets
When we arrived, we spent 30 minutes driving aimlessly around the Standon Calling roads trying to find the area to get the press and entry tickets. The collection point had changed from the previous year leading to much confusion from me not know where to go and the security didn’t know either!. I finally ended up at the main gate where I could finally collect our wristbands and press passes!
There was a handy ‘no parking zone’ right by the main gates with a space so I parked there (always the rule breaker). It was a short 50-meter walk to the family camping area to get set up with our gazebo (that sadly died in the thunderstorm and wind) and tent.
Confusion about the best place to camp
I bought a lavish land pass before getting to the festival thinking it would be good to camp there as closer to festival and had showers. Turns out we didn’t even go there as the camping site was too far from the car to carry all the stuff. I know I advised to not take too much stuff, but we took too much stuff! And we had the showers and toilets in the well being area. Plus, family camping was the quietest you were going to get in the night time. I am glad we switched to the family area as the people surrounding us were lovely and helped a lot when our tent kept collapsing. Just a bit annoyed that I spent an extra £25 on Lavish lands camping that we didn’t need or use.
I will say camping wasn’t the best idea, mainly due to effort in putting up the tent (possibly one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life) and the adverse weather. On the Saturday night we took the tent down and drove home, returning on the Sunday once the worst rain had stopped. This was a clever idea, also meaning I didn’t spend more money on alcohol.
Next year we will just pay the extra £200 or so for the glamping option where you arrive, and your tent is already up and firmly fixed into the ground with no risk of blowing away in a storm.
Am honest account of the festival but I am sure you can see there was far more positive than negative. The kids loved it, especially Josh who stayed for the whole weekend with me, swimming four times and interviewing pop stars. How many 8-year olds get to experience life like that. Blessed.
Thank you to the wonderful Zeitgeist team of Jamie, Jamie, Siobhan and Charlotte who ran the PR and press area. We had many a good chat about music (McFly, The Beatles, Chesney Hawkes to name a few), festival organisation, artist gossip. And thank you for our tickets, disclaimer, that were free of charge.
You can get your tickets for next year right now at an ultra low early bird price here. My prediction for headlines next year is Drake, Justin Timberlake and Duran Duran. Read as who I or Josh would like to see and be five meters from back stage 🙂