This was my first time I had been to Glas-Denbury Festival, I had heard so many lovely things about it though so we decided to go as a family and take our daughter who is 16 months, plus our friends and their two children who are 4.5 years 10 months, brave I know, but it's all part of the adventure.
As the festival itself didn't offer overnight camping, which was a real shame we booked ourself into 'Dornafield' camping and caravan site which was 1.2 miles down the road, and went with the plan of walking to the festival. This plan didn't come into action as the country roads leading to Glas-Denbury were not really suitable to walk along with 3 kids.
It was very easy to find the festival, and there was ample parking with a lovely view of the whole site, and it's mini Hollywood style sign which I thought was a nice touch. Our friends had brought a trolley to transport the kids around, and had 'pimped' it up with cushions and toys to keep the little ones contained and entertained, so we headed in.
The festival field was lovely and not too big to get around, it had four 'All weather' stages that consisted of the Main Stage, which had a good line-up of local bands, the Barn Stage which was acoustic artists, the Dance Tent which offered mixing workshops for the younger generation, plus a great line up of local DJ's playing right through 'til close, and the Vanderville and Chill Stage which had some of Devon's best spoken word artists and poets.
What I really liked about the festival was it's layout, on the right hand side you had the main stage plus 2 bars, the Jolly Roger and the VIP bar, both undercover so you were dry if it rained, which it did briefly shower on Saturday afternoon but otherwise it was mostly dry. You then had a great information point in the middle, and at the top of the field was the dance tent. Then on the left hand side you had all the kids entertainment, food and sweet stalls, and in the middle was a wooden seating area where you could chill out.
Now there really was loads to do for all the family, the kids entertainment was excellent, you did however have to purchase an activity band which cost an extra £5 but it meant the kids could use all the inflatable fun and bouncy castles etc, which of course they loved. Even my 16 month wasn’t deterred from the older kids jumping around on there, she got stuck right in. The rest of the entertainment fun included Jungle Jim who was entertaining the kids with stories etc, hula hoop workshops, and children’s craft tents making beautiful head garlands, which I think was run by the local school. Plus there was Elfic's Circus workshop with juggling acts.
There were also lots of animals for the kids to see, Prickley Ball farm which are based a few miles down the road had lots of rabbits, hedgehogs etc, plus the Torbay Owls had brought along an array of stunning birds to show everyone. You could hold them too, I got to hold a gorgeous owl myself, the kids however weren't too sure on the birds!
On the music front it had so much to offer for all ages, unfortunately I didn’t get into the festival on the Friday night but I heard (from others in the camping site) it was a brilliant night. It was opened by Yes Sir Boss which I had been told previously were definitely worth seeing, then the 80's hit band Doctor and the Medics.
On the Saturday they were lots of local bands including White Light who are 4 piece band all aging from 15-16, there was also another young local band called Hysteria which I was very impressed with, apparently they played there in 2013 as well. They are a 5 piece rock band aged from 11-14 who write and perform their own material, with a few well known rock covers thrown in. There was also The Fresh Dixie Project with there unique crossover modern swing, really got you moving and they were definitely worth seeing.
The highlight for me was definitely the Electric Swing Circus, who apparently headlined last year's festival too. I discovered that the guitarist Tom Hyland is actually from Denbury village itself, which would explain why they were so keen to come back and perform for the locals again. You cannot stop yourself from dancing to this amazing 6 piece band, they’re so energetic and their explosive stomping sound is highly infectious. It has everything thrown in from electro beats to house, reggae and dub step. My particular favourite of the night had to be their cover of Blues Brothers' 'Minnie The Moocher' which had all the crowd yelling 'Hidehidehidehi, Hodehodehodeho ' at the top of their voices, the atmosphere was electric.
With regards to food and drink, it seems pretty reasonable, it was around £3.50 for a pint, there was a fair few decent food stalls ranging from Meat wraps from ‘Moor Meats’ of course which are local, I tried out the pulled pork wrap, which I may have slightly over sauced on the Piri Piri, but it was delicious, and just what I needed after a good dance. The wraps were good value for money starting from £4, there was also Lemon Jelli who were serving up tasty crepes, sweet and savoury ones. Again starting around £3.50 a crepe.
If you wanted to do any shopping there were a few lovely stalls selling fairy wings, hoops, and some really cool flags, there was also a really cute vintage clothes stall.
In the evening the festival did get a lot busier, and I feel that there wasn’t enough toilets (there were approx 2500-3000 tickets sold), from what I could gather there were only 4 ladies and 4 gents and the bottom of the field, and 2 ladies at the top along with 1 gents, this was fine during the day, but later on when it was busier the queue’s were really bad.
As I stated above we went to the festival as a family, with our friends and their children. After speaking to my friend who had a very young baby with her, we did find the festival could have really had a few more ‘comfy down time’ places. We found we were out in the elements a bit when we wanted to sit down and feed the babies, and a little ‘snug’ comfy area would have been great to wind us all down a little. The only option we had was the outside wooden seating area or the VIP bar which wasn’t ideal, but that was the only downside we felt about the whole thing really.
I had a chat to Emma Nice who runs the whole festival, she was lovely, and what really struck me was how passionate she was about creating this local festival, and keeping it down to earth and friendly. There are so many expensive over commercialised festival’s these days that it’s hard to be able to ‘afford’ to take your whole family along.
Emma is striving to make this possible for all, and there really was something for everyone, Glas-Denbury has a sign up which really catches your eye when you enter and apparently these words were actually spoken from a local "a proper pucker decent down to earth happy smiley Festival" and it really was.
This is the third year running and long may it continue, I know I would definitely go back next year, kids and all.
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