This was our first visit to Shindig Weekender, the festival was highly recommended hence giving it a try. The festival is now in its 5th year and the capacity has been increased to 6500. The location is very rural which must help with sound issues allowing the festival to keep on partying until 3AM. The gates opened at 12 noon on Friday and the party got into full swing at 1700.
Conditions upon arriving onsite were a little challenging due to rain prior to the festival. We were in the campervan field where the marshalling was a bit disorganised and haphazard, but they soon sorted themselves out. Though due to a rather stressed and unaccommodating steward we were unable to park-up with our friends even though we had arrived together. Fortunately, we were not too far away and still had a great time.
There were really good composting toilets which were cleaned and restocked frequently, This year they added urinals which resulted in the queues never being too long and these moved quickly. The site could probably benefit from an additional set of toilet facilities situated in the Tutti Frutti area. The whole site, overall, was always very clean and tidy, this was helped by the crowd using the bins provided.
Shindig Weekender is a DJ heavy boutique festival with a fabulous relaxed friendly party vibe, which we absolutely loved. The crowd were of mixed ages and one of the nicest crowds I have experienced at a festival, everything is good natured with people just having a great time.
The majority of the venues are tented, which is great, as you cannot rely on British weather on a bank holiday at the end of May. This year being no exception as we had large thunderstorms and heavy short downpours on Saturday night. This did not put a damper on any fun as everyone helped each other until the site dried out. This affected only a couple of areas which got a little slippery.
There are 6 tented venues and 2 outdoor ones, covering various genres of music. The Dig Inn had bands and DJ’s such as the The Cuban Brothers, Soul II Soul, Stereo MC’s, Phill Jupitus, Norman Jay MBE and Dub Pistols, who stormed it, to name but a few. Ghetto Funk hosted DJ’s such as Cheeba, Too Many T’s, Jungle Brothers, Krafty Kuts and Opiuo - all brilliant. Tutti Frutti had a lighter tropical feel to their sounds, featuring Davos, T>I, and Plump DJs. The Stardust Discotheque supplied house and cheesy disco to fulfil everyone’s needs. Nautylicious covered everything else including Reggae, Acid House Therapy on Sunday morning and closed by the Correspondents. For those who needed a dose of comedy, the spoken word or poetry just visit The Word. The outside venues consisted of the Rise Bandstand and the incredible Father Funk Church of Love venue who provided an outdoor disco playing funk and cheese. There are various roaming artists including stilt walkers, mobile disco and an amazing high wire act.
No venue seemed overcrowded whatever the time of the day except the Dig Inn which during the headliners especially on Sunday seemed a little bit overcrowded, the tent is a long thin structure with the stage at one end, maybe if it was wider this would resolve the issue.
For those needing some peace and relaxation just head to the Samadhi area where you can do some Yoga, meditation and massages with a great view.
There is a fantastic area for the future festival junkies, Kids Kingdom which kept all the younger ones well entertained with Ping Pong, circus skills, costume making and more. Next door is the Glorious Food area which was covered which also had music provided by DJ’s and cheesy disco by Mr Wompy the ice cream van.
The food offering was predominantly vegetarian, of very high quality and well-priced. You could have anything from pizza, Indian street food, pasta to Chinese noodles and various other options in between. Somerset hog roast provided the meat option covering excellent hog roast, home made burgers and bacon rolls. Beer options were a little limited for our taste but the basics were covered by lager, cider and a beer offering. These priced from £4-£5/pint sold in eco-cups which were an initial £1 which you traded each time. There were a number of cocktail bars offering Raspberry Cosmopolitan to Dark & Stormy’s at 1 for £8.50, 2 for £16 or 3 for £22. There were also various stands offering soft drink alternatives from Elderflower to Rhubarb and Ginger and delicious cakes and light snacks. Thankfully, there was also 2 ice cream vendors selling natural fruit ice creams - delicious. Just outside the festival site across the road is a Farm Shop for extras.
To summarise Shindig gets the important things right and managed the increase of numbers very well. The organiser clearly knows what the clientele need to create this very friendly, good natured party. Final thought, would we go again, has to be a resounding YES. Not normally our music choice but loved it anyway as we were always able to find something we liked. The crowd as mentioned earlier are best we have ever experienced at a festival. Security whilst present, were not overbearing and the one incident we saw them deal with was handled very efficiently and without fuss. This was an exceptional start to the festival season.
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Shindig Weekender 2019 review