Shindig, wow – can it get any better, brilliant weather, fantastic crowd and great music. These are the ingredients for a fantastic festival.
Shindig is a small DJ heavy boutique festival in its sixth year with a capacity of 8000 public and 1999 crew, security and artists held in the beautiful Somerset countryside. As well as great music there is also Comedy, Spoken Word, Street theatre, Wellbeing area and a fantastic Kids Kingdom for the future festival junkies.
This year Shindig was extended from 3 to 4 days, we romped up late afternoon on the Thursday and were efficiently directed to the campervan field. Following a good-natured search of our campervan we joined the short queue to be shown to our pitch, the pitches were marked out and we were given plenty of space. The facilities on site are all compost loos and urinals, brilliant, they even supply loo paper and hand gel which was always plentiful. These were always kept very clean and there was plenty of them so queuing was kept to a minimum. The site is always clean and tidy mainly due to the clientele making use of the numerous banks of bins which were clearly marked for the various recycling options and a general bin for non-recyclables. There was also a team of litter pickers all day keeping things spotless. All the crew and security were very friendly, helpful and cheerful which always helps a festival go with a swing.
The catering is mainly vegetarian/vegan and of a good quality with plenty of choice ranging from pasta, pizza, fantastic Indian street food and of course, the ubiquitous noodles. For the meat eaters amongst us there was the Somerset Hog Roast by Gilcombe Farm – delicious, also serving bacon butties and burgers. Also, Duck Wraps and a Chicken kiosk. Ice cream was supplied by local producer Brickells, and another stand sold Purbeck – both absolutely delicious and welcome as the weather was exceptional. The prices for main meals ranged from £6.50 - £8.00 each. There was a good choice of beer and cider priced at £4.50-£5.00/pint, a good range of spirits at £4/shot. The real ale lovers had a treat with a beer called “the usual” and the Shindig cider thirst quenching both went down very well. Shindig run an ecocup system, the first pint costs an extra £1 deposit for the cup, which is replaced every time you buy another drink. You can get your £1 back whenever you like but the cups are really nice so I expect many people keep them as a memento.
For the festival goers who need to enhance their outfits or just for a relaxed interesting mooch there are ample shopping opportunities at various colourful stalls. There is even a corner shop for those essentials such as milk, bread and toothpaste.
There are 10 venues, the majority of which are tented which is great if the weather is inclement which it tends to be at the end of May, but this year we were spoilt, which meant we could stay outside and listen to fantastic music in the sunshine – what more could you want.
The central area contains The Dig Inn which showcases a mix of DJ’s and bands such as DJ Cheeba, DJ Seanie Tee, Ozomatli and the fantastic Dub Pistols. The Stardust Discotheque pumped out House and Cheesy Disco until 1am. The Ghetto Funk nightclub hosted DJ’s and Rap artists such as Too Many T’s and Roast Beatz & Kurnel MC. There is an open-air venue Father Funk’s Church of Love which plays plenty of funk and cheesy disco.
An area called the Bay of Good Vibes has three indoor venues, Nautylicious, Tutti Frutti and Submarine which is new to Shindig. Nautylicious has everything from fantastic cabaret including a man stripping whilst balancing a melon on his head – odd but very funny, DJ’s such as DJ Red Eye to bands including Benjamin Zephaniah and the Revolutionary minds and Henge. Tutti Frutti is more on the electronic rave scene getting everyone partying in the sunshine with DJ’s such as Hiphoppapotamus. Submarine is a zebra stripped submarine playing heavy dance such as grunge. There are 2 other areas, Storyland is situated a shady wooded area with a small stage and some lovely relaxing hammocks and the Wellbeing Area. The Wellbeing Area is situated on top of a hill overlooking the whole site – a lovely view especially in the evening as the sun goes down with some spectacular sunsets. Here you can experience alternative therapies, massage etc and take part in various forms of Yoga or enjoy a spot of Tai Chi. Kids Kingdom can also be found close by where a lot of fun was being enjoyed by the future festival junkies. They could learn circus skills or even have a go at the climbing wall, there was even a model making workshop by Aardman, so much for them to do. I think there should also be a Big Kids Kingdom as we really wanted to have a go too – so jealous. Also, on the hill you can find the Rise Bandstand and The Word, The Word even had a Comedy afternoon.
Friday is always a theme day, this year was fruity Friday with a lot of people looking like a lovely fruit salad, though this in not compulsory. Though if anyone feels like dressing up or sporting sequins or glitter anything goes but it does not matter if you don’t want to.
Now, just to wind up, this is a brilliant, well organised festival for the whole family – something for everyone. Would we go again – definitely YES can’t wait to next year to do it all over again.
Thanks again Shindig for the best party in a field.
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