Village Pump Folk Festival, is here again and so am I. Fortunately I live just twenty minutes from the site which is on the outskirts of Westbury under the gaze of the famous white horse. The festival site is set on the country park and golf course and some of the rugby club too. It a lush green site by its nature and is also nicely level. This later fact really comes into play for those less able attendees who can move around the site with as much ease is possible for a festival (given the dry conditions this year).
Its a bit of a walk from the campervan field but no more than 5-7 minutes, but if that is a struggle, a small land train (think of the sort often used on beach resort promenades) is there to help. There are two main tented camping areas, one at the top end of the campervan field with a further area up a slight rise upon the golf courses driving range (closed obviously for the festival period). Both of are situated either side of the main car park which is just next field over, so carrying camping gear is a real minimum. Both the tent areas have plenty of space and there's no overcrowding, it feels really pleasant and civilised. There is a small 'village' shop set up in a porta cabin to help with those essentials you forgot to bring, a small shower block and a coffee/tea vendor to also help keep you feeling refreshed each day. There are a few water points dotted along the perimeter and some of these had free standing kitchen sinks so if you're cooking at the tent or campervan you can also do the washing up!
Personally I eat out at festivals as the quality of food and range available is nearly always good. Pump had only a small amount of food vendors but the choice was good. These included Indian curries, Greek filled pitta breads, wood fired pizzas, fish and chips, oriental dishes, and Welsh breakfasts. There are bound to be a few I missed out but these were all tried by me or recommended to me. Prices ranged from £5 to about £7 for main courses and breakfasts.
There are also some good opportunities to get some festival shopping in too. Traders ranged from artisan blacksmiths to bee keepers selling by-products from their apiaries, some festival clothing and a great stall selling upcycle and repurposed goods like audio cassette lamps and Levi 501 shoulder bags.
The stalls were all set up in an arc shape, in front of this was a flat deck set up for the Morris Dancing to take place. Where would a folk festival be without it eh? There are also walk about entertainers, some roving musicians, face painters and dressing up (wardrobe of infinite possibilities) to help entertain children and adults alike and amid the arc of stalls is a childrens entertainment marquee with clowns, storytelling and the like.
At either end of the site are the two main music marquees. The White Horse Stage is a seated one, where the audience tend to be a quiet and attentive one. The Village Pump Stage is in a large marquee and is split in two basically, so from the soundesk back it's ok to have camping chairs out (and many do) but none are allowed in front of the desk. This is great for me as I find them a pain, in amongst the crowds at other festivals, so yeah works well and give room to dance and move around too. At the front of the stage, approximately half the barrier length is cordoned off to give priority seating area for those that struggle to stand a chance to have a really good view, again it seemed to work and very little abuse of this space either. Pumpers are a respectable bunch it feels.
Just to the side of the main stage is the beer tent, this served 15 different real ales, three still thatchers, about 6 chilled perry and cider blends from lilley's, a wychwood lager as well as standard fayre like fosters and thatcher's gold, each pint was a simple £4, which feels around about a festival average this year. There was also a small outside bar near the second stage which had around 6 ales on offer too alongside the cider.
Musically this year there were less acts that I knew, but that said, festivals for me are as much about new discoveries as old favourites.
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