If it’s crossed your mind that you’ve hit 50 and it’s time to hang up those festival boots, THINK AGAIN. It’s all about choosing the right festival, and I’ve got a great one to share with you.
If you’re looking for a friendly, family, fun filled weekend with great acts, good food and fantastic atmosphere Big Tribute ( at Aberystwyth) is pretty amazing. As the name suggests the main stage features some of the best tribute acts from across the U.K, the other tent showcases the best local acts and other bands from around Wales.
So with great excitement on the 24th of August I set off (with Charlotte, Hannah and Andy) to pitch our tent and get into party mode.
O.K at this point I need to point out that we were only half camping. I know, I sound like a bit of a wimp! but if you live 5 minutes down the road, and I really do live literally 5 minutes away, why give up that comfy bed and hot shower for a roll mat and damp sleeping bag? It seemed like a no brainer to me. Don’t get me wrong I’m pretty good at roughing it when I need to but hey, I didn’t need to, and the pull of that lovely warm bed was just too great a temptation.
Why bother with a tent at all then? It all comes down to comfort! I’m a Libran after all and we do love our creature comforts. So chairs, emergency blankets, cookers, cool boxes packed full of goodies, a change of clothes for when we are soaked, with the inevitable festival weather, and a place to shelter from the gales and hurricanes is a must. O.K I’m exaggerating a bit, but retreating to a warm dry tent, with a rum and coke, definitely beats huddling under an umbrella with a rain diluted beer.
I had it all covered. Yes I had planned everything and after unloading the car I was just giving myself a well-deserved pat on the back when the realisation hit me…… Where the heck is the mallet?
Don’t forget Your Mallet!
Have you ever tried setting up your tent without a mallet on a field with only an inch of soil followed by the 3 meters of rocks and rubble?
A well-intentioned and ingenious Andy made a valiant effort, with an old frying pan, to drive those tent pegs well and truly home. He was doing pretty well too, despite us becoming the focus of much hilarity among the other well prepared campers, until a generous family next door offered us their mallet, which we gratefully accepted. The rest was a breeze and we were ready. The frying pan was however a total write off. No sausages for us that weekend!
Let the party begin
And begin it did, with the biggest downpour in history, I’m not joking it was torrential. Now you have to bear in mind that Andy (my daughters partner) hates getting wet and cold! and this was his first festival EVER! So, not off to the best start. With this in mind I decided a run to the beer tent was in order.
Oh yeah, and we were not disappointed.
Great tunes were banging out from the main stage and the ales and cider selection, as you can see from the amount of casks, was amazing. It was put together by Discover Delicious who did a fabulous job of sourcing from the best producers in Wales.
My favorite from the whole weekend was Old Jailhouse. I pretty much stuck to it after trying a great cider (which was bought for me) I have no idea what it was, but it was crazy strong. I realised that any more than one and the whole weekend would become a complete blur!
Then the sun came out – For pretty much the whole weekend
Or is that just how I’m remembering it? I wore my waterproof polka dot poncho a fair bit and there was mud, but the sun definitely was there and put a smile on Hannah and Andy’s faces.
At this point I feel obligated to talk toilets. Seriously! Yes I’m afraid so, it can’t be avoided. If there is anyone out there like me, and I’m sure there must be, toilets are a major part of my festival experience. I’m in them more often than I like to admit. I’m talking every 30 minutes or so when the drinks are flowing (and that’s pretty often at a festival).
Anyone who has been to one of the bigger festivals will know how having to go to the loo can be one of the most traumatising experiences you are going to have to face, probably in your lifetime.
The fear of what lies behind the looming plastic portaloo door can be incapacitating. Hold your breath and try not to breath as you wrench open the germ contaminated handle and hope you get out without contracting something really nasty.
Let’s face it no matter how much you hold on, there comes a point when even those with a cast iron bladder and the ultimate control can’t hold on any longer.
But it was fine. I have to give a massive thanks to all the volunteers at the event who kept the portaloos constantly stocked with toilet paper (not once did I have to rummage through my pockets for my emergency supply) supplied with handwash and as clean and fresh as you can ever expect a portaloo to be. Well done guys you did amazingly!
And then there’s the food
As I mentioned earlier, we had a frying pan incident! I was secretly happy we were now fryingpanless, as Rustic Cooks do the best sausages ever, and you’ve guessed it they were at Big Tribute. I didn’t even have to make up an excuse as to why I was buying hot dogs when I had a coolbox full of them at the tent.
The wild boar are my absolute favorite. I could eat them for breakfast,dinner and tea then at a push an extra one for supper.
I may deviate slightly to include a stuffed cheese one occasionally, because it’s healthy to have a varied diet but on the whole it’s wild boar all the way.
If you like Spanish you would love Ele’s little kitchen. . Everything is lovingly prepared using fresh ingredients. I honestly didn’t like paella until I found Ele, and yep you’ve guessed it, I’m now a convert ( but only to Ele’s paella). Ooh she also does really good Tapas.
This one she’s just got on the go……….. it really is paella heaven and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Of course there was loads of other good eats, a noodle bar, the Medina (Mediterranean), the usual burger and chip van, pizza etc but my cool box beckoned us with homemade chilli, guacamole, salsa plus every thing else I’d squeezed in.
You really can’t beat great food, great ale, great music and great atmosphere and honestly Big Tribute rocked at it all. We danced and sang our way through tributes to AC/DC, Duran Duran, Stevie Wonder, Adele.Madness etc, etc. Then at the end of the last day came Dolly Parton, Tom Jones and Tina Turner. Truly awesome, we even got our photo with Tom Jones haha. You simply can’t be at a Welsh tribute festival without Tom.
It’s true we were all looking the worse for wear at this stage. We were having such a good time it never crossed our minds. Note to self for next year: REMEMBER just because you feel great doesn’t mean you look great ….. and the photos are gonna prove it FOREVER!!!!!
Then all too soon it was over. Monday morning saw me voiceless, aching, exhausted and already planning how we were going to do it better next year. There is even talk of us sleeping in the tent and not coming home. Not sure I’ll be so keen on that when it comes down to it though.
So if you love a good tribute band and are looking for a friendly festival which caters for the very young to the very old this may be the one for you. Who knows maybe I’ll see you there next year. It’s in my diary already.