All Opinion Pieces are Just that - Personal Opinions
A CELEBRATION EVENT TO REMEMBER -
FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS
I’ve been to lots of festivals in my time. I don’t mean the Glastonbury type of thing, (although I’d loved to have done so, back in the so called day), I mean the more sedate gatherings more suited to a chap of my age.
I’d say I’ve enjoyed about 80% of them, disliked about 15% and absolutely detested 5%.
Daylesford Organic Farm Festival is sadly in the 5%.
Our visit started off badly as we entered the small, quintessentially, chocolate box Cotswold village of Kingham on the outskirts of Chipping Norton. I’m told by estate agents in the area that Kingham is a place where people don’t leave, alive ! They come, they stay, they die and the remaining family then sells, maybe!
I can understand why, it’s a beautiful place – or would be without the traffic jam leading to Daylesford Organic Farm on this particular day.
I’ve been to Daylesford before, in fact I’m quite a loyal customer. I’m often in raptures at the glazed hams, the wonderful cheese cave and the delightful pastries – the Bakewell Tart is sublime. So it was with a great deal of disappointment that when I joined the queue of traffic, I knew how far away the finish line was.
We intended to arrive around midday, to amble, sample and possibly buy some of Daylesfords gastronomic delights.
After one hour and 15 minutes of queuing stop start single file traffic we entered the car park. “Where should I park?” I asked one of the rather scarce car park attendants. ‘I’ve got no idea mate, it’s a Nightmare. It’s been like this since we opened. Just look for someone leaving and jump on in there’. Ridiculous.
The car park was heaving with thousand of cars – with no visible marshalls within the field to guide traffic people had parked all over the place, leaving rather inconsiderate levels of space between vehicles and in some instances blocking people in. Having found an elusive space I was rather frightened that I’d be blocked in.
The trouble with all this; queuing, hunting and jostling for parking spaces is that you arrive at the entrance to the festival emotionally drained and more than a bit irate. To be presented with another queue to validate the online tickets added insult to injury. As we waited in line I heard attendees saying words that would become synonymous with the event ….Stupid, Ridiculous, Badly Organised, Greedy, etc. etc. And it was, in my opinion, pretty bad organisation from the events team – too many visitors and not enough staff.
When we finally had our tickets validated and been given a ‘please forgive us’ can of water – we didn’t even receive a wristband, we could have saved 20 minutes of queuing.
The water was nice. Although for a British event from the people who so keenly supported Brexit – very strangely it was Austrian water. I’m pretty sure Blighty has its own natural springs but hey….
By now I was pretty hungry and rather warm. ‘Let’s do our best to have fun and also get some food’ I said to my wife.
We made our way past a few Daylesford tents that had, you guessed it, queues in front of them – the Charcuterie tent looked lovely ‘let’s come back to that one in a bit’ I said my wife. Big mistake.
The layout of the festival was packed with people of all ages and loads of dogs, but it was quite sparse as we made our way from the entrance to the back area where the Stage area seemed to be along with the majority of the food trucks and tents.
We walked through; packed gala tents serving fizz, another a regular sort of bar, one playing pretty loud club type music (which in my opinion didn’t seem quite right – but I am a bit on the wrong side of 30) and one area that had a wish tree.
My wife very nearly wee’d herself when she read two of the wishes….
Eventually we came to what seemed like the main food area. The food stalls were lined up in quite a narrow space, in consequence the queues ran almost diagonally, meaning it was quite hard to work out which food stall you were queuing for.
Was it the South African Street food, The pasta, The Tacos or the Pizza ? Hopefully not the Pizza as it was literally 50+ people long (the pedant that I am, I counted, roughly). “How long have you been waiting?” ‘About 20 minutes’ and she was about 20 or so people from the counter window. ‘It better be good’ she sighed.
I hate queuing at the best of times but in the heat, and in an incredibly slow moving one is even worse. Cleverly my wife suggested we go to the regular farm shop and make our own lunch with some deli bits. Oh no you don’t – there was a long queue of people with armfuls of goodies queuing to get to the cash desk.
As it was only 2:15pm we remembered the Charcuterie stand only to find they had run out of meats, apparently with no more on the way.
All in all, from my point of view a bit of a disaster. So we decided to leave.
Including the regular journey, the horrendous queues to get in, the parking and validating our £25 tickets we spent two and a half hours getting to the festival. That’s considerably longer than we actually spent at the festival.
We stopped off at a pub on the way home and had a packet of crisps.