The Big Chill Review 2008 - Herefordshire
Confusing directions and a lack of signs meant we arrived at The Big Chill feeling, well, The Big Stress. However, proximity of parking to the festival and helpful stewards meant that we began to relax as soon as we got there, and our 3 and 5 year olds didn’t complain about the walk.
The glorious Malvern Hills provides a perfect festival backdrop. The lakes in the centre of the site add to the atmosphere of tranquillity.
The family camping was the best I’ve seen at a festival, with plenty of space, toilets and access to drinking water. The number of families there meant kids had a great time running in and out of each other’s tents- oh, and there was a festival to go to as well.
Unfortunately, the children’s entertainment didn’t start until 12pm, that’s a long wait when the kids wake up at 6am. Thank goodness for the bubble shop, no wonder they had a sign up declaring “Babysitting- £50 per hour”.
With a great circus skills shop and fairground attractions, we were more Big Children than Big Chill- we loved it as much as the kids. The Ferris wheel was a great vantage point to view a festival with a laid back vibe
The music was in keeping with the ambient mood, and complemented the location with a largely upbeat and eclectic mix. Beth Orton was one of the big names flying the folk flag, and did so with her usual grace. There was also funk, jazz and even the spoken word. Dance music drew big audiences – a lot of thirty somethings enjoying themselves like they were 20 again. Possibly the best of the weekend was The Orb, who drew a huge crowd on Friday night by delivering a ‘best of’ set, with all the majesty and groove you could possibly hope for.
The Rizla Bus hosted top DJs all day and night, spinning non-stop tunes that had a few hundred people dancing under the palm trees.
As is commonplace in festivals these days, it is not permitted to take your own drink into the main arena, but there are plenty of bars even though the drinks are typically overpriced. For the 24 hour party people, there are late bars open until 5am.
Festival foodies were spoilt for choice, we opted for a fry up from the Lebanese stall but there was also Japanese, Indian, and Caribbean on offer, with sheep;s milk ice cream to finish. .
Ultimately, this festival can be what you want it to be. Big thrill it ain’t, but if you’re after a family camping experience, a full on party weekend, or indeed, a Big Chill it’s certainly worth a visit.
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