A self-claimed ‘family run festival’ Blissfields has everything you’d want for a decent shindig, young and old.
Set in the picturesque fields of Vicarage Farm, just off the busy M3, this intimate and boutique festival offers everything from massages to disco buses and rave domes; tarot card readings to top nosh and a posh wash. Not in that order…
Family and fun are key elements when you utter the words Blissfields. It’s almost somewhere you take your children (in the day) to experience their first festival, evident when looking around and seeing decorated hippy types with young children in tow.
Kids have plenty to keep them occupied though, with craft tents, funfair rides and circus folk dotted around the vast field of fun. Timed right there is even free candyfloss!
However, that said, by night the older/younger folk come out to play dressed in sparkly glitter, wacky outfits and crazy hats to boot. Some paying a lot of attention to detail. It’s safe to say that fun is defiantly on the hymn sheet of Blissfields, and everyone attending is singing the same tune.
Field Gates open to the devoted partygoers on Thursday, which this year saw DJ Yoda shutting down the first night with his Stranger Things set at The Larch. All site stages are opened apart from the Main Stage, so this gives punters the chance to get their bearings and work out what’s on offer in terms of extra entertainment for the two days ahead. Not just that, you’ll also get yourself a better camping plot, maybe…. all depends on who pitches next to you Saturday though.
Not short of venues, Blissfields offers no less than five musical outlets to explore, all with their own unique vibe. These are the Theatre of Bizzare (the Main Stage); The Larch; Hidden Hedge; The Bay and the fantastic Blisscotheque. All of these musical platforms play host to and array of talent, new and old, mainly new as is the tradition of Blissfields, but two stages stood out from the rest.
This acclaimed arena was a display of all things weird & wonderful and even had its own secret dance club, the Mile High, where DJ’s spin out tunes from half an old plane, naturally. This year the Hedge’s main stage, Area 51, was host to the likes of Delta Heavy; SubGiant and Melt Dunes. An eclectic mix in the day and all out party at night, this dome had it all going on. From the circus madness and awesome artwork to the chill out fire pit, this arena is worth coming to Blissfileds on its own.
Basically an old double decker bus with disco balls and a cocktail bar attached. But the combination works, and seemed to be the go to place for festivalgoers to meet under the trees. Its mix of music varied and catering for most tastes in the day, at night the bus become a mecca of dance and hip-hop enthusiast, who worked it well into the night/morning.
FOOD & DRINK
This festival stays true to its word when it comes to being independent, and that’s palpable when it comes to food stalls. Choices ranged from Cheesy Chips to Bean Burgers, to Pizza’s and some of the best festival Burgers from the Breakfast and Burger joint. Options for hangovers were plentiful, so going hungry at Blissfields isn’t possible.
As well as the Blisscotheque’s Cocktail Bar, you had watering holes dotted all over the site offering the usual beverage suspects. However, this year’s event saw the introduction of the Kiwi Bar, headed up by Old Mount Cider. Its décor, set up to chill and relax customers, was a little home from home and gave a chance to rest weary legs on the swinging leather sofas, or play drinking jenga…. a classy touch.
For those who love their Ale you had some top choices from one of the UK’s best brewery’s, Wychwood. Perfectly placed next to the main stage, this bar was kitted out for the bearded beer lovers. On the other side of the main stage, you had the quirky HOP ON INN. Another double decker bus fit for and different purpose. Its chilled open top view worth the visit alone.
The people were the main amusement, but with all manner of boutique stalls to choose from, you’d be hard pushed to be bored. Feeling tight from the previous night’s dancing? Don’t worry you could get a massage or some intervention therapy before you re-enter the Theatre of Bizzare.
Once you’re refreshed you could head down to the Home of the Unknown/Backyard and get involved in some dodgeball; musical bingo; dancing with the dead; powder paint fights or a late night glow in the dark rave.
However, if you’re looking for something a little less active, head over to the craft area where you could take part in some pottery; ironmongery and woodwork classes, or just chill out under the funky decorated trees.
Again, kids are well catered for and easily be distracted while walking round the site. If nothing takes their fancy, you can take to the dodgems or let them whiz down the giant slide. Or how about taking a Hot Air Balloon ride?!!
Camping is as you imagine, its festival camping, you either pay for luxury in the form of the boutique tents or you brave it in the general camping area. Although, should you be lucky enough to own a vehicle built for outdoor adventures, you can apply for vehicle pass.
Toilet facilities are basic in the general camp site, but for just £10 for the life of the festival you can grab yourself a much needed power shower, and use some nice clean toilets from the Posh Wash tent. This tent also offers the use of mirrors and electrical outlets, giving ladies, and metro gents, a chance to do their make-up and hair before getting their party pants on. Again a class touch by the festival, and one welcomed by many.
As a whole, Blissfields has an electric vibe, and it’s clear that those who come back are doing so for the love of the festival and not for the headline acts. For the £105 you get bang for your buck, and that includes your camping…. unless you want to pay for glamping. To sum this festival up you’d be right in saying its Boutique, Independent, Fun, Random and full of great people. One major adjustment would be a big headliner… but then would that go against the festivals mantra?
With over 100 acts, food and craft stalls of all shapes and sizes, and much fun, Blissfields could easily be called a mini Glasto. Highly recommend event, but you’ll have to wait till 2019 as the festival takes a break to plan its next crazy party.