It was Friday evening and we had arrived at the family friendly Timber Festival at Fearnedock, on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border.
Walking across the field, we stopped by to collect our wristbands. Whilst jotting our telephone numbers on the back of the kids’ bands, I could see our eldest ‘cartwheeling’ around the open space. Our youngest was doing his best to ‘ninja’ his way out of the stroller and our middle mini me was jumping around before she let out a squeal of excitement as she caught sight of the path to the entrance of the family friendly Timber festival. I just knew that this was going to be a magical weekend. The sun was just setting….we had set up camp in good time and were ready to explore the grounds of the festival. The kids were full of energy, and we were outdoors , together in the fresh air. To me – this really is the epitome of quality family time.
Timber Festival 2018
The Timber Festival launched this Summer and we had been lucky enough to be invited to this inaugural event. I can honestly say we had an incredible weekend. Timber Festival is a joint venture with The National Forest and Wild Rumpus (The guys behind the wonderful, magical and successful Just So Festival. Having visited the Just So Festival for the last four years, I already had high expectations…but having read about the Festival before we arrived, I knew that this family friendly Festival was going to be something really special.
We had arrived in good time on the Friday evening, and had quickly set up our camp. The Campervan field was a short walk to the festival entrance and we had plenty of space inbetween our neighbours. Just as we were navigating the Timber Festival Map, our kids spotted the Woodland library area…an hour later we were struggling to get them to leave. The library was filled with books for adults and children alike and there were blankets laid out and hammocks dotted about amongst the trees. What a wonderful concept, and a wonderful space for some much-needed shade and quiet time. Many pages into Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, we managed to persuade the tribe to pop the books back and explore the festival a little more. Our next hurdle was the large hill. The kids were more interested in rolling down the hill, than exploring the grounds. It really is the simple things in life isn’t it?!
The thing I noticed instantly was the laid back, chilled vibe. Not the usual ‘hustle and bustle’ that you expect from a festival. It felt safe. It was not overcrowded. The pitches did not feel claustrophobic, and it was lovely to see the children running free without that awful panic alarm in your head that they must not stray. It is the one thing I have always worried about with festivals, that worry of losing them in the crowds – particularly as we have three little ones to keep our eyes on. But I can honestly say that Timber felt safe…it had a lovely ‘chilled and laid back’ vibe, yet it was still vibrant, fresh and fun.
Facilities were great and this was clearly a family friendly festival. There were free hot showers, sinks to brush teeth and wash hands and faces – oh and we rarely had to queue for the showers or toilets which was a real bonus. The toilets remained clean throughout the weekend. There were plenty of water taps dotted around to refill your water bottles. For babies and toddlers there was a main sling library, a nappy changing tent with free biodegradable nappies and wipes, and a baby feeding tent. There were also first aid and lost child facilities.
You could take food on to the campsite with you, but glass had to be left at home. There was also a choice of food and drink providers on site, along with a licensed bar.
The weather was hot!! Now we have visited many a festival and have lived in wellies and ponchos (did I just say I lived in a poncho!? Lets just forget I said that!) So yes… the sun shone, the temperature hit 30 degrees and it was a beautiful weekend. What l love about this festival and site was that there were plenty of shady areas and places to escape the sunshine. I think we did miss a few of the live acts that we had hoped to see, purely because we were enjoying the cool, calm shade of the forest, or running around after our toddler.
Okay, this is where we failed. I think it is having really young children (and one who likes to escape as often as possible), but we didn’t really get the opportunity to just sit down, relax, take in the vibe and enjoy the music. We were too busy running around after our toddler, or crafting with the girls or building a wooden playhouse. Having said that I did hear some great beats from the Nightingale Stage in the background, music that really added to the laid back atmosphere of the Timber Festival.
Timber Festival 2018: What we loved…
Over in the Common we stumbled across a lovely stand where the kids had the opportunity to make and decorate a clay tile with potter Andy Mason. Andy was so patient demonstrating different techniques and the girls used leaves, pasta and stamps to create different effects to the clay. *Payable. We were given a raffle ticket and popped back to the following day to collect their creations.
HAMMER AND CHISEL – WOODLAND PLAYGROUND
Now I wont lie, I had my reservations as I entered the kids woodland play area to see various children hammering a nail or sawing into blocks of wood. By the time we arrived, the woodland play area had really started to take shape, with ladders, a climbing area and a hide out. Our eldest spent ages wrapping pieces of material on to the wooden posts to decorate and create hammocks. It was incredible to see the children working together and with their parents to create a wonderful place to play, hide, explore and climb.
WOODLAND LIBRARY AND THOSE HAMMOCKS
The woodland library was the first area that we found as we set off to explore the grounds… and all the kids loved it. Whilst the men went off to watch the England game on the Saturday, myself and beautiful Ella who writes over at Typical Mummy, headed off with the kids in tow to seek shade in the hammocks. The kids enjoyed some much-needed peace, quiet and time out, and my eldest found Fantastic Mr Fox in the Woodland Library and we lost her for an hour or two. A woodland library with hammocks dotted about in the trees was such a simple concept and one that the kids absolutely loved.
IAN DOUGLAS CAMPFIRE STORIES
We have visited Just So for a few years now, so are familiar with the wonderful Ian Douglas, and I have to say I was really excited to hear he would be at Timber Festival. The children absolutely loved his stories, and he manages to captivate children of all ages and transport them to a land of magic, dreams and make-believe…. a true talent.
THE FIRE GARDEN
The fire garden was a wonderful sight as the sun set over the festival grounds. The Fire garden was created especially for Timber by leading artists, sculptors, designers and technicians pa-BOOM.
The woodland slack lines was a test of balance, and determination and the little ones loved the challenge of walking from tree to tree.
Well as far as weekends go… this one has been pretty special. We have spent the weekend @timberfestival and it has been fantastic. A weekend of sunshine…..performances… stories…crafts…. and time with our tribe. It was our first weekend of this year that we have had in the camper too and I forgot how much we all love it. Now time to wash those grubby feet. Here’s to a super chilled Sunday 💕 . . . #Hosted #TimberFestival #TimberFestival2018 #familytravel #timberfest #festival #familyfestival #barefoot #campervanadventures #campervanlife #freespiritedchildhood #freespirits #outdoorkids #myfamilyadventures #raisingragamuffins #wildandfree #artsandcrafts #lovelifeoutside #festivalseason #festivalstories #forest #wheremywelliestakeme #borntovoyage #runwildmychild #lifewithinfourcorners #ukexplore #oureverydaymoments #myhappycapture #funseekingkids
MAKE YOUR OWN NOON COLUMN
Over on the Common the girls tried their hand at making clay noon columns, inspired by artist David Nash’s Noon Columns. The National Forest is home to six of these temporal-based sculptures. The first thing I asked was what is a noon column? It is a sculpture through which the sun sends a shaft of light at true noon each day.
MUSEUM OF THE MOON
It is so hard to capture the true scale of the Museum of the Moon but what an incredible installation. Measuring seven metres in diameter, the kids were completely mesmerized by the sheer size of the moon suspended amongst the trees.
Love you to the moon and back my darling 💫 💫 This was just one of the incredible installations @timberfestival in the heart of the National Forest. #hosted Are you off to a family friendly festival this Summer? . . . #timberfest #timberfestival #timberfestival2018 #festivalseason #festivals #familytravel #familyfriendly #forest #myhappycapture #littlestoriesofmylife #myfamilyadventures #curiouslittleexplorers #runwildmychild #neverstopexploring #neverstoplearning #nature #explore #travelwithkids #travelphotography #campervanadventures #homeiswhereyouparkit #moon #funseekingkids #mycolourfulkids #freespiritedchildhood #mysundayphoto #installations #lionessmama
There was a huge amount to do at Timber Festival and when I looked over the programme on our way home I feel like we missed so much. Saying that, we spent hours at the different workshops, drinking coffee in the sunshine and watching on as the girls made masks and willow headbands and bracelets. I even managed to catch up with the lovely Mini Travellers tribe. In between drinking coffee we obviously spent a considerable amount of time chasing after our free-spirited toddler who loved the open space!
Timber surpassed my expectations. It was a wonderful family friendly festival with an incredibly laid back vibe. The festival successfully weaved music, art, philosophy and sustainability together to create a fabulous event. I would say it was a thought-provoking, creative and well thought out event. We made lots of wonderful, happy memories with our little tribe and our friends, and I now can’t wait for Just So Festival.
Timber Festival – Thank you for inviting us – see you next year 🙂
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A few more reviews of the weekend….
Mini Travellers – Timber Festival 2018 – Family friendly Festival Review
Going On An Adventure – Timber Festival 2018 Family Festival Review
Zenas Suitcase – Timber Festival Review – Family Friendly Outdoor Fun For All
Typical Mummy – Timber Festival – A fabulous family festival !
Parentshaped – Postcard reviews of Timber Festival 2018