When Alpro asked if I would like to be their festival Blogger for Womad this year, I didn’t need to think twice about it. Whilst some might consider it their worst nightmare to be standing with wellies on in a muddy field and sleeping in a flimsy Argos tent, I just love a good festival.
And seriously, cooking your own bacon baps on a camping stove by your tent in a dewy field is one of the simplest and most wonderful pleasures in life. (oh, and how much tent envy did I have for the gazillion bell tents I saw everywhere?! – that one is totally on the wish list).
The other alternative to the bacon baps at Womad, was to pop along to the Alpro breakfast bar. The soya -product people were gladly feeding thousands of festival-goers with yoghurts, smoothies and cereal with pouring yoghurt. It was certainly a popular breakfast choice and an ideal way to start the long festival day of fun. The boyf particularly liked the peach indulgent yoghurt and the smoothie was immense.
I was really taken by the almond milk and hazelnut milk, both taste refreshing when chilled and don’t have that watery consistency that I always associated with soya milk. Plus, I was really interested in the sustainability section which shared the considerably smaller carbon footprint of soya milk compared to dairy. The company is planning to be carbon neutral by 2020, which is always a winning aim for me.
The boyf and I spent the weekend meandering about the festival taking in incredible music such as reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, the incredible The Manganiyar Seduction from India, the amazing Correspondents, the super-fun DJ Yoda and the Trans-Siberian Marching Band, the charming Blicky Bassy from Cameron and the captivating Nuba Nour.
We were also treated to a day spa ticket for the Womad Spa. I have to say, I have never seen a spa at a festival before. But it works. There is the whole area at Womad dedicated to Wellbeing. It is set within the Arboretum and features little tents dotted about the trees offering treatments ranging from massage to healing. This is a festival geared towards chilling out and relaxing.
The Womad Spa is a separate section which features ‘real’ toilets which were a welcome break from the portaloos, plus they had real hot showers in private cubicles – an absolute luxury at a festival.
For the weekend we were also given passes to the La-Di-Da Loos, which are flushing toilets and restrooms away from the crowds. They were certainly better than the portaloos, another little luxury at Womad. Although they were so keen on cleaning the loos regularly that we always had to queue to use them!
And how about the food at Womad? I was amazed at the huge range on offer. You could choose from fish curry, hog roast, tapas, thali, fish & chips, burritos, stone-baked pizzas, noodles, and more. There wasn’t a standard burger van in sight. It was quite astonishing.
But the highlights of the festival was the general wandering around and stumbling on awesomeness. I really loved the music we heard. The talent was incredible and I just wish that my legs could carry me fast enough to see more. There was a Taste the World tent where a kitchen on stage would make food from the country of the act playing. It was a small acoustic set with Q&A’s from the audience. It was really interesting.
And the vintage fair! It was stunning, with old fair trucks and vintage penny slot machines and all the traditional rides and attractions. It was so much fun, and spectacular at night time.
And wandering back to the tent on Friday night we stumbled on the Radio 3 stage where the brilliant Seth Lakeman was playing. His voice forced me to stick around for longer despite my weary legs.
Or walking past Molly’s Bar back to our tent and stumbling on some great DJ sets. 10 out of 10 for awesome stage name goes to Biscuit Head and the Biscuit Badgers.
And then there are all the activities for the little ones. I have never seen so many children at a festival before, they were everywhere! Womad had a whole area dedicated to workshops for children where they can play and create. It was rather wonderful to see.
It wasn’t just the kiddie’s getting involved either, there were workshops for adults too from learning the xylophone to a morning yoga session. There was plenty to get involved in.
And did I mention the shopping?! There were so many independent artisans, shops and even some charity shops. Hoorah! I couldn’t resist having a rummage, although I was only window-shopping on this occasion.
The Womad festival was a really great experience. It was the cleanest festival I have ever been too and full of activities and fun. That being said, I would like to see more spontaneity and celebration other than the staged acts. There was a definite demographic of the audience attending and it would be nice to see the world of culture represented in attendance too. But, I would definitely attend Womad again, it is a very relaxing and pleasant festival.