Featured Review: The Great Estate Festival 2017
The Great Estate Festival 2017 Review: a bewitching feast for the senses.
We're just back from a magical weekend in Cornwall where we experienced the very first edition of The Great Estate Festival, in Redruth. This truly was a beautiful festival in every sense; from the stately home setting, to the gorgeous art installations and attention to detail throughout the festival arena, there was enough to keep festival-goers occupied for hours simply by ambling around and enjoying the feast for your eyes.
Due to the distance we had to travel, we arrived on the Saturday morning, but the festival gates had opened the previous day, at midday. Therefore, we had to find a spot for our campervan in the overflow car park - well I say car park, it was probably the most beautiful spot we have ever camped in, with stunning views. I was initially a little concerned that we would have a long hike back to the festival arena, which can really make or break a festival experience with little kids, but the organisers obviously considered this and there was a handy shuttle bus running from the overflow car park to the festival gates, every 10 minutes.
The entrance to the festival was an experience in itself. You really did feel like you were escaping into another world. We were greeted by two "suffragettes" offering us a tipple of prosecco as we walked into a walled woodland adorned with bunting, disco balls, coloured lights and hanging mirrors. Our kids were amazed! Our first stop was the Secret Gin Gardens, a beautiful walled garden which, again had been wonderfully decorated. The atmosphere here was chilled, with a small stage playing a mix of jazz, classical and later a DJ set with some oldie crowd-pleasers. This was a great place to relax, sip some tasty gin and soak up the atmosphere.
The main festival fields, overlooked by Scorrier House, had an abundance of tents, stages, stalls and workshops.There was plenty for kids including an enormous inflatable slide area (£7 per child for unlimited access , although it did close at 6.30), old-fashioned swing boats, a toy shop and a craft tent with plenty of free activities. Our children were entertained for hours here and the organisers had made it as safe as possible with fencing around the play areas so you could keep an eye on the entrance. There was plenty of food on offer, including more child-friendly options such as toasties, pizza and burgers. I must mention toilets here, as this always worries me when taking children to festivals. Top marks for The Great Estate's toilets! There were proper, roomy loos, with sinks and running water. We didn't have to queue for long, either.
Families were also well entertained in terms of all the music on offer, across a range of stages. The stages were in large tents: the Main Stage, Madam Wong's House of Wrong and the BBC Introducing stage. So, there was always something to watch or dance to. We particularly enjoyed Showhawk Duo, who played dance classics such as Cafe del Mar with acoustic guitars. They are fantastically talented and great showmen; it was at this point, 6 in the evening, when the crowd really livened up!
Twilight took the festival to an even more enchanting level. As the sun set, the final tethered hot air balloon rides took off and the breathtaking projected images bedecked the front of Scorrier House. You really felt like you were experiencing something special at this festival. For pure escapism and visual pleasure, The Great Estate certainly delivered.
A highlight for us was the silent disco, which took place in a hidden woodland area. Spirits were high among kids and adults alike, as the DJ played music across two channels, allowing you to switch your headphones to whichever song took your fancy. Smoke machines, disco lights and a gigantic disco ball all added to the ethereal ambiance. We spent an electrifying hour or so here and our children really did not want to leave!
Our day and night at The Great Estate allowed us to dip into a small part of what was on offer at this festival. With more time, I would have liked to have experienced the Wild Wine Club meal and wine tasting experience, some yoga workshops and a spa session at Kernow Springs (although, these are probably more suited to a festival without the kids in tow.) We thoroughly enjoyed this festival and would wholeheartedly recommend experiencing it next year. Our children were certainly enthralled and inspired. As we left, our daughter immediately asked if we could come back next year. What better endorsement could you get than that?!