The Verse Festivals special: Lounge on the Farm and Beach Break Live

I loved writing this piece. I tried to get another student to write it as I had quite a lot of final year work on, but I ended up rising to the challenge. It involved a bit of PR hunting, but it was worth it for the brilliant competition I managed to organise. Published in the June issue of the Verse, I also layed out the page myself which looks very delicious too: Page 6

Summer musical madness

For the first time this year, a bumblebee got stuck in my bedroom. This means two things: not only did I get myself into a girly flap but summer is finally approaching. Where there is summer, there are also those small things us Brits are famous for: festivals. Time to bring out those Wellington boots!

The last few years have seen many smaller festivals spring up, offering something new to the discerned festival goer. With so much choice around and the coppers getting even tighter, even a student with the most disposable income can only realistically afford to go to one a year. However, with the bigger offerings such as Glastonbury and Bestival selling out in advance, those less organised have a wealth of smaller festivals to choose from, which in some cases are better than their larger counterparts. Where these festivals shine is not through an ear-bleeding line-up, but by creating an atmosphere so warm and welcoming you won’t want to go home. So, in my true alternative style, rather than go on about the festivals that everyone is going to, I want to tell you about two festivals that everyone should be going to.

Lounge On The Farm: 9th – 11th July

Remember Middle Farm’s Apple festival in September? Think of that but bigger and better. Set on a working Merton farm where lounging is actively encouraged, this sweet little festival is based in the heart of Kent and has a real locals vibe. Celebrating its 5th birthday in 2010, Lounge on the Farm is a festival for food lovers, winning Guardian best foodie festival in 2008. Like any farmers market, all the food served at the festival is locally sourced and handpicked to create cuisine from around the world.

Furthermore, Lounge on the Farm boasts not only its own special ale – if that is your kind of thing – but also boasting their own cider, which is my kind of thing. Not that fussed about mouth-watering food? Ok, how about some great entertainment? The Playhouse is the festival’s performance art venue by day, but transforms into the Udderbelly at night to host the cream of comedy. The Groovy movie picture house, the country’s only solar power cinema will also be showing audio video delights. What about the music I hear you cry? The line-up features a wealth of up and coming and eclectic ‘folkertainment’, with the headlining bands Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Toots and the Maytails, DJ Yoda & Tunng. On a personal note this is one of the few chances to groove along to the fabulous The Phenomenal Handclap Band, but there will also be some fabulous Brighton bands in attendance including Peggy Sue and The Agitator. Adult tickets for the weekend cost £95, the day tickets are £40. For more info and tickets, head to the website: www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk.

Beach Break Live:  14th – 18th June

This festival aimed specifically at students was started by Celia Norowzian and Ian Forshew in 2007. The graduates of The University of Birmingham appeared on ‘Dragon’s Den’ and started a bidding war for their second event and have since been the subject of a 2008 BBC documentary. Now in its fourth year, Beach Break Live was named 2009’s best small festival, yet doubles in size every year, this year aiming to satisfy 17,500 students. 2010 sees a relocation to South Wales and Pembrey Country Park, boasting over 500 arches of woodland and eight miles golden sandy beaches of the Gower Peninsular – yes where you went and did your A-level Geography coursework. The Woodland itself is also an adventure playground for kid-ults, with a 130 metre dry ski slope, ‘Go Ape’ tree courses, as well as the longest toboggan run in Wales.

How can a festival that is aimed at students set in an area of outstanding natural beauty be ethically viable? Well, Beach Break Live pride themselves in their ethos towards reducing carbon emissions by running a bus service from university campuses and supporting the local community and environment through sustainable projects. Even the decision to run the event during the week rather than a weekend not only limits the damage on local tourism, but also fits in with students midweek lifestyle! Many reviews of last year mentioned the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that was unrivalled at any other UK festival, which I feel is obviously a testament of the nature of student-kind.

All this sound too good to be true? Well there is even more in the shape of a stellar line-up. Headlining bands include Vampire Weekend, Calvin Harris, a live set from Chase and Status and Ellie Goulding, while on the DJ front 2 Many DJ’s, Annie Mac, High Contrast and Fake Blood lead the pack to keep you raving until the early hours. The festival also has a variety of venues and tents on offer to party in including a vintage fun-fair, a lost garden complete with hot tubs and a moustache tent where facial hair is not just recommended but is an entry requirement – especially on the ladies. Tickets including camping cost £89 + £5 booking fee, but be quick, the event sold out last year. For more info and tickets, head to the website: www.beachbreaklive.com

Rosie’s festival essentials

Anyone who knows me values my organisational skills. A self proclaimed mother hen, I thrive when it and put the thrifty into festival. Here are the things I cannot live without when I am residing in a field for the foreseeable future.

Camel Sac: Bought in camping shops, used mostly used by hard-core hikers, I fill mine with Cider by day and water by night. Also, letting randoms suck on your third nipple for liquid refreshment is also the most random but hilarious conversation starter ever. Top it up before retiring to the tent so save those cold, thirsty, morning trips.

Hand Sanitiser: You never know what state those toilets are going to be in, or even if they have soap. Keeping your hands clean is essential if you want to avoid getting ill: no-one wants a dodgy tummy when the only available toilet is full to the rim. In the same vein here is toilet paper, bring a roll or two.

Ploppies: I am letting student kind in on a little secret recipe. Get 3 bags of Harribo and a bottle of vodka. Pour into a water tight lunchbox and soak for a few days. Now these things are not just any Vodka jelly, this is the stuff that creates those stories to tell your future grandchildren; hence they should come with a government health warning. Do not consume in one sitting, let the fun spill over the whole weekend.

Make friends with your Neighbours: Festivals are all about meeting new people. You may never talk to your neighbours at home, but make sure you talk to them at a festival; chances are they will be your new best friends. Tempt them with a ploppy and let the good times roll.

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