This year I went to Standon Calling with my friend Helen Baxter. We ‘do’ a festival every year and this year we chose Hertfordshire and Nile Rodgers, Lewis Capaldi, Fleetmac Wood, Friendly Fires and the Boogie wonderland band!
This blog shares a kind of day by day agenda so you know what you may be facing.
This year we faced torrential rain, light rain and just well….rain! But we had Friendly Fires and fun!
Festivals, for me, have been a time to re-connect with who I am and how it’s good to step out of your comfort zone now and then!
Here we go, hope you enjoy the tips! The photos do the talking.
CHOOSING YOUR FESTIVAL
Choose a festival that you both like the sound of. Many festivals have a varied line-up so it’s important you both like the offering.
Make a decision about your accommodation – camping, glamping or staying in a hotel? Whichever you choose, it’s a case of deciding what works for you and what you’d be happy with. This year Helen and I were glamping and had an amazing and comfortable bell tent.
Download the festival app so you can see all the acts and who you want to see. It’s good to be organised, especially if there is more than one stage and navigating around the festival is key to not missing out on anyone you like. That has happened to be on two occasions now!
Plan your outfits! You want to look great and be warm and comfortable. A tricky combination but it can be done! Of course, you will pack outfits that will never get worn and you will overpack! That’s a given.
A week before the event, the excitement starts to build!
Make plans to rendezvous before arriving at the Festival. That way, you don’t get lost and you both have your tickets. This year, I managed to get to Hertfordshire hours in advance and spent part of my day viewing the swans on the riverbank in Ware! My friend had an arduous journey and the 40-degree heat did not help!
LET THE FUN BEGIN!
FIRST AFTERNOON/NIGHT – check in. You arrived, phew. Be prepared to throw all inhibitions and boundaries out of the window. This is a time for massive amounts of fun (whatever the weather chucks out at you) and you will meet all sorts of people all there for one thing only – FUN!
Eeek, it rains!! Then there’s thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour! That throws all carefully made plans out of the window. Why, oh why, did I not pack my wellies? What was I thinking? I’ve got lots of sparkles and glitter not that practical really! Oh, not only that, it’s hot, very hot and your carefully prepared hair is now stuck to your head. #carryon.
Have a shower as soon as you can as you never know what state the showers are going to be in for the rest of the weekend! Okay, it’s day one and the showers are not working. There’s only a trickle of water and you’re stark naked. Thump the tap hard and make the water come out so that you don’t have to get dressed again! Okay for that moment, you feel clean.
Pour yourself a drink. Everything is going to be okay and you’re going to make the best of this situation despite the weather.
Get your party dress on, it’s time to party! Don’t forget your #glitter. Try to not overdo the first night, you may regret it the next morning – ouch! Dance, smile, sing, party! In fact, that’s the recipe for the entire weekend. Don’t forget to try to eat healthily too. You need fuel. But smile, this is a happy place whatever the weather.
DAY ONE – find things during the day that keep you amused. Yoga, Swing dance, mooching, even a trip to the Dodgems.
Okay, the showers are now disgusting and the toilets too. Lots of smells and dirt. In fact, when you go for a shower, your feet stand in someone else’s shower water with mud and grime and you have to grin and bear it!
If you feel tired and can’t keep going, don’t fight it. It’s okay to go back to your tent at a decent time to get some sleep. We did!
Get yourself ready (again), it’s time to party! We drank vodka cocktails and partied to some awesome DJs in the Electric Willows (the woods to you and me).
DAY TWO – wake up with a sore head. Oh dear. And it’s still raining and now there’s mud. You did say not to overdo it but you did! Okay, nothing that a few coffees and some good stodgy food won’t solve, he, he! As it so happens Saturday turned into our chilled day which was good. We needed it. Friendly Fires danced and sang their hearts out. Such a great band from St. Albans! After them and a mooch to the woods, we headed off early. It’s okay to say I’m not okay and I feel a bit tired!
DAY THREE – It’s still raining! But there is a chink in the clouds. Shall we bail? The rain has not stopped and now we’re both tired. Oh, and the cars are getting stuck due to the amount of mud! But we talk, the sun is nearly out, and we agree that we’re going to stay the course. After all, today is Nile Rodgers day! We cannot bail if Nile is coming on stage. By lunchtime, we’re feeling chirpier. It’s warm and sunny and not raining. We eat jacket potatoes, have a few drinks, mooch around and watch people on the carousel. We wonder if we might go on the carousel too and then say hastily “Um, no”. Leave that to those who love those kinds of rides!
We shuffle to the front. Nile Rodgers is coming on stage now. There’s a photo of a giant tape cassette, and they’re playing lovely uplifting tunes which make us laugh. There’s a voice and it keeps saying “the last crowd danced a lot more than you guys” so we dance a bit more.
Until finally, the clouds are clear, the sky is blue and Nile Rodgers and CHIC are on stage. All of a sudden the rain, mud, showers, all have been forgotten while we enjoy ourselves. This is what we came for here! Nile’s music fills the air with “Let’s Dance’, “Get lucky”, “I’m coming out”, “Like a Virgin”, “Material Girl”, “My forbidden lover”, “Good times”. There is hardly a piece of funky dance music that Nile Rodgers has not been involved in at some point in his awesome career.
He describes his music and Chic as dance music, funky music, house music, disco music, soulful corporation. Every song is written from the heart and soul.
We danced the night away and could not stop smiling. All challenging conditions are forgotten and the festival turns into the most special experience when Nile shares his personal story that he’d been diagnosed with two forms of cancer over three years ago, but that he’s now cancer-free. I’ve always said music fills your mind, body, and soul; and his music has kept him alive and now he’s well again!
We ended the night in the Woods again; this time to see Fleetmac Wood, a DJ group who play Fleetwood Mac songs with a disco/house music beat. Our smiles grew even bigger.
DAY FOUR – It’s home time. The weekend has gone so quickly.
Tired, happy and tinged with sadness, we pack and make our way to our cars. The mud has cleared, we can leave and bid our farewells. Our friendship has grown stronger. 🤩
PS: TOP TIP – always, and I mean always, pack your wellies!! This is Britain after all. 🌧️🤣
Tracey B x