Eden Festival: from sundrenched to mud-bath 2016-2018
Updated: Mar 22, 2019
We are off to our third Eden Festival in June 2018 and we can't wait. We first went to Eden in June 2016 and returned last year. But Babble-Rock-the-Community was in its infancy back then....just a very small group of people who did the odd camp and walk together, and there was no blogging or reviewing. So rather than try and cast my mind back that far and write seperate posts for each year, I'm going to blog about the Eden festival experience as a combi post. As for contrast within this post: as you can guess from the title, the first year was sun-dappled, whereas last year was a bog-fest. What happens in 2018 remains to be seen...I think at that time of year in Scotland it's 50:50.
Our son Xani joined us on our adventures in January 2016, so Eden June 2016 was his first festival. He was a diminutive only-just-four-months old and I think there was the odd person who thought we were bonkers for running with it. (It was actually incredibly easy, perhaps more so the first year when all his nutritional needs were on tap!)
We were fortunate enough to have our fabulous friend Andy come along with us....the second I found out what his rucksack contained (a unicorn's head mask, a kilt, and 3 flags - Scotland, Palestine and Catalonia) I knew he'd turn out to be an asset for the weekend.
We've done so many camps with the Tot that his kit is second nature to us now. But back in 2016 I really didn't want to forget anything, so I made a pretty comprehensive list using the program Evernote. One thing I always do these days for a festival is "comfort-pack". If you're wild camping, carrying a tent and essentials, obviously the idea is to pack super-light. But for "car camping" - where you park your car as near to your tent as possible - it should be creature comforts all the way, in my opinion. And nowhere is that more true than at a festival. I packed light the first year and I ended up with no replacement trousers when mine got muddy, no baby moisturiser when Xani's skin got dry on day 2, and no decent book to read whilst sitting on a sun lounger waiting for Graeme to make me my morning coffee ;-) Heck, we didn't even have a sun lounger in 2016. The next year we were wiser, knowing that Graeme's car would be pretty close to the tent, and we made sure we packed for comfort. And as part of that, I bought this trolley:
There are quite a few trolleys like this on Amazon, but as the reviews show some are better than others. Mine, which you can find here, has forgiven us a lot of lugging gear over fields and pathways.
I won't bore you with the whole packing list as most people can work out that you may need a tent, wellies, bedding, and some cooking essentials to ensure you're not living off £7 burgers for the weekend. But a few things that spring to mind which have turned out to be essential for festivals are:
Ear Banz: don't do to your baby what I did to myself during weekend raves in Japan over a tent year period over the millenium. Being hard of hearing at the age of 40 isn't a sexy look. (Note; you may need bigger ones for older kids, so shop around.)
Hand gel - festivals are filthy and the queues for the toilets/hand wash are long. Save yourself some money in the long run by getting an industrial size and decanting.
Baby wipes. Even if you don't have a baby. No link necessary. Same goes for suncream.
To re-iterate what I said earlier, this is certainly NOT a list for wild-camping (doh!), or even for a campsite. It is a list made bearing in mind you have spent money on festival tickets and may want to be comfortable for the weekend. Or not?!! To be honest, If you DO go with just a 2-man-tent and no spare trousers, you'll still be in good company with many others who choose to go cheerfully "minimal". But those happy-go-lucky souls are invariably 25 and under, and too fucked to care ;-) In the family field, however, most people opt for comfort.
Now if you bring a baby with you, chances are childless people may find your wee one cute and want cuddles. The temptation may be to say, "Get thee away from me, Drunken Millennials!" If you do that however, you might be missing out on some enduring friendships. At 2016 Eden we met a group of lovely young ladies who wanted to cuddle Xan and as a result of that, we've hung out with them at every subsequent festival we've been to since. Our baby loves nothing more than attention, and he really has got the most out of being with this fabulous bunch:
We met them again at Eden 2017 and this time they were smart enough to bring a gazebo. We weren't, so guess where we spent the bulk of four VERY rainy days? The welcome we got from them was something else, honestly :-)
The contrast between Eden 2016 and 2017 is nowhere more apparent than in the photos. The dry days during 2016 meant I have a lovely photo album showing how we wandered around in T-shirts, looking out all the stuff, from the big headliners to the kooky little stages where a 9 year old was blowing the crowds away with her guitar solos:
Whereas Rainy Eden 2017 I don't have any pictures. But from what I can extricate from my memory, we still had a blast and I don't regret going. The mud started building up on the first night and by the last we were in wellies at Boney M wondering if the sludge would slip over the tops. But the mud was on the main festival grounds where the stages were and not on the campsite, due to the mechanics of foot fall. So even though we got soaked whilst listening to the music acts, we still had a great time and stayed relatively dry in our Friends' gazebo on site.
Eden 2018 is coming up at the end of May and Babble Rock is a much bigger community now than it was two years ago. I have posted the link for our Eden trip on the Babble Rock Facebook group and hope that you will join us there. There are also links for group trips to Knockengorroch Festival, Kelburn Garden Party, and Doune the Rabbithole (the last one we also attended in 2016 and had a blast!)
And if you can't make it, please consider doing the-opposite-of-a-rain-dance for us and wishing us good weather :-)