Eight of us from the Chaffcombe area started out on Friday morning in our Motorhomes and/or Trailer Tents feeling excited and with the weather looking promising. It was dry. Some had to start off earlier than us as they had volunteered to be stewards during the weekend. This was to be Rowland’s and my first real Folk Festival and we were looking forward to being with friends and enjoying the venue. I used to live near Priddy when I was a small child and I was looking forward to seeing the area again. I also had the opportunity to go potholing at Priddy during my teenage years.
We arrived at about 10:20 a.m. and were immediately shown where to park in the field provided. Fortunately all 4 vehicles from Chaffcombe were able to park close together. The field was dry and the weather still warm and sunny.
The festival itself did not start until the evening so Rowland and I walked around the village of Priddy to familiarize ourselves with the various parts of the festival, be it the Top Green, Church, Village Hall, The Green, Market Field, Market Square, The New Inn and the Victoria Inn where later various acts, workshops, Morris dancing, interviews with celebrities, stalls etc. would be available to us.
Suddenly early evening the weather changed. It rained, rained and rained and the dry fields and venues became waterlogged, muddy and flooded, but to my astonishment this awful weather did not stop
the high spirits of the festival goers.
They just put on their various coloured wellies and waterproofs and went about their business as though it was not raining at all. The children loved it and purposely walked and ran through the floods and the mud, falling over on purpose and the parents just laughed. They were enjoying it.
During Friday evening various concerts could be enjoyed either in the Swildons Marquee or the Eastwater Marquee. You could just switch to either tent to see whatever group or singer you chose and then go back to the original tent and so on. Still the rain pelted down and the floods came up, even into the marquees but nobody was very concerned, whoever was on the stage was more important. If you were brave enough you could have gone for a 10 mile run at 6.00 p.m. After the concerts had finished at about 12 midnight you could then go up to the Village Hall to join in the folk dancing.
By Saturday morning it was still raining and it was then getting very muddy. This rain continued all day and night, but it did not spoil our fun. So long as you had waterproofs and wellies you were fine. I’ve never seen so many different colours in wellington boots! During the morning you could choose to see various dance groups in one marquee or sing in the Conservatory at The New Inn, look at the many stalls, join in the workshops, meet the artists or do whatever you wished – there was plenty to see and do. You could learn to Morris dance or go to the City Clickers workshop. There were workshops and play areas for the children as well.
The concerts continued late into the afternoon and evening. There was something for everyone to enjoy.
Miraculously by the time we woke up on Sunday morning the sun was shining and the rain had stopped. The mud started to dry up in some places and the floods went down. It proved to be a hot and lovely sunny day. One had still to wear your wellies but not your raincoat. Again as on other days there were various workshops, concerts, children’s workshops etc., and plenty to eat and drink if you so wished. You could go on a wildlife walk on Sunday or on Saturday there had been an archaeological walk. Something for everyone.
Rowland and I enjoyed our first experience of a folk festival but obviously it would have been better without the rain but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. If you have not been and like folk music you must try to go along even for a day. You will be surprised as to how much there is to do and take part in. Saturday would probably be the best day if you are going only for the day. See you there next year!! It will be a hot and sunny weekend!!!!