Considering attending The Big Feastival 2019? We’ve just returned from a brilliant weekend at The Big Feastival. It was our first time at the family friendly festival although it definitely will not be our last as we loved it – the magical atmosphere, the live music, stunning Cotswolds setting, incredible food and the fact that there were families (and kids in pimped up trollies!) everywhere you looked. I’m sharing our top tips for making the most of The Big Feastival 2019 whilst they are still fresh in my mind. Including what there is to do if it rains as I know this is a big concern for parents considering booking a festival.
I’ve tried to cover all the information I was searching for online this time last week as I was packing for us to camp for the weekend at The Big Feastival. I hope you find them useful in planning your weekend. For more info, read our review here of the Big Feastival 2018.
Disclosure – My family and I were invited as guests to review The Big Feastival. All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.
The Big Feastival 2019: 13 top tips for attending
Do stay on site although arrive early on the Friday
When else will you get the chance to stay in Alex James back garden?! In my opinion, staying on site is a huge part of The Big Feastival experience. Different options are available from regular camping like we did, through to taking your own camper van, camping in a pre erected tent, paying for a guaranteed plot (which I would recommend if you can’t get there early on the Friday as the camping fields get very busy) and even glamping in a yurt.
We were amazed at how quiet it was after the acts had finished on the main stage (22.45) and also in the morning. My youngest slept in until 9am both mornings and he is a light sleeper.
Grab a good camping pitch
You want to be away from the toilets and showers so that you can’t hear the constant banging of the doors, but not too far away for midnight toilet dashes. We found it impossible when we arrived mid afternoon on the Friday (just before it peed it down!) to find a big enough pitch to put up both our tent and gazebo like we did at Cornbury Festival recently. Looking around, not many people had gazebo’s up. Socialising tended to take place in the festival arena itself rather than around the campsite. We found that the campsites were pretty deserted from 10am on both Saturday and Sunday when the festival arena opened.
Pack some food but plan to eat out too
I would recommend that you pack some food to save the pennies (especially if you are there as a family) but plan to eat out too. Trying out the food on offer is also a big part of the Big Feastival experience. Main meals on average this year were £8.50 – £10.00 (i.e. a large plate of chicken and chorizo paella was £8.50, as was a gourmet burger and a duck sushi wrap). It’s definitely an expensive affair if you’re there for three full days as a family, although the food on offer is of fabulous quality and certainly not like the standard of festivals from your uni days! Many of the stalls and sponsors give out free food and drink samples. This year Dorset Cereal were one of the sponsors and had a marquee in the camping area which was a great place to head to for a free, nutritious and tasty breakfast.
Invest in a trolley/garden cart
The car parks are a fair walk from the camp sites plus of course you maybe walking around for a while trying to find a pitch big enough for your tent. We bought this trolley for £80 from Screw Fix and it’s brilliant. The sides lay flat to fit into your car and it’s sturdy enough to carry up to 200kg, so definitely strong enough to transport my two boys around the festival ground. (We originally had a cheaper version from Home Base which was rickety and poorly made so we took it back and invested in a better quality one).
Alternatively, you can put down a £50 deposit to hire a trolley (plus £5 for 30 minutes and £5 for every additional 20 minutes) from a stand in the car park. They also hire them out for three days for £70. Obviously if you plan to go to future festivals it’s worth investing in your own.
Take food into the festival ground
Although The Big Feastival is quite commercialised with huge sponsors I was very pleasantly surprised to find that we were not searched on our way into the festival arena. Security just briefly looked to check we had wristbands. In theory you could go into the festival arena with full on picnics, although to be fair as already mentioned you wouldn’t want to as the food on offer is pretty amazing! Always good to pack a few fave snacks for kiddies though to avoid those inevitable tantrums and to save a few pennies. Parents with picky eaters are catered for too with a Family Dining area with kid friendly meal options.
Don’t let the ‘designated cooking areas’ put you off cooking
We’ve camped at many festivals and never been told where we can and can’t cook (with the exception of no BBQ’s allowed, which is completely understandable around tents). We very nearly didn’t pack our cooking stove as we read on the Big Feastival website that cooking was only allowed in the campsite designated cooking areas (to minimise fire risk). As soon as we got there we saw people cooking outside of their tents so it wasn’t a rule that was strictly imposed. As we could only see one cooking area per camping field it would’ve been quite inconvenient to have to keep walking back and forth with cooking gear. To be honest the ground was very wet during the wkd so there was a low fire risk so we did cook by our tent on a couple of occasions.
Pack your shower kit and carry toilet roll
No need to make do with baby wipe washes (woo hoo!). We found that the shower queue died down pretty quickly, as there were 24 showers in our camping field alone. The showers were also pretty clean with a handy hook behind a screen to keep clothes dry. (It’s worth packing flip flops so you can keep your shoes on in the shower and pack a shower cap too if you want to avoid your hair getting wet as the hose is in a fixed position).
The portaloos were ok. Not the worse I’ve seen, although not the best I’ve experienced at family friendly festivals either. There never seemed to be loo roll so carry some around with you. We were impressed that each block of portaloos had a hand washing station with running water. (Some festivals just provide hand sanitizer which is pretty gross). You can upgrade and pay for When Nature Calls posh toilets inc. GHD hair straighteners etc, however when paying for a family this option can get very expensive.
Buy a festival programme (but don’t try to fit it all in!)
The festival programmes on a lanyard were £7. In my opinion a very worthwhile £7 as The Big Feastival is pretty spread out and takes place in various marquees, stands, bars. You’ll miss out on loads if you don’t have a programme. I found however that the best things we did we just kind of stumbled upon. We knew when the main acts were, and had a quick look through the programme in the morning to see what cooking demos we wanted to try and sign up for, but apart from that we just went with the flow. I think this is the best thing to do, particularly when there with kids.
Get there early to book cooking demos/classes
You can tell a mile off who The Big Feastival pros are! They line up waiting for the festival arena to open up, (11am Fri, 10am Sat and Sun,) and literally SPRINT to the Neff cooking demo stands as soon as the festival is announced as open.
My hubby couldn’t believe it on the Saturday when he strolled over with our eldest son to have a mooch around whilst my youngest son and I finished getting dressed. He phoned me from the line waiting to sign up to the veggie pizza kids cooking class. Apparently they saw everyone running and felt they just had to join in! The adult and kid cookery classes are VERY popular and fill in very quickly. If you want to sign up you need to be prepared to queue at the registration times.
Look the part!
You’ll feel more part of it if you get into the festival spirit! We paid to get our faces painted with glitter (£10 per adult, £5 child under 5) and also bought a can of hair colour for £3. Other festival goers had sparkly trousers, wacky hair do’s. You name it anything goes at The Big Feastival.
To save money steer clear of the fair ground
One of the many things we loved about The Big Feastival was that most activities for kids were included in the cost of the entry including circus skills, shows in the Big Top tent, cooking classes and visiting the animals. The only thing we paid extra for were the fair ground rides (and food obvs). 10 tokens cost £10 and each ride was £3-£4 per person.
What is there to do in the rain at The Big Feastival?
When tried to persuade friends to join us at The Big Feastival but most were put off by the cost and concern that it could be a wash out in bad weather. There’s no denying that family festivals in general are expensive. A weekend family pass to The Big Feastival for 2 adults and 2 under 12 years old this year cost £473.50, with two x teenagers the cost would be £608. We’ve taken our boys to six family festivals, all in the UK, over the last few years and yet this was the first time we’ve experienced heavy rain so we’ve been very lucky.
The heavy rain on the Sunday was a great opportunity to check out some of the rainy day Big Feastival activities for ourselves. I can hand on heart say that I prefer lounging around on a picnic blanket watching the live acts in the sunshine whilst sipping on a drink. I mean come on, who wouldn’t?! BUT during the heavy rain on the Sunday we also enjoyed the kids’ entertainment in the Big Top tent, maypole dancing, cooking demos, crafts and practicing circus skills, all which took part under cover.
We found that there were lots of under cover activities scattered around in various marquees in the festival arena, however the main stage area offered no rain cover at all. To watch the main acts in bad weather you need to be fully kitted out with waterproof jackets, trouser, an umbrella, wellies, etc. I noticed some very clever parents had pitched tents by the main stage so that their kids could watch the kids headlining act for Sunday, Andy Day, without getting wet.
Book early for Big Feastival 2019!
If you’ve decided you’re going to Big Feastival 2019 then book as soon as you can as ticket prices go up as the year goes on. Keep your eyes peeled on their website and Facebook page for early bird discounts and also giveaways. I ran lots of family festival giveaways via this website and my Facebook page this year too, so keep checking back here or subscribe to our newsletter (see homepage) to be kept informed.
The Big Feastival contact details
Website – https://thebigfeastival.com/
The Big Feastival Address – Alex James’s Farm, Kingham, Chipping Norton OX7 6UJ
Further info – Big Feastival 2018 review
I hope you’ve found these tips for attending The Big Feastival 2019 useful! If you have any to add please do pop them below.
Pin for later