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Tuesday 28 August 2012


I'm strictly a "Today" programme kind of gal first thing in the morning. It's a habit that I've inherited from my parents - Radio 4 in the kitchen. I find there's nothing more likely to wake me up properly (other than a decent cup of coffee) than huffing along with John Humphries et al to the latest guff some politician is making up.

I therefore hadn't heard of Carfest, the festival thought up by Chris Evans in aid of Children In Need, until a friend mentioned it to me. The idea, apparently, was simple - a festival for families, combining his favourite things; cars, food and music. It appealed immediately - my husband is a car fan, I like food, and who doesn't like music? As it also meant giving the newly purchased tent another outing, it seemed like a good idea all round.

So, one April morning saw my friend and myself simultaneously on the phone to each other and waiting for the ticket website to go online, and we managed to garner a much-sought after weekend camping pass for the two families.

Last Friday, therefore, we ventured into deepest Hampshire, queued with several thousand others, and jostled for space to pitch our tents. It turned out to be a weekend of many firsts, not only the first festival I had been to since Glastonbury in (eek) 1995(!), but also the first festival for my children, and I think it was probably the perfect introduction for them - not too large for it to all be a bit overwhelming, but also plenty of entertainment (best bit? "The dancing diggers", apparently). Other firsts included my first experience of a "shewee" - something which impressed my daughters so much I don't think they will ever want to go to the loo sitting down again!

It was all a bit more civilised than I remembered my last festival experience to be - the atmosphere was lovely and friendly, the food was varied and extremely delicious, and you knew you were at a middle-class festival when Ocado were delivering to site. Between our party of seven, we managed to sample burgers, sausages, noodles, paella, burritos, smoothies, whitebait and pancakes, and make our own buffalo milk ice cream. It's also fair to say that the "Best of British" tent full of small food producers giving out samples also got a good going over.

We danced to "Rockaoke", this guy here, The Bootleg Beatles, Razorlight, Texas, and many more. We got soaked on Saturday and fried on Sunday, and I think my eldest daughter won prize for most authentic festival "look" with her shorts, fleece, wellies and sunglasses combo. All in all, however, I think I knew the first family festival was a success when we got in the car to go home and my youngest daughter burst into tears because she didn't want to leave...


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