With the end of the summer nigh and the onslaught of autumnal weather and colours imminant, most people could be forgiven for buying winter coats, gathering logs for the burner and checking out the latest mulled wine recipe fads. However, as much as we’re ones to absolutely embrace autumn (probably our favourite season), we’re also ones to look forward and, with festival tickets on sale earlier and earlier each year (many with monthly payment plans); we’re also turning our attention to which must-have festival tickets we need to get our grubby little hands on for next summer’s sun-drenched exploits.  After loving it again this year, chief among them will be Timber Festival.

I’m calling it right now that Timber Festival has got to be right up there as one of the best small festivals in Britain.  Its blend of cool, eclectic music; a vast array of family friendly entertainment; pop-up theatre, acrobatics and storytelling; together with a unique space in the National Forest and a vibe that gently encourages you to relax and chill out; means this festival is currently our number one small family-friendly festival in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong, Timber Festival is NOT a kids festival.  Although it is organised and promoted by the same good people (Wild Rumpus) who put together the uniquely child-orientated Just So Festival, Timber Festival is still very much a festival for grown-ups.  The funny thing is that by the time you’re ready to leave, you’ll without doubt have rediscovered a little bit of the that inner child inside of you.

A prime example of this was the marble run that was there in the middle of the forest this summer.  I took the kids along to have a go and once I’d got over the hand carved wood excellence of this awesome creation I, along with many other ‘grown-ups’, was busy competing with the kids to see come could get their marble to complete the course.

On the main stage, Stealing Sheep were our firm favourites bouncing out their electropop beats with customary sequins and swagger.  And, although they were amply supported by the likes of Gwenno, Jessica Hoop and Tawiah; it was great to see the stage also give prominence to comedy and the spoken word in the shape of Phill Jupitus and Stuart MacConie.

As much as we loved lazing by the main stage, beer or gin in hand as the kids did cartwheels to the music, the highlight for us had to be the simply amazing The Baron in the Trees: Lost in Translation.  Part awe-inspiring circus show, part beautifully told story; it had us, the kids and everyone else in the audience mesmerised.  The fact that we were stood watching this in the middle of the forest at dusk with beautifully choreographed lighting only made the experience more special.

It may sound odd, but the campsite itself is also definitely worth a mention.  Although busy, you don’t get that same cramped feeling of living right on top of other festival goers at Timber Festival.  There’s actually enough room for the kids to play catch outside the tent in the morning while we cook up a breakfast.  The toilets and showers and without doubt the best I’ve experienced at a festival too.  What’s more, there’s no special ticket and extra charge required for the showers that, even at their busiest, we only queued about 10 minutes for.

All in all, Timber Festival is an eco-conscious, quirky, beautifully set, relaxed, thinking family’s festival.  I can’t think of another small festival I’d rather be at next summer.  

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