I am typically not a frequenter of music festivals: in fact, in my burgeoning middle-aged resentment of culture I have all but given up going to most concerts. London gigs are hard work: probably you have to schlep out to Hammersmith or something, and wade through crowds of inebriated scenesters only to have them talk over you for the whole concert. And so on. But The Big Chill was an invite it would be rude to decline and in fact, turned out to be rather lovely.
The Big Chill is not like an ordinary festival. It’s not in a grim suburban field but a beautiful deer park in deepest Herefordshire. The toilets are cleaned regularly; there are children scampering around collecting your used cups (good on whoever came up with a 10p cup deposit); food is not hot dogs and expensive burgers but boureks and mint gunpowder tea, or jerk chicken and fair trade coffee. Things to see eschew bucking broncos, dirty campers and Kings of flipping Leon, instead featuring art installations, Spencer Tunick’s naked people, Massive Attack, Mondo Cane and Gregory Isaacs. And best of all was Mr Scruff’s tea tent.
It seemed only appropriate then that amongst the furry hat stalls and the bubble wand stalls and the Action Aid chuggers was a sizeable Oxfam tent distributing festival wear to the fashion-conscious. Wellies and footwear in abundance of course, as was par for a festival in which the weather was never exactly certain. But not only this, an entire stand for leather and tweed; a wedding dress corner; a trough, literally, of wigs and hats. And, most usefully, a stand full of waterproofs in various wacky hues and shapes. My constant charity shopping companion (now officially The Wife Herself) made good use of a fantastic, granny-styled waterproof which proved extremely useful when sitting in the cold outside the Revellers tent because it was full of Plan B fans.
Much as I hate every other person generally, there was a lovely atmosphere at the Big Chill and the Oxfam tent is really just an excuse to wax enthusiastic about a fun time. I recommend.
Find: The Big Chill @ Google Maps
Consume with: Mr. Scruff’s Tea Tent was my highlight of the weekend – the excellent tea was accompanied by some awesome-smelling brownies and a view of ducks in a pond. Most charming.
Visit: maybe the Victorian Funfair, or the art installations of the Enchanted Garden.
Overall rating: four jester hats