Bromyard in the mud

For the first time in our experience, and apparently since 1981, Bromyard Folk Festival this year included an almost Glastonbury-worthy quagmire of mud. Happily, we survived to tell the tale…

There was a subtle hint of things to come when I arrived on Friday lunchtime with the Camper and needed a tow onto the site. Although few folk had beaten my unusually early arrival the field was already squishy, if still green, but reports that it had been under water only the previous week were missing from the website (which [ha-ha] stated that ground conditions were ‘good’) and I got bogged down almost immediately. Splendid folk in 4×4’s were on hand though, and I was soon set up with Camper and tent. Miss arrived later with the girls (four of them this year!) who used the tent. Using uncharacteristic good sense, bish managed to park Miss (in his nice clean Prius) on tarmac off-site in a nearby side street.

Ignoring the mud, which got steadily worse and wasn’t helped in the slightest by a massive cloudburst on Friday evening, we hit the pubs and tents where music and beer was committed in roughly equal measure. One thing that was noticeable to us old buffers was the influx of new youth, not only on the stage but in the tents and on the dance floors and even in the Morris sides – which is brilliant! If new blood doesn’t enter the folk scene it will of course die, and the enthusiasm which filled the festival was evident, even though it made some of us feel our age…

We met up with the usual suspects, which was great, and generally didn’t see a lot of the girls at all, which was even better because it meant they were having a stonking time (presumably on the dance floor, though the phrase ‘great boy-fest, mum’ was heard at one point…) The music was varied, almost always excellent, and spread across three tent venues and several town pubs not counting the impromptu sessions that sprung up all over.

We knew it was going to be fun getting off site, but we’d kind of assumed the festival folk would have developed a contingency plan – well the weather had not been unexpected and the field was known to have been waterlogged before the festival started. However, it seemed there was not one but more than half a dozen overlapping contingency plans – some being developed ‘on the fly’ – all running chaotically and mostly in conflict with each other. Lists of folk requiring tows and schedules for tow-offs were all over the place while the radio was awash with confused and irritable stewards. However, due to the diligence of at least one site manager, Simon Walker [applause], who took personal charge of the crisis we got the Camper off the site by mid-day Sunday. The wear and tear of waiting however meant we felt ready to go home a bit earlier than planned.

All in all though a great weekend and we’ll be back again next year. Might check the weather in the preceding week or so next time though, and plan for a backup camp site… Perhaps the festival committee, who otherwise did a wonderful job of staging one of the better folk festivals around, might do likewise. 🙂

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