Harvest has come early at Jimmy’s Farm
Harvest is a time to celebrate, give thanks to the land and enjoy all the bountiful goodness that the countryside has to offer. This was no different at Jimmy’s Harvest Festival last month (AKA Jimmy’s Sausages & Beer Festival). Putting last years wet festival behind us we enjoyed bright sunshine over the festival weekend.
Jimmy’s Farm is located outside Ipswich in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. It’s a working farm and owned by Jimmy Doherty who sprung to fame as a well know farmer, environmentalist, campaigner and TV personality. Famed for food programmes he was the perfect person to celebrate an early harvest with on his farm.
He invited all his friends (everyone is welcome) to his farm to have a party, eat and drink and be merry. We had a fantastic time. Every year Jimmy’s Farm chooses a charity to work with to raise awareness/funds for and this year it was The Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD). We thought it was a great idea to have sign language interpreters next to the main stage to make the festival fully inclusive for everyone.
Clearly Jimmy and his crew had learnt lessons from last year. The festival was slick. Stewards friendly and helpful, campsite was super organised, field was lush and green (we even managed to pitch up in some shade) car parking and travel was a breeze, obtaining wristbands was quick and easy. There were hardly any queues for the toilets or food outlets and the festival had a more relaxed feel this year and seemed more spacious.
Our festival set up was super quick putting us all in the right frame of mood. The campsite was located near the festival entrance in a green lush field with great views of the Suffolk countryside. The majority of the site was flat too, which made it easier for my folks to hike the camping gear from the car.
At the campsite there were hot showers and clean toilets with a full-time cleaning attendant on site throughout which was good. Decent sinks for water and teeth-brushing along with taps for drinking water. Despite challenges with the water supply during the event the team dealt with it quickly and water tanks were then deployed throughout the campsite. A large communal tent provided shade and shelter while the kids were entertained watching Magic Olly in the mornings. Right next door were some fabulous hot & cold refreshments. We brought everything we needed, however there was a shop and store on site which was definitely a great idea for those last-minute items the adults always seem to forget.
There was a campsite bar open from Friday 2pm onwards, closing at 11pm each evening and a welcomed coffee van helping to wake parents up every morning from 7am. We found the security friendly and helpful throughout and it was one of the nicest camping experiences we had. I think this had a lot to do with camping right at the far end of the field where we weren’t disturbed. My routine wasn’t drastically altered (unlike Camp Bestival where it was a bit more noisy and hectic). This is definitely a slower paced music and food festival.
Jimmy’s Farm Harvest Festival was split into 3 main areas The Main Stage, The Kids Zone and The Garden with the food court in the centre. The Main Stage area was large and there was plenty of room for festival goers to set up chairs and picnic blankets to enjoy the performances and as it was on a slight slope it meant that everyone got a good view of the stage. Hay bales were also dotted around the area to give children a viewing platform too. We were lucky with the weather this year and it was dry and sunny for the majority of the event. We even managed to get a tan too!
There were plenty of highlights for us during the festival (read below) and as soon as we arrived there was a man selling watermelon at the campsite entrance which we thought was a genius idea to keep kids cool and entertained and probably my biggest highlight from a food perspective, sorry sausages! A live band played some music and we sat and listened while eating. This gave my daddy time to unpack the car and find a camping pitch. We found the camp site shop selling groceries, toiletries, confectionery, fresh fruit, camping supplies really handy.
The Kids Zone
Kids were well catered for when it came to entertainment. They had a great area to play in, with a giant sandpit, climbing frames, baby care tent, animal petting, ice cream vans, face-painting, Saxon arts & crafts, the only problem we faced was trying to fit everything around the fab music and cooking demonstrations. As this is a lazy days kinda festival, we were all eager to chill out, including me and I was quite happy playing in the fields, though as the weather was so fantastic finding shade to cool off was sometimes a challenge, but better than the previous years rain!
Within the kids area, hidden away in the woods, was the Woodland Stage where we saw JB Gill read his storytime book. Formerly one-quarter of the boyband JLS, JB has since found his feet in the farming world. JB has invested his money from the band into farming and is passionate about educating children on the sources of their food. JB is currently a presenter on CBeebies ‘Down on the Farm’ and maintains that “there is no better environment for children to develop and learn than on a farm”. We’d love to visit JB Gill on his farm and see what he gets up too! The Woodland Stage was a tranquil setting and lovely that there was a tea and bar shack nearby too. Hopefully next year they can do more with this area, like have some woodland crafts and activities.
Science and Nature Trail
We had fun building a woodland den, planting some seeds with the Skinny Jean Gardeners and discovering what was in the pond. Sadly the butterfly enclosure was closed this year for refurbishment, I hope they were all ok in the very hot sunshine. We loved going pond dipping and fishing with Dolly at Jimmy’s Farm, last year we never got round to it, so jumped at the chance to catch a fish with Dolly. I even caught a small fish, though daddy tried to take the credit but it was all thanks to me. I enjoyed putting the little fish back again. After all it’s a sausage festival not a fish festival!
We also liked petting some of the animals at the farm and watching the amazing peacock and little ducklings. I love pigs so it was great to see them and the many piglets though I think they weren’t enjoying the heat sometimes. There was also a beautiful peacock that I could hear from the campsite in the morning, it was lovely to see it up close with its colourful feathers.
We love a good circus and enjoyed watching the performances and magic shows in the kids zone, however they could have done with turning down the volume at times as I wanted to snooze! With so much to do this year I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as last year.
We we’re super lucky to get up close to see Mr Bloom and his Veggie Patch friends at the Main Stage on Sunday and it was a great performance which had the whole crowd bopping away. The inflatable props were eye-catching and the songs infectious. My friend and I managed to see ourselves on the screen behind Mr Bloom we were so close though I think my friend’s mummy really likes Mr Bloom too ;). His songs were really fun and he introduced us to all his veggie friends, I wasn’t lucky enough to get the chance to look after one of them on this occasion but it was lovely to see them in the flesh having seen him and the veggies on television. I did wish Mr Tumble had been there too, as we saw him last year at Jimmy’s.
Chas & Dave
Mummy and Daddy had mentioned Chas & Dave before last year and weren’t able to see them because I was too tired however this year we had a great bop around to them. This was the first time I had heard their music and I loved it. I managed to squeeze right to the front to listen to them. They had bigger beards than my daddy! They got the crowd fired up on Sunday just before the main headliner Newton Faulkner who was amazing! The farm was the perfect back drop to his amazing music and it was a great way to end the festivities. His rendition of Teardrop by Massive Attack and Dream Catch Me was magical though by this time I was very tired so I listened to him from the campsite.
The food was amazing and everywhere we looked there was mouth-watering food to entice us. We could have spent a small fortune, so just make sure you bring plenty of money with you, with meals costing from £6-£12. We liked all the bravado of DJ BBQ’s stand and he was very busy selling his yummy BBQ food. We enjoyed sausages from Mountain’s Boston Sausages and Simons Sausages (2015 Winner). We thought Simons Sausages were the #JimmysBestBanger again this year.
But it wasn’t just about the sausages. There was a wide range of food from wood fired pizza, burritos, cheeses and pies, cous cous, salads, waffles and amazing ice creams. My only ask Jimmy is that you get the stall holders to consider us little ones a bit more with child portions and prices as my pocket-money didn’t last very long.
Cider and Ale
The festival isn’t just about the food though and there’s nothing like a good beer or Cider to accompany great food, though I’m too little for this just yet. My mummy loved Aspall Isabel’s Berry Cider and Adnams Ghost Ship. Daddy enjoyed Golden Panther and Lime infused Cider, though there are lots of Ales and Lagers on offer too I’m told.
We loved watching Company B and they are a 7 piece “jump jive” band who bring the sights and sounds of the 1940s bang up to date with a rowdy energetic show full of swing and swagger. Company B play the songs of Louis Prima, Louis Jordan and others alongside their own “tongue in cheek” originals to create a hot atmosphere which is surprisingly cool to all ages. I really enjoyed their music and so did Daddy. I got to meet them at the end so I could show them my microphone. They said when I was older I could sing with them! I got to give them all high fives!
We were sad to hear that Polar Collective were parting ways after seeing them last year, we thought they were brilliant again this year.
Harry Pane & Jake Morrell
We loved listening to Harry Pane and Jake Morrell and they are definitely stars! We got to see them perform on the acoustic garden stage which we all enjoyed last year and was even busier this year as the choice of location for the stage did cause some restrictions on where you could sit to watch. I enjoyed the opportunity to rest in the shade with the wonderful songs they performed.
One area that we didn’t get round to visiting was the ever popular Jimmy’s Cookshack playing host to some of the best chefs in the country and offering demonstrations and tasting sessions. Maybe next year my mummy might be able to break away from the Main Stage. We’d heard from friends that the star of the show was Jack Monroe and DJ BBQ on the Sunday. If you are into your food and want to learn recipes and see demonstrations than this is a definite element of the festival you want to attend.
This area was our favourite of the whole site, the garden stage was nestled amongst the vegan apple patch and orchard trees, with stunning flowers and a true my British Country Garden feel it was a beautiful backdrop to an acoustic stage. We found shade and sat for hours, napping and dozing, drinking local cider and eating fresh sausages. It was heaven on earth!
One of the most idyllic festivals we’ve ever been too, we all chilled out and enjoyed good food, good music and good times. I’m sure you can tell by our photos that the location was beautiful. Its great when a festival organiser takes on board feedback, learns from experience and delivers. The great weather was a stark contrast to last year and so we got to enjoy it the way it is meant to be, as a family and with good friends.
We will definitely be back Jimmy! You’ve made a life long buddy.
Love Bella xx
Fancy joining us next year?