Dear mummy, festival season has started and we had a blast at Elderflower Fields Festival, helping them to celebrate their 10th birthday!
Finally, after two years of postponement due to the dreaded covid, we made our way to this family friendly festival on the South Coast.
Over the May half term we joined loads of other families on the beautiful estate of Pippingford Park in Sussex, approx 18 miles North-East of Brighton and 32 miles south of London.
We traveled across the picturesque South Downs from Southampton and pitched up just before night fall on Friday. The campsite closed at 10pm so it gave people a chance to arrive after work (like my folks did).
It was our first time attending this three-day festival and we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get onto site and to the campsites.
The campsites opened at midday on Friday, which gave everyone plenty of time to set up camp and explore the festival in the evening. My folks were working, so we arrive shortly before 7pm.
Even though there’s a large hill to get down into the festival, there was still lots of room to pitch when we arrived late on Friday evening.
On arrival the very helpful car parking stewards directed us to the entrance of the site and we quickly found a spot on the outskirts of the festival, after doing a quick recce of the pitches minus our trolley.
It was near enough perfect, close enough to the toilets, showers and far enough away from the main stage on Dragonfly Hill, so that the low beat was a muffled noise (with our ear buds in of course).
Friday night was officially the start of Elderflower Fields festival and the site came alive with music wafting through the trees and the smell of freshly cooked food. Food outlets were open, along with some stages and happy families watching the sunset.
It was a gorgeous clear night and the first festival of our 2022 season. The campsite was relatively quiet but it was VERY cold at night and the generators at the entrance with the big flood lights droned on all night! Maybe next time they can think of reducing the flood lights at the entrance and keep the smaller festi-lights on the pathways instead.
The following morning we woke to a beautiful bright day and we were excited to explore the festival site for the first time. It all looked so pretty with colourful signs and flags blowing in the wind.
It is a varied site, full of woods with a large tree canopies, rivers and a large field. Which is good as it does give a bit of cover if the heavens open (which they did). The majority of the paths were through the woodlands, on a hill and mainly off-road which made pushing buggies and trolleys hard, so bear that in mind when attending in the future. However, the main hub of the festival (lower Dragonfly Hill & Leapfrog Lawns) was relatively flat and accessible leading to the main stage, toilets and the food areas.
The unpredictability of the British summer time meant that we spent the weekend donning our ponchos and rain jackets, shorts and t-shirts. However we were prepared for anything!
At one point we were dancing in the rain after giving up on the weather! Ironically we had spent the majority of the morning applying sunscreen in the blazing sunshine!
There was so much choice for food to eat and Elderflower Fields is definitely a place you will not go hungry! Plus they had a little shop onsite. Street food vendors included offerings of noddles and pies and halloumi fries.
With locally-sourced burgers, hot dogs, cooked breakfast and more, there was something for everyone, whether you were looking for locally-sourced produce, vegan or dairy-free options, or just something simple! The site could do with a few more coffee/soft drink stands though.
Of course the usual suspects were extremely busy. Waffles, Crepes and mini pancakes with long queues at meal times. However I can safely say that the mini pancakes with bacon, maple syrup were the highlight of our foodie expedition and worth the wait! Daddy liked the noodle bar too which was reasonably priced and delicious food.
One of the Elderflower Fields specialties was a communal family picnic, where you participate in groups of 6 to get a picnic bag with tasters from some amazing local businesses.
My favourite stand was the smoothie stall where you could ride a push bike to power the smoothie maker. My banana and strawberry smoothie was delicious and super tasty!
We participated in so many fun activities over the weekend from silent discos to circus tricks, science club to rock climbing. It definitely kept me busy!
There were so many other activities to mention too – from parkour and skateboarding sessions through to lawn games, dance sessions and bush craft. We just couldn’t fit everything in!
Remember that if you do go to Elderflower Fields keep an eye out for your email correspondence beforehand as there is quite a number of activities that have to be pre-booked BUT only book if you’re serious about doing the activity or it prevents others from enjoying the chance.
A lot of the things we did were free over the weekend and unplanned. Our highlights of the festival were:
The Middle Aged Rave
The Middle Aged Rave was my folks best bit and we all let loose! (Check out my highlights video) the Hush Beats silent disco (deposit required) was a laugh and I couldn’t keep up with the shrimp guy!
Into The Trees
I escaped Into The Trees and discovered the amazing Art Trail, then went onto the river kayaking with The Kayak Coach and warmed up by toasting marshmallows.
Jake was brilliant at The Kayak Coach and I had fun exploring the river and playing games in my kayak with a group of 10 other kids. This was definitely a pre-bookable activity we’d recommend.
They supplied all the gear too! It was lovely downtime from the festival and gave my folks a chance to reconnect with nature and chill out on the banks.
Art Club and Drawing By Nature
My folks had pre-booked the Art Club which was held in one of the white marquees in the main festival site. It gave me the opportunity to hide from the rain and create festival crowns and animal inspired lantern bags with glow sticks.
On the edge of the woods we got all arty and made mud monsters, bug sculptures and joined in with Drawing by Nature guided by Lizzie Finn – a very talented artist! The mud kitchen proved popular and always seemed to be busy.
The eclectic music was one of our highlights and we enjoyed fabulous music from Dub Pistols, Johnny Cash Converters, West End Kids, Chloe Lawrence and The Magnificent Kevens.
From musical theatre to dub-step and folk there really was something for everyone. Pop-up entertainment was great and often happened off-stage which gave me the opportunity to interact with the artists.
I got a head for heights on the climbing wall and had hammer time in the Woodland Tribe area…
I used hammers, nails, saws and drills to build the playground of dreams… oh AND then play on it. I also had fun climbing on trees, speeding down the zip wire and swinging on tyre ropes.
There were so many other activities to mention – from parkour and skateboarding sessions through to lawn and circus games, dance sessions and bush craft.
But the best bit was spending time with my family and new friends we met at the festival – everyone was so chilled! Elderflower Fields really IS a family-friendly festival.
Yes, I went a bit feral – but that’s part of the fun of going to a wild festival. We all had a chance to escape the rat race and connect with nature.
We ended the festival on a high listening and dancing to Johnny Cash Converters after packing up earlier due to the weather and being back at work the following day.
The hill back up to the carpark was a bit of a killer however there were no queues and the field was still dry, so no one got stuck in the mud.
The weekend went by in a blur of good ol’ family fun in the woods and musical bliss. But the memories will last a lifetime!
We can’t recommend it enough!
Love Bella and her folks x
The party is back in 2023 so make sure you keep an eye on @elderflowerfields and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have on our experience. You can find more of our coverage on our Instagram page @dear_mummy
*Disclosure – We were provided with complimentary tickets in order to review. All thoughts, photos, funny videos and opinions are our own.*