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Top 10 tips to survive the winter without festivals!

Every year it happens, the festival season stumbles to a close and yes.. we start to sulk... ((cries like a baby)) ....we want the festival season back......

The kids are back at school and you are slipping back into normal life. The nights are getting dark so much earlier and there is no doubt that the smell of autumn is in the air.
You don't have any more holiday to take and no one is doing anything!
You start to long for those long balmy nights, where your only problem you had was which clashing bands you would choose and if you were going to run out of cider or not before Sunday night. If Only we could have our summer back!
Here are my top tips for surviving winter as a festival goer.

1- Live music

If you are one of these festival goers for whom it is all about the music, then find a winter based festival. Many towns and cities host winter music festivals which hold gigs and live entertainment across various venues around the town or area. Our favourite is Whitby Goth weekend. There are hundreds of gigs around the town and the whole town turns into a winter festival. Folks get dressed up and simply just walk about enjoying the vibe of the town. With walk-about artists and other activities around the town you really do feel like you are at a festival...the shops in whitby are very 'ethnic' and 'crafty' so you can still buy your tie-dye t-shirts and Buddha joss stick holders like you would in a field. Also if you are brave you can even camp. There are various fields that open up for the weekend just for the festival goers to camp and there are some very splendid bed and breakfasts. This town is famous for been the landing place of Dracula himself. For the real Gothic experience try they fabulously themed Bats and Broomsticks B&B, with coffins in the hallways, sumptuous four poster beds and candle lit breakfasts it really does set the scene... but you will need to book well in advance for Goth weekend! Another good alternative place to bed down is La Rosa, these guys have not only a groovy vintage B&B but the coolest caravan park ever! ( you totally have to check out the website) !

2- Get Creative

Maybe you are an arty bod and your festival experiences are all about discovering your creative side by getting involved with workshops and craft classes. If so then get on-line and have a look what is going on in your community. You will be surprised how many workshops and classes you will find. From felting ( try Em Fountain) , ceramics, leather work, painting and drawing and even the more interesting taxidermy and such! art galleries offer workshops but many of the crafts people you see in the fields at summer need to earn a living in the winter, they will be doing their classes somewhere....check them out on the web!

3- Finding your Chi!

So do you need your morning meditation, gong bath or tai chi at sunset? If the healing fields is your favourite place at the festivals then thats easy! take your yoga mat into the garden or join a tai chi group in your local park. If you want to find something more challenging and life changing search the web for weekend retreats . Try Barefoot Retreats for weekends and days away. Run by the lovely Lousia from Barefoot festival, she provides wonderful and life affirming events, workshops and classes for all levels of experience and intrests.

3-Get the kids outdoors.

Maybe your a family festival Mama or Papa? do you spend your summer festival weekends discovering and playing with the kidlets? if so... time to find something to get you all back outside... try a bush craft organisation like Spinny Hollow, Geoff and the gang are regular festival goers and you will find them offering workshops at many of the best kids and craft areas. Outside of festival life they have a coppice in winchester, you can visit and do so much more than they bring to the fields.. try them! Also have a look locally too, there are lots of outdoor adventures to be had, horse riding, foraging, nature trails and even the Go Ape will offer you and your little ones and outdoor winter activities that will keep the field sadness at bay.

4- Chat to likeminded souls

If you fell you are stuck in a world of suburbia and work and can't find anyone you can connect with and share your festival joy. Then try an online forum. Most festivals have them and Efestivals have loads of subjects to join in on. Or follow a blog, of course you can read mine :-) but try following musicians, artists and festival parents for example. Festival Kidz are great as is Earth Based Fun

While all these ideas are great, if you have spent all your festival dollars over the summer and need something cheaper and easier and a bit more.... grass roots.. then try....

5- Finding some green and enjoying it.

The most lovely thing about summer festivals is the pace of life. Just sitting and chatting with your family or friends and slipping into festival time is magic. So.....Get your wellies out and make a picnic, pack the guitar or ukulele if you have them (or a portable stereo if not). Find somewhere green and quiet and go sit, eat, sing and just chat. Invite friends, take the kids and just enjoy. Doesn't matter what the weather is, just get wrapped up and just... sit! you could even take a tent, throw it up, hang some bunting and spend the day just existing in a field.

sell bell tents complete with cosy stoves.. so you can even stay in your tent for the day all cosy and warm...

6- Enjoying the rain.

I know when it rains at a festival you really really want it to stop, you spend loads of time imagining how different you weekend would be if you could lounge about on the grass drinking cider and how you would be sat out around a campfire until dawn started to break.... but there is nothing more likely to bring back happy memories than the rain. The sound of rain pattering on your tent or camper van roof will always make you fell cosy and this sound will take you straight back there. So if it starts raining, sit in the conservatory if you have one, or even the car, maybe just sit in the house, turn off the telly/ radio and open the windows. Just take time to listen to the pitter patter and feel the odd splash. The smell of damp ground afterwards is pretty special too if you allow yourselves to notice..maybe put the tent up or erect a canopy in the garden to sit under when it rains... don't forget to jump in muddy puddles!

7- Sitting outside no matter what the weather.

When your friends come around for a cosy warming coffee or simply if you are all climbing the walls, just turn everything off, wrap yourself up and go sit outside. We have a couple of benches we built from wood we found at Glastonbury, its so easy to do. just find some bits of wood, some nails and get creative... Just sitting outside with a warm drink either by yourself or with company is a very lovely thing. Try warm spiced cider or mulled wine.. maybe a hot toddy.... for added effect add....

8- Lighting A Campfire and making the most of it.

Such a simple thing, but so effective and it makes sitting out in the winter all that more appealing. Keep a stock of fire wood and kindling, even some fire lighters for ease. You can pick up metal fire pans and various fire based recepticals all over the high street these days! Need more? why not go the whole hog and dig a fire pit. We have a permanent fire pit in our garden, you can too and they don't have to be ugly... dig out the turf and fill with gravel or stones, build your campfire and sit on a rug, a rustic bench ( see above) or even bring out the camping chairs. You can light a fire quickly and easily with fire lighters, kindling and logs, maybe just buy a 'firestarter log', just light the paper and get an hours worth of flames. Get out the marshmallows and sausages if you are staying out for the night, maybe get on eBay and find an iron kettle and have a steady stream of hot water on the go for brews. Get some fire irons and boil soup or stews. you can stay outside for hours.

Top tip; there is nothing more magical than a campfire in the snow.

9-Celebrate festival style

You have bonfire night, halloween, christmas eve and new years eve to celebrate , so invite your festival pals and do all the things listed above! get wrapped up, hang canopies, bunting and light a fire, put up a bell tent and light the stove, sit on hand made benches, share blankets, drink warming drinks, play music, sing and dance.... your festival is only a scarf away!

10- Buy your tickets

Make use of early bird deals, book time of work and start planning. Maybe add new camping gear to your christmas list.... download a count down App and start counting down the days to your first event

Just remember its the people that make the festival vibe, that and the great outdoors!
As a great friend of mine says.....

"there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing "

So stop sulking and start partying.. summer will be here soon!

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