Some people thought I’d lost the plot somewhat, going to the Elderflower Fields outdoor music festival in the Ashdown Forest last weekend. Not only am I pregnant and about as agile as a listing ship, but my husband and I are also trying to potty train our reluctant, headstrong daughter. We camped, too. Our tent was pitched on a slope and I kept rolling off our air mattress in the middle of the night, while the torrential rain lashed down outside. The combination of downpours, potty action, liquid mud, a toddler demented with excitement and a bad back was one very rock ‘n roll combo. I had a few epic sense-of-humour failures, especially when the the sun shining on the top of the tent at 6am felt like a blowtorch levelled at my head. However, one of the few things that kept me going throughout the weekend was the food at the festival. It was bloody lovely.
I think it’s pretty much taken for granted that you can eat well at the smaller, independent music festivals these days. I always put on about a stone at The Green Man, where I can eat anything from Spanish paella to Goan fish curry. Anyway, Elderflower Fields is a tiny affair in comparison – I’d estimate about 1500 people were there. Very nice and chilled. And you could eat properly nice grub served by local Sussex food traders. Wood fired pizza. Great quality hog roast. Homemade ice cream. Chilli con carne with cocoa – ay caramba! A small, but well-formed selection of eclectic stalls (ranging from vintage caravans, Bedouin tents and old French Citroen vans) ensured I didn’t have a full-on pregnancy hunger meltdown.
Homemade ice cream (we tried rum ‘n raisin and raspberry and champagne sorbet) from Sugar Mice and their beautifully-restored 1960’s caravan. The weather did improve, and the queues stretched right through the forest:
EPIC savoury French-style gallettes from Creperie Lui, stuffed with cheese, cured ham and mushroom:
I’d rather go for a nice coffee here than in some bland, horrible chain any day:
Naughty gin and elderflower cocktails in the heart of the forest:
Gorgeous wood fired pizza from The Pizza Wagon with lovely smoky charred bits in the crust – proper, like:
How awesome to buy coffee and smoothies served fresh from vintage VW campervans – The Bugbar Vitality Cafe!
Serious smokery for the hog roast stall (don’t envy the pig inside):
To top it all off, on the Sunday lunchtime, every single person at the festival was given a free picnic lunch by the guys running the event. You had to get into groups of 12, then one person would go and queue up for a picnic sack of treats. We had so much food, ranging from dips, bread and olives to cheeses, charcuterie and an entire family-sized chocolate cake! Not forgetting some humungous Scotch Eggs. All the food came from the local Sussex area and it was all delicious. Absolutely brilliant. No mean feat – imagine feeding this many people all at once…