First launched in 2001, Blissfields is small but perfectly formed, entertaining up to 5,000 festival folk in a pretty tree-lined mini wilderness in the Hampshire countryside. With music til 4am each day if you want it (though that’s way beyond our bedtime!), the festival is a celebration of music, cinema and arts of all kinds, now celebrating its 15th year with the theme ‘Somewhere in Time.’
This year, the dedicated kids area in Angel Gardens will be presenting the spectacular new White Rabbit Cabaret, a huge yellow and white tent filled with all manner of performers and wonders from dance, drama, yoga,
music and general daftness.
Musical Maestros Main stage highlights include The Horrors, Rhodes, Beans on Toast, Karen Harding, Ghostpoet, Simian Mobile Disco, John Grant among other amazing artists. Strictly for the grown-ups only is the much anticipated Rebel Bingo, a crazy mash-up of clubbing meets bingo stage show with prizes, glitter balls and the promise of hedonistic mayhem.
Featured Fun Seek out the Hidden Hedge as dusk falls for a multi-sensory explosion of vibrant installations, including a giant bug-eyed beastie with mesmerizing eyes, big audio visual effects featuring live mixed sounds – and an enormous fire pit with chill-out area. Missill, Gypsy Disco Jolta and Dan Munro are the main artists in the Hidden Hedge.
The Zones The Singularity for international acts; The Now And Den for undercover acts; The Hidden Hedge; Blisscotheque with DJs; The Larch acoustic stage; Craft Area; Angel Gardens Family Area; Electric Dreams film tent; and Amoeba to Zebra, an educational and debating area with speakers and lectures co-hosted by the Born Free Foundation.
- A full mini festival in the Angel Gardens, just for little Blissfielders and their families, with a full programme of arts and crafts, including hobby horse making, sock pets, bath bombs, chocolate making, sweet making and giant bubble-wand making for blowing the biggest bubbles Blissfields has ever seen.
- The White Rabbit Cabaret tent is a hive of activity and events, with kids entertainers and a cheesy disco with embarrassing dads dancing competition. John Travolta suits at the ready!
- On Saturday, there’s an unusual meet-and-greet with some lovely ponies to groom and ride.
- Themed parties for pirates and princesses with magicians, party games and singing.
- Activistz Kidz Club is where young politicos are encouraged to protest a subject of their choosing, making banners, learning chants and talking about why people protest and what they achieve. Let’s hope it’s not “No More School!”
- Don’t forget to pack your outfits for the two themed evening discos: one is onesies, and the other Christmas, complete with countdown to New Year.
- The garden will host a variety of nonsense and silliness, such as the waterless duck race, silly games tournament and even a staff vs kids tug of war!
- For the teeniest of festivallers, the babycare tent has all the kit you need for changing and feeding, as well as fun sessions on baby signing and yoga for minis, making hand casts and sing-songs.
Chill Out Time The Fields Of Bliss Spa, with red Cedarwood hot tubs, saunas, massage, showers, freshly laundered hammam towels and a relaxation area is the place to unwind.
Dining Tables A selected range of artisan eateries covering all manner of food styles and flavours from curries at the Asian Grub Foundation to Thai at Bangwok, Burger Bliss, Bread and Butter retro cafe, artisanal beverages from Full Stop Bar and Cafe Royale, Fat Salad, Happy Maki sushi, Luardos burritos, Pommarola Pizza Gardens, Pulled slow-roasted meats, Original Fry Up Material – for the morning after the night before breakfasts, Shabbanakle for their signature ‘Chai High’, W Hunt Pancakes for sweet and savoury snacks, and Split Scream IceCream Co for yummy iced desserts.
Happy Campers Stay at the specially crafted family camping area, and take advantage of the Posh Wash facilities – an area where you can grab showers and use some nice indoor loos. There’s boutique camping available from Sshh, who offer a range of yurts with chi-chi trimming, through to full luxury glamping packages from Camel Camp, where the ultimate abode is the new Sultan’s Choice.
THE PRICE TAG
Full Weekend Adult (17+), £105.45 | 10–16 year-olds, £78.45 | 0–9 year-olds, £0.01 | Under-10s, Free
Rubbish Bond To help minimise piles of rubbish at the end of the festival, Blissfields has introduced a £5 Rubbish Bond, which gets you a rubbish bag and voucher. You fill the bag with your rubbish as you produce it and return at the end, with your voucher for your £5 back. Alternatively, bring back your bag during the weekend and get a £7 bar voucher a 40% increase on your deposit.
Photography Credit: Blissfields Festival
*** Want to see more family-friendly festivals for 2015. Check out our 12 We Love… Summer Festivals round-up ***