‘Most of us will never do great things, but we can do small things in a great way’ is the motto of this intimate and bijou twice-yearly affair. A veritable veteran of the festival circuit, what Off The Tracks lacks in size is more than compensated by its big heart and family-friendly appeal.
With more than twenty-five years of festival frivolity under their belt, Off the Tracks remains a relatively small affair with only 1,000 guests – not counting the red and fallow deer who roam the historic and picturesque grounds of Donington Park.
With two special areas dedicated to free arts, crafts and crazy activities, there’s plenty to keep kids entertained. Don’t forget your fancy-dress for Saturday’s big parade – a massive meandering conga with music, colour and a cacophony of noise.
There’s also plenty to savour in the idyllic pastoral surroundings. The venue even hosted the 18th century Methodist founder John Wesley, who preached from the very spot where you will be rocking out to some much livelier tunes.
This farm is also a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ with some very rare species of insect life living in the park’s ancient oak trees. However, with a campsite that is all ‘hooked up’ and ready for some chic camping, you won’t be too likely to meet up with any of the local inhabitants and you won’t need to be too hardy a camper to survive this weekend.
Musical Maestros The three days see over 30 acts performing across four stages including Dreadzone, Dub Pistols, Martin Barre Band and a whole lot more.
Featured Fun With such a bijou affair, there may not be the vast range of activities you may see at larger events, but there is plenty to keep the family occupied for the duration with cosy farm barns as venues, an Oak Room as the kids club, and the Goblin Market for a spot of market stall shopping. The Energy Orchard delivers some amazing zen workshops and, in the food and drinks department, this is a veritable real-ale fest.
The Zones There are four stages – The Marquee; The Black Barn; The Threshing Barn; and The Oak Room (for midnight sessions), plus The Courtyard for a selection of impromptu performances. The Energy Orchard is the space for health and spirit workshops and therapies, and there is The Goblin Market for trinkets and treasures.
- The Oak Room has children’s activities with a music workshop, a toddler area, a craft area where you can create outfits and percussion, face painting, hula hoops, and a circus workshop.
- Saturday’s children’s parade is like a massive conga with instruments, costumes, colour, music and noise.
- In the Campsite Play Area, there’s painting, games, construction and other activities.
Chill Out Time The Energy Orchard is a tranquil haven of pampering treatments to revive and refresh. Therapies, including massage, reflexology, reiki, shiatsu, and sound healing, are provided by volunteers, and many are free (booking recommended). There are also daily morning prayers and readings, yoga, and meditation at dusk.
Dining Tables This is a foodies delight with breakfasts and meals in the Granary Restaurant where hog roasts and barbecues as well as vegetarian options are all served with recycled disposable cutlery and biodegradable glasses. This is also a festival of beer drinking, too, with over 70 real ales, ciders and perries (ciders made from pears) on offer.
Happy Campers The 17th Century Donington Park Farmhouse has a permanent campsite that offers well-maintained pitches, hook-ups and hard-standing, real showers and toilets as well as space to do your washing up. There is quiet camping as well as general and disabled sites. For a more bespoke stay, try Brook Bell Tents.
THE PRICE TAG
Full Weekend Adult (17+), £80 | 12–16 year-olds, £45 | Under-12s, Free
*** See more family-friendly festivals for 2015 in our 12 We Love… Summer Festivals round-up ***