What makes a good life? Well Music, books and food is a good start…especially when they can all be enjoyed at a festival!!
MICHAEL MORPURGO, BEN FOGLE + BILL GRANGER JOIN THE GOOD LIFE EXPERIENCE LINE-UP FOR 2016
HAWARDEN ESTATE, FLINTSHIRE
Following an incredible response in September to The Good Life Experience’s second year of music, food, books, talks and The Great Outdoors, this very special festival with a difference is planning an even more wonderful extended weekend in 2016 on the Hawarden Estate in North Wales. The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends, broadcaster and singer Cerys Matthews, ex teenage punk rock singer and now artist manager Steve ‘Abbo’ Abbott and founders of homewares brand Pedlars and farmers, Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. The festival came about as a response to mass consumerism and all that it entails; phones, social media, box sets, fast fashion, laptops, internet shopping… Post 2008 with the return –to an extent- to post war austerity, people have begun to think differently. They want to make things with their hands, to reconnect with the simple things and escape from mass consumerism. There is a real hunger for making and The Good Life Experience has done something about it.
One of the core passions of the four founders is supporting and promoting traditional British craft, and one of their promises for 2016 is to offer over 40 workshops and demonstrations with skilled craftspeople. Last year festival-goers were given the chance to watch demonstrations and take part in workshops from a hugely talented group of makers, including a blacksmith, a potter, an enamel maker, carpenters, butchers and many more. All of this was wildly popular. Alex Pole, the blacksmith at The Good Life Experience 2015, declared “It’s great that you are getting out there and telling people about this type of thing – it helps us craftspeople no end! I have been at the forge for just over 22 years now and it’s extremely exciting that finally it’s getting some main steam attention”. Plans for this expansion of the Makers’ Row area of the festival are already well underway, and the call has gone out to the very best craftspeople up and down the country.
Festival co-founder, singer, author and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews –who has the most listened to digital radio show in Britain- will again curate an unbeatable and eclectic music line-up – Mercury Rev is already set to DJ a fantastic Friday night set, and over the weekend the main stage will see performances by Canadians Gordie Mackeeman + His Rhythm Boys, the fantastic Booka Brass Band and many more. As well as music there will be talks from a whole range of speakers, from multi-award winning author to adventurer Ben Fogle. Last year the festival more than doubled in size with 4500 attendees, and whilst it expects to grow again this year to a sustainable level, there are absolutely no plans to become huge and it is committed to remaining a small and intimate festival.
On top of the outstanding musical performances, The Good Life Experience makes a meaningful connection with The Great Outdoors. 2015’s festival saw countless talks with experts from a wide range of fields. Highlights included Ben Fogle’s campfire-side talk, a more than 80-strong mushroom hunt with renowned forager Roger Phillips and inspirational campfire cooking displays from Fabulous Baker Brother Tom Herbert, Genevieve Taylor and Trish MacCurrach, all of whom will be returning for 2016. Axe and outdoors experts Best Made Co are coming all the way from New York City for the third year running to host an exhibition tent, host a shop and give inspiring axe workshops. This year all of the chefs will be challenged to do their demonstrations over the campfire and these Campfire Sessions will be led by top chefs Bill Granger, Thomasina Miers and Tom Herbert with the help of The Brazilian Chef, Hang Fire Smokehouse and more. The festival also offers delicious and locally sourced food and drink provided by the award-winning Hawarden Estate team.
The Good Life Experience prides itself on being a festival like no other. There is no VIP area, and the festival is hugely dog friendly and family friendly, with children being given the opportunity to get messy and run free. Last year year saw Ben Fogle, Thomasina Miers, festival co-founder Cerys Matthews, and other popular names, taking part in all that the festival had to offer with their families. There truly is something for everyone, with all of the talks included in the ticket price, and the majority of activities going free. You can enjoy endless free rides on the vintage fairground, take part in child-friendly climbing, abseiling, axe-throwing and archery, listen a whole host of inspiring talks, learn how to whittle a spoon and watch amazing musicians perform late into the night – all in one weekend. There is good news for families in 2016 as the age limit for children to go free has been raised from 9 to 12 years old, and the upper age limit for youth tickets has risen from 16 to 17 years old.
Hawarden Estate Farm Shop, Chester Rd, Hawarden, Flintshire, CH5 3FB
2 hours from London by train and just a short taxi ride from Chester Station.
Full Price Tickets:*
Adult Weekend Non – Camping Ticket £69
Adult Weekend – Camping £99
Youth Weekend Non – Camping Ticket £34.50
Youth Weekend – Camping Ticket £64.50
Bell Tent – 4 people £295
Bell Tent – 6 People £395
Car Parking £10
Campervan Surcharge £20
*Early Bird Ticket Prices are available