Thank you!

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A huge thank you to everyone who helped make EF2015 such a lovely weekend – we had a blast and hope you did too!

We’ll be posting some photos here and on our Facebook page very soon, plus we’re going to launch a photo competition to win tickets to next year’s festival – keep an eye on the Facebook page for that too.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your experience of Elderflower Fields this year. If you could spare 5 minutes to fill in our brief survey, it would really help us to continue to improve things for future years. We’ll also pick one entry at random from all feedback received before the end of June to win a weekend family ticket to Elderflower Fields 2016.

What to Bring

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The idea of bringing kids to a festival can seem a little daunting if it’s your first time. We’ve all been there with wet wipe disasters and forgotten flip flops. Here’s our little suggestion for what to bring and what to leave at home, to make your festival experience a success.

Your tent. Unless you’re lucky enough to own a camper van or have treated yourselves to a lovely bell tent, you’ll need something to sleep in. Plus sleeping bags, pillows and maybe some extra blankets. It’s worth remembering that it can get surprisingly cold in the middle of the night at this time of year, so bring something warm to sleep in.

Clothing. Ah, the great British summer! It will be sunny, hot, showery and cold at various times over the weekend if past experience is anything to go by. Bring waterproofs, wellies, layers and suncream!

Dressing up. Festivals are all about fancy dress and outrageous costumes! Dressing up is strongly encouraged and the theme this year is WILD!…

Food & Drink. We have some of the finest food and drink in the area available on site. There is something for everyone and the prices are exceptionally reasonable. Please see our Food and Drink page for more information. The bars stock a good selection of drinks but make sure you bring a water bottle to refill at the taps. If you bring snacks for the little ones or a camping stove to cook meals please make sure you recycle your waste and take non-recyclables home.

Pack light… Our single best tip is to pack light. It’s a five minute walk down from the car park to the main camping field and although there is the Elderflower Express on hand this year (see our guide to arrival here) you’ll still have to trek across the campsite at least a little, so having less is definitely more! If you forget bits and bobs there is always the festival shop which will stock snacks, camping essentials and milk etc.

What not to bring. Finally, please remember, no pets, no sky lanterns or fireworks, no sound systems and no glass…

13 Marvellous Magical Things Not To Miss

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With only a couple of weeks to go we thought we’d let you know about just a few of the magical moments you can enjoy at this year’s Elderflower Fields.

1. Make Believe – Transport the kids to another world with one of our captivating storytellers. Discover the enchanting storytelling area in the woods and listen to tales from near and far. Folk tales and fairy tales, myths and legends, or take a nice little holiday with a snail and find out where they go when the sun shines.

2. Mini Beasts – Join Sussex Wildlife Trust and discover the hidden beasts around Pippingford Park. Take a nightjar walk with our experts or try and spot of orienteering with your family to find some of the hidden gems in Ashdown Forest.

3. Masquerade and Moustaches – Last year we had bears in the woods, this year we are going a little more up market. Saturday night we invite you to dress in your finest attire and join us at the cocktail bar for a martini or two. Pop in to the craft tent early evening to work on a moustache and fluff your feathers and we may even have a prize or two for the dandiest. (Bears are also welcome too)

4. Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer – A legend of chap hop, this guy is guaranteed to get everyone bopping to his cheeky little ditties. Get down to the main stage on Saturday for some of England’s finest.

5. Mouth-watering Morsels – The famous chocolate cakes are back. Don’t miss the chance to sample some of the finest local tasters at the So Sussex Sunday picnic. Join us on Dragon Fly Hill with a blanket and your smiling faces. Make some new friends, pick up a picnic, and enjoy.

6. Mud Hut Building – Get stuck in and muddy. We’ll be building a traditional mud hut over the weekend. Come and get messy!

7. Mini Musicians – Elderflower Fields is proud to work with some amazing organisations providing opportunities for kids to learn about instruments in our Youth Music Zone. Try a music master-classes with special guests or even join the BBC 10 Pieces performance on the main stage on Sunday.

8. Move the Tale – Make sure your little movers make it down to this dance and story workshop. Movement Warriors are back and this year in collaboration with Ghislaine from Twisting the Tale to bring kids these exciting new sessions.

9. Mr Marvel – Back with his mind-blowing magic, Mr Marvel will delight the little ones. Don’t miss it.

10. Maleficent – Just one of our magical family movies on show in the Elderflower Fields cinema this year.

11. Magical Memories – Elderflower Fields has provided some truly magical moments for us over the years. Some of those most memorable have been performed on our unique and intimate woodland stage. Take an adventure in to the deep and see what you discover.

12. Me Time – Take advantage of one of our brilliant prebookable sports activities for your kids while you enjoy some me time. Perhaps time for a Woodland Spa treatment or a visit to our wood fired hot tubs.

13. Making Monsters – under 6’s and their siblings can enjoy one of our Arts Camp sessions with author Leigh Hodgkinson and her new Monster Snorey Book, then make their own monsters. On Sunday we’ll be making big monster costumes too.

There’s plenty more amazing things on offer this year. We hope you enjoy discovering some of the hidden gems on your magical journey at Elderflower Fields.

5 weeks to go, 5 great reasons to join us in the sunshine…

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1: The Picnic

The So Sussex Sunday picnic has become something of our trademark and is one of the highlights of the weekend. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends and family (or even strangers) and it’s all included in your ticket. We are pretty sure Elderflower Fields is the only festival in the world to supply every guest with a free shared picnic filled with delicious tasters of local produce. And then there’s the legendary chocolate cake…

2: The Activities

Elderflower Fields has more free activities on offer per child that any other festival we know. All run by a dedicated team of professional organisations providing kids with the opportunity to discover new skills and have fun. Rafting, mud hut building, music masterclasses, parkour, science, disc golf, night walks, slack-lining, bush craft skills, art workshops, sports camp, kayaking, orienteering, pond dipping, drama workshops, climbing wall and more. All FREE with your ticket.

3: Spa and Hot Tubs

The Green People Woodland Spa is now taking bookings for luxurious festival pampering. You can also prebook supervised sports or arts camp session so that the kids are taken care of while you relax. And of course the Double Decker Hot Tub Bus is back too!

Visit our Facebook page to enter our current hot tub competition…

4: The Music

Gypsy, folk, blues, rock, cajun, swing, dance and classical. We’re super excited about the line up this year and think we have something for everyone.

We also welcome a unique performance being curated on site by East Sussex Music Service as part of the BBC Ten Pieces, as well as the winners of our Youth Music Competition.

5: Food and Drink

We have some of the finest local food providers at Elderflower Fields this year. Some regular favourites and a few new surprises to enjoy. All supplying affordable high quality meals. We’ve worked hard with suppliers to ensure all diets are catered for – especially the kids.

The cocktail bar will be back with a new stage and late music for the night owls and two further bars will be serving up craft beers, local ales, ciders and more…

This Year’s Playlist

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We’ve made a playlist on 8Tracks. Have a listen to a few of the musicians and bands who will be performing at Elderflower Fields 2015.

[8tracks width=”400″ height=”400″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/5938107″]

The Hot Tub Bus Returns

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WE’RE THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE THE RETURN OF THE BEAUTIFUL WOOD-FIRE HOT TUB BUS FROM BATHING UNDER THE SKY!

Start your festival in style or perhaps enjoy a mid-way recharge as you bathe in the hot tubs on the top deck with a complimentary glass of fizz, taking in the stunning views over the Ashdown Forest. Relax with a steaming shower or sauna on the lower deck before heading back to the main stage…

For more information, see the hot tubs page here

Inspired by Elderflower #2

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The second of our Inspired by Elderflower stories from Jo, who was inspired to start her own festival!

“Hello! My name is Jo and I am part of a small team that organises a festival called The Be Free Festival based on the edge of Epping Forest in Essex. I am going to tell you how Elderflower Fields Festival 2012 inspired our festival….

In 2014 we ran the first Be Free Festival. It is a beautiful space for people with learning disabilities, their family, friends and supporter workers to explore, be adventurous, be still, be brave and to face fears, to be free and equal, be creative, laugh and make connections with people.

It was the idea of Sally, the Managing Director of Paradigm (an organisation that campaigns for equality for people with learning disabilities and the right to an ‘ordinary life’) as a way to challenge how people with learning disabilities too often get ‘wrapped in cotton wool’ and just don’t get the freedom to experience ordinary moments or make basic choices that many others can. It challenges people to look at what good support is and it gives people a chance to experience going to a festival and try new things from lighting their first camp fire to staying in a tent for the first time.

At Be Free people get a chance to chill by open fires roasting marshmallows, take moonlit walks, watch a late night movie, camp in bell tents (often for the first time) or try all sorts of adventure challenges like zip wires and 3G swings. There is graffiti in the woods and we have a Big Picnic where people have to make a group of ten, are given their picnic bag to go off to eat together, people can try their hand at DJing with Nick Carling’s ‘Kiss My Disco’, they can try the silent disco and listen to bands. Can you spot the connection now?  Yep! Many elements inspired by the lovely Elderflower Fields Festival!

You see Elderflower Festival 2012 was the first festival I ever went to (with my family) and we just loved it. We loved the warm welcome, the woodland paths lit with fairy-lights, the random sofa and room in the middle of the woods, gathering people together in groups of ten to have a gorgeous picnic of local food, the skate park in the woods for kids, the fun silent disco, the yummy food stalls and the chance my kids had to light camp fires…it was quite magical.

It is this experience that I draw on when I help to shape The Be Free Festival 2015 with my lovely colleagues (I’m on the right, with Lore and Sally to my left).

Be Free Team

Everyone has a right to these magical experiences. So thank you Elderflower Fields for inspiring me, for inspiring my children and for inspiring so many elements of The Be Free Festival. Here’s to Being Free in 2015 and Elderflower Fields Festival 2015. Here’s to the beautiful moments in life that we are lucky to have!”

If you or your kids have a story you’d like to share about what has inspired you at Elderflower Fields in the past, please get in touch here.

Win Bluebell Railway Tickets!

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Our latest newsletter highlights some of the amazing and inspiring activities you can expect to find at this year’s festival, plus a few suggestions of great family activities for half term from some of our friends, including the wonderful Bluebell Railway.

And we have a family ticket for a day of fun on the steam trains there to give away!

To enter the competition, simply send us a photo of your family doing your favourite half term outdoor activity to [email protected]

Email us your photo as an attachment, no larger than 5mb. Please enter “Bluebell Railway Competition” as the subject line of the email and include your full name.

Entries must be received by midday on Thursday 26th February.

For full competition terms & conditions, please click here.

Inspired by Elderflower #1

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I am Hannah, I am 11 years old. I am learning the Piano, Viola, Guitar and I also sing in two choirs. This is what I think of the music at Elderflower Fields Festival.

Hannah

I like the way that you can have short instrument lessons, taught by proper musicians, because it inspires you to start learning at home or school. Listening to all the bands is really good because you can hear and learn how different instruments fit together.

The bands are very interactive with the audience and involve them in some of their songs, for example they might ask them to clap along to the rhythm. There is a band for everyone and different bands for different ages.

For the first time I saw the electric harp played was by one of the members of a band called The Moulettes. I was so inspired by their great music that I went to see them again when they played near my home. When I went to buy the Moulettes album at the festival, they were really friendly and they all signed my album and they asked me about any instruments I played and the violin player told me that she also plays the viola and the cello player told me that her name was Hannah too and her triangular cello was made for her by her dad! It inspired me to practice harder and eventually reach my goals (like passing my grade 5 piano with distinction and getting a music scholarship to my high school).

Last year a musician called Richard Navarro did a workshop at the festival. He got me up to play a few chords on the piano and then sampled them for the song he was writing in the workshop. He explained about sampling and loops and how he uses them on stage and when composing. He demonstrated it in the workshop. I was inspired to have a go at home and make my own loops on an App called GarageBand and try making music using the built in samples and also by recording myself on the piano and then recording singing with my sister.

If you or your kids have a story you’d like to share about what has inspired you at Elderflower Fields in the past, please get in touch here.

Festival Kidz Silver Award!

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2014SilverAward-296x300

We’re thrilled to start the new year with news of our first ever festival award!

Festival Kidz, the excellent online family festival guide, felt Elderflower Fields worthy of their Silver award, which is especially gratifying given some of the challenges we faced moving to a new site last year and dealing with torrential rain!

Festival Kidz state: “We considered and rated the festivals in the following categories: Toilets, Camping, Quality of Children’s workshops, Entertainment for Adults, Children’s food options, Value for Money and Green Credentials.

To win a Silver Award, a festival had to be exceptional or good in most categories and may have scored poorly in one of the categories.

Because we considered so many more festivals in 2014, we needed to be harsher at judging them – so some festivals have slipped from Gold to Silver through no fault of their own. All our Gold and Silver winners are wonderful festivals that we highly recommend to families.”

As a small, independent organisation, it’s exciting to be held in the same light as big, established festivals like Camp Bestival and Wilderness. A huge thanks to all who’ve helped develop the festival over the last three years and here’s to a brilliant and sunny EF2015!

First 2015 Acts Confirmed

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Just in time for Christmas, we’re thrilled to announce the first few confirmed acts for Elderflower Fields 2015! We’re working hard to bring you the best and most diverse line up yet, including awesome bands, spellbinding storytellers, theatre, magic and much more!

Head over to the performers page here to find out more about acts including the frankly splendid, Chaphop rapper extraordinaire, Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymer, and Americana folk rock heroes, Danny and the Champions of the World.

Last minute Christmas gifts

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Less than two weeks to go until Christmas. If you’re looking for a couple of last minute stocking fillers then we’ve got great recommendations from two of our festival partners.

For those of you in need of a little pampering this winter, our friends at Green People have got some great natural product ideas. We are looking forward to seeing more of them in the Woodland Spa at EF2015. Check out their Christmas store here.

Marina and her colleagues at Circle Of Life Rediscovery who provide many of the brilliant woodland activities at Elderflower Fields have recently written a book jam packed with amazing family outdoor activity ideas. Click here for more info and to buy.

Win Tickets To Eastbourne Pantomime!

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Our latest newsletter features some alternative gift ideas for Christmas, including of course, festival tickets!

We also feature the Eastbourne pantomime – a firm family favourite at this time of year. From 12th December until 11th January Beauty and the Beast will be showing at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne. To book or for more information, call the box office on 01323 412000 or visit www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

We’ve got a family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) to give away for the pantomime on Tuesday 16th December at 7pm. To enter, head over to our Facebook page and comment on this photo.

To see the full newsletter, please click here.

2015 Tickets are Live

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We’re thrilled to announce that Super Early Bird tickets are now on sale for Elderflower Fields 2015! You can buy them now from the ticket shop here.

We’re super excited about our fourth year and there are some fantastic plans developing for what we’re sure will be the best Elderflower Fields yet. Keep an eye on this news page and if you haven’t done so already, make sure you sign up to our mailing list to be first to hear about all the updates, plus line up news and competition announcements…

Festival Packing List

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If you’ve never been to a festival before, here is some guidance on what you might need. Whatever you do, try not to bring too much – you’ll have to transport it from your car and we want to leave the site as untouched as possible. That means, leave nothing behind… If you forget anything, there’s always the festival shop…

What to Bring:

– Tent (lines/poles/groundsheet/pegs)
– Sleeping mat/sleeping bag/duvet/pillow
– Wellies or sturdy boots
– Waterproof coat and over trousers
– Enough changes of clothes in case you get wet
– Spectacles/contacts and solution
– Ear plugs/cotton wool
– Towel/soap
– Toiletries
– Sun cream
– A reusable water bottle, to fill up from the free taps on site
– Torch & batteries
– Mobile phone
– Camera
– Medications (prescriptions/inhalers/chemist sundries)
– Medical info (allergies etc)
– Money (remember, no cash machines on site)
– Festival tickets!
– Shorts/jeans/skirt/dress
– Socks/tights/underwear
– A warm sweater (it can get cold, particularly if it’s wet)
– Hat/gloves
– Clean clothes to go home in
– Bags (for dirty clothing and footwear)

What Not to Bring:

– Dogs or other animals will not be allowed anywhere on site (except registered guide dogs).
– No sky lanterns, sound systems, firewowrks or open fires. Persons using fireworks will be evicted from site and materials confiscated.
– Only alcohol for personal consumption may be brought into site but no glass please.

Camping Tips

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New to Camping?

Here are our five top tips for family festival camping:

1. Keep warm & keep dry. It seems like stating the obvious, but the British summertime is notoriously unreliable… The last two years have been gloriously sunny, but this year, who knows? So, pack plenty of jumpers, a good quality rain coat and wellies. It can also get surprisingly cold at night, so in addition to a sleeping bag, maybe bring a hat and extra blankets. Plus, leave a full change of clothes in the car. That way, if the worst happens and you get really drenched, you’ll still have something comfortable to get home in at the end.

2. Arrive in good time. Try to avoid turning up too late – it’s never easy putting up a tent in the dark with a bunch of tired and hungry kids nagging you to explore the site. This year you’ll be able to drive to the edge of the main camping fields so you can unload your heavy gear before you go off to park, but please be aware that you may have to park the car some distance from the camp site.

3. Find a good spot. The main camping fields are massive, so take your time and find a area that suits – maybe a bit of shelter next to the woods, or somewhere really quiet right over in the far corner. Either way, up the hill a bit is a good idea and find the best bit of flat-ish ground you can. Then it’s a simple matter of popping up the tent and blowing up the air bed…

4. Get your bearings. Spend a moment noting where you camped – it can be surprisingly hard to find your tent amongst the sea of canvas at midnight after a few too many cocktails… Then take a look at the site map and go for a wander, but please be extra careful around ponds and water.

5. Relax! Grab an elderflower cocktail, check out the music line up, maybe book in a session at the Woodland Spa. There’s tons of activities for the kids so get them involved and then unwind for three days of magic!

CALLING ALL PIRATES!

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Bring your costumes, peg-legs, hooks and beards and celebrate all things salty this summer!

Captain Al and trainee pirate Stinky are sailing back to Elderflower Fields Festival to take over the main stage!

Following last year’s rip-roaring runaway success we bring you the very silliest in family shows. If you love pirates, sea monsters, cowboys, mermaids, bubbles, slime, cake, singing your head off or just having a good old laugh, this is the show for you!

So get your sea legs on and join the adventure – without you these bumbling fools probably won’t find the treasure!

Saturday, 11am on the Main Stage

**** Songs more catchy than the Chickenpox!
The Latest, Brighton

For more info, visit www.alstart.co.uk

Michele & Kellie Curate…

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In an exciting new musical development for Elderflower Fields, we’re thrilled to welcome Michele Stodart of The Magic Numbers and Kellie Hutchens (Cinnamon Girl) to curate a day of music on Sunday 25th May, on the Woodland Stage.

You can check out the line up which Michele and Kellie have crafted by clicking here, but here’s what Michele had to say about being involved:

Q-Marks-START Last year was my first encounter with Elderflower Fields, the very lovely family-oriented festival in Sussex. After having a great gig on the acoustic stage and sampling many a cocktail that night, I was very excited to be asked back this year – especially as it turned out I was being asked to curate a day at the festival. There’s something really special about playing on a bill alongside bands you’ve loved and admired for years, and this was the perfect opportunity to engineer exactly that. My good friend Kellie Hutchens (aka Cinnamon Girl Presents) and I have tried to make sure that the day will be filled with music, friends, good times and everything we love about being in a field on a hot summer’s day. It should be amazing! We hope you can join us in the Woodland Stage on Sunday 25th May, 4pm – 1am on the Woodland Stage.

Lots of love, Q-Marks-END
Michele

Free Picnic for All

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We’re thrilled to announce that the So Sussex family picnic will now be available to all ticket holders, not just those purchased before 4th April as previously advertised. Hurrah!

We had decided to include it only with tickets purchased 6 weeks prior to the festival as many of the ingredients, including the wonderful cured meats, take that long to produce. But it’s such a brilliant highlight of the festival that it felt wrong to exclude people, so we’ve over ordered what we’re pretty sure will be enough for everyone…

So, bring your blankets and drinks, and join us in front of the main stage on Sunday 25th May for one huge and rather tasty family picnic!

Full details about the picnic will be published here very soon: elderflowerfields.co.uk/picnic/

Don’t miss the boat…

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A gentle reminder that the fantastic So Sussex family picnic is only included free with tickets purchased before the 4th April.

This is a real highlight of the festival, both socially and culinarily. For those who haven’t been before, we get the entire festival crowd into groups of 12 or so, sat in front of the main stage, particularly encouraging families to join up with other groups they don’t know, and then dish out a mini feast of picnic snacks to share and taste.

The food is from a range of local producers and suppliers and will delight your tastebuds. While you munch away and get to know your new friends, the swing band gets going on the main stage and with a bit of luck the sun will shine too!…

More information on the various local suppliers will be published on the food page of the website soon. In the meantime, make sure you and your friends have bought your tickets by Friday to ensure you don’t miss out…