Recently I've been talking a lot about trying out new things, expanding my horizons now I'm entering that post-children stage of life (let's not call it middle-aged, please!). We've always tried to make time for theatre and literary events but live music has been something missing. That's all changed this last few months with trips out to pubs for open mic nights and small music venues, but now Summer's here, and everyone is talking about festivals, so I'd like to spread my wings a little more and try one.
It's a huge step and, as this would be my first time, the thought of a music festival is a bit daunting. Through news, social media, and gossip via my teen, I know all about the mud, the queues for toilets, how bad they can be once you've reached them (I heard of one teen who left Leeds festival and nipped out to loos in the nearest supermarket!), and the danger of having drunks flatten your tent in the middle of the night! Not my idea of fun, so I was almost put off the whole idea - going to take that easy way out of claiming "I'm too old".
Then, through our book blog, I was offered the chance to go to the Curious Arts Festival - it's a mix of many things - part book festival (I've been to several and they're always nice sensible events with well behaved crowds), part music festival, part comedy, with everything from bug hunts for the children to opera for the grown ups.
It's held, not in a farmer's field, but the grounds of Pylewell Park in the New Forest, with gardens to explore and views opening up to the Solent.
And the catering! No greasy bun burgers, but a choice ranging from a pop-up sushi restaurant to meat-free Levantine cuisine, with a fab-looking Moroccan tent for afternoon tea and cake.
Mentioning tents reminds me that that's normally the accommodation at music festivals - a tiny tent pitched in some mud (or a river-like flood if you were at Download festival this weekend). Now the last time I went camping was back before my age had reached double digits, so this is another thing to be faced with trepidation ... but again, Curious Arts Festival have a solution - you can choose to be as basic or extravagant as you like, with options from taking your own tent, hiring a basic ready-erected one to glamping in a bell tents with timber camp beds, coir carpets underfoot, all bedding and towels provided. Could camping get more glamorous?
Taking everything together this sounds like the perfect way for a ageing novice like myself to test out the whole festival experience. It definitely sounds Curious, but also civilised, and suitable for the cautious such as myself. Where else am I going to find the likes of Billy Bragg and Skinny Lister on the same bill as Deborah Moggach and Carol Ann Duffy? It seems to good to miss, and I'm just hoping that my personal circumstances allow me to go. If not this year, then maybe next ...
If, like me, you're 'curious' about this event check out their website here