I survived my first ever camping festival. I feel like this is one of those life defining moments, considering some of the disasters I had at my first ever festival (that included staying in the Malmaison – don’t judge). For the lovely Katie’s hen do she decided to do Kendal Calling, so last month the hen party descended on the fields for a weekend of festival fun.
I thought I’d be a lot more nervous for the camping side of things than I was, but I do think my first experience of Parklife kind of prepared me for being soaked to the skin if that was to happen. I found it absolutely fine and if I can do it anyone can.
I’ve realised with this type of thing it’s what you make of it, and you can let the rain and the thought of sleeping in a tent put you off, or you can make the most of it and have a great time.
Here’s my highlights from Katie’s Kendall Calling hen weekend:
The dress code themes
Turns out I’m not too old to enjoy lots of glitter and leopard print ears. Lucy did an amazing job of coming up with general themes per day that everyone could work with to varying extents.
Our first theme was metallic and gold, which ranged from sequin dresses, gold spray painted tops and Rachael’s barely there hot pants. I mean she pulled them off fabulously, they would have barely fit round my ankle.
Katie however stole the show despite having no idea about any of the themes. Lucy had her trussed up like the Lord Mayor in full length sequin coat and the most incredible gold crown hat headdress thing.
Our second theme of the weekend was animals, so again really easy to do for everyone and we ended up with a complete mix. Lots of leopards and zebras, giraffes, elephants and Alexis’ deer was amazing.
Obviously Katie was a pink flamingo, because how else would we have spotted her, and have you ever seen a more fabulous festival hen?
The final theme of the weekend was tropical, which unfortunately I missed but the girls were in their hula garlands, Hawaiian shirts, pineapples and palm prints.
Everyone really embraced the themes, and it was a lot of fun.
Katie’s head dresses
These were incredible, and my very talented cousin Lucy made them all herself. She rolled out a different one each night for Katie to wear and they were fabulous.
She’s taking orders! 😉
The posh seats of camping and thank god we did this because I caught sight of general camping and dear god no I just couldn’t.
Deer Lodge was the glamping area of the festival, with pre erected tents of all shapes and sizes. Some of them were like actual houses with rooms and some had proper double beds with mattresses and pillows.
Between us all we had a mix for different numbers of people. The little huts and two man bell tents were cute, and the colourful bell tents like ours were big enough for six of us to all have camp beds so we were off the floor.
There was a Deer Lodge bar and cafe area, showers and a fire pit in the communal area. There was a charging tent for free usage, and a glam tent with mirrors, hairdryers and straighteners all provided too. 100% worth paying extra for.
I’d love to tell you I’m cool enough to have enjoyed all the music but I’m not going to lie the festival food was my personal highlight.
I must have ate literally everything on offer, including a pie and mash with gravy (incredible), a plate of macho nachos, a foot long hot dog, a Greek gyros and a plate of salt and pepper chips. So good.
The cocktail bar
When it kept raining off and on during the Saturday afternoon we discovered the undercover cocktail bar where we spent a lot of the afternoon. Those cocktails were strong! They made a very pleasant change to beer and cider, and the queue was a lot smaller than the main alcohol tents.
Christine’s tapas tent
I thought I went prepared with bags of doritos, sweets, cereal bars, hula hoops and cans of gin and tonic but the mother of the bride went all out. Each night Christine and her friends put on a spread of sangria, cured meat and cheese tapas, olives, crisps, home made cake and bakes.
I thoroughly enjoyed gathering round her tent for snacks while she waved everyones knickers in the air.
Im not going to call these low points because honestly none of it was bad at all. I’ve heard there can be real highs and lows of festivals and I can imagine at somewhere like Glastonbury (or general camping) that might be the case, but these were just little things:
The toilets. They weren’t THAT bad, and they were cleaned every night but still, by the end of the night portaloos are just gross.
Packing up in a thunderstorm. Ugh the trauma of this was not fun, but better than arriving during one. It was glorious sun on our first day and the storm we woke up to the second day turned into short showers by the time we went into the festival so it was absolutely fine.
The drive back home. It took me a while to realise the nausea of this wasn’t due to the country roads and more due to the amount I drank the night before.
The tent smelling of something unpleasant. It lasted about a day, but we were convinced someone had previously been sick on our carpet. There was no evidence and it did go, but still for those few hours it wasn’t all that pleasant.
Blisters. Don’t think you can shove your wellies on with no socks to quickly run to the loo!
Overall it was such a fun weekend, and considering a festival is pretty hard to organise for up to 30 people, arranging themes, and making head dresses I think the bridesmaids did an amazing job.
Happy hen Katie, can’t wait for the wedding x