Deer Shed festival is a wonderful gem of a family festival within an hour and a half of our home in Morpeth. Now in its 8th year we can’t believe this was our first outing to Baldersby Park near Thirsk.
Armed with a new tent and four year old in tow, we arrived Friday afternoon after shedding tears at Isabella’s pre school graduation! A little larger than some family festivals we have been to in the past, we thought it best to hire a Mr Trolley to get us from our car to campsite – it was needed! Even though we arrived after School there was still ample amounts of camping to be had and we were all pitched and prosecco opened within the hour. A little queue at the wristband exchange and we were ready to explore the fields of music, crafts, theatre, spoken word and science.
Deer Shed is certainly more geared towards parents who love music and had some cracking additions to the line up including Teenage Fanclub, Kate Tempest and The Divine Comedy. We even caught a performance by Arab Strap who were a fave from my university days! A pleasant find was the Pallet Stage, nestled beside the Cocktail Bar (my top tip is to set up camp here for the day). We saw some fantastic little bands here, including the Hyde Park Brass band who welcomed us to the festival on our first evening with brass covers of some fantastic dance tunes! Certainly got us off to a good start at Deer Shed 8!
Saturday morning was welcomed in with a story telling session from Dominic Berry. The Obelisk stage was rammed and we had a fabulous spot centre stage to see first hand the energy Dominic has first thing in the morning, a perfect accompaniment to our Yorkshire tea!
My Sunday morning had to be my highlight of the festival. It’s not every weekend you get an interactive dance workshop by the Matthew Bourne Dance Company. Since Isabella was missing her weekly ballet class, I though it only appropriate to take her along to the Big Top for the 9.20am session which didn’t disappoint. As a massive Bourne lover, this was a total privilege to be part of. Sadly the husband put his foot down to us going back to the 2pm session… there was simply too much more to explore.
We could’ve spent a week exploring this festival and there were certainly bits of the programming that we had to miss because they clashed with other performances we wanted to see – a jolly nice position to be in. The only downside for us was the lateness of the music – we expected a little quiet come 11pm, but there were raves from top DJs until the small hours of the morning. A tip for next time would be to camp in the furthest away field to avoid this. Luckily the epic rain on Saturday evening masked the tunes, so we were able to have a more peaceful night.
Deer Shed isn’t pitched as a sustainable festival, but it is making some moves towards encouraging a more mindful experience – including reusable festival glasses that can be taken away as a memory of the event and composting toilets near the main stage. Every little helps!
On the whole, this is a beaut of a family festival with some top end acts from music and the arts. We’ll be back!
Advance ticket sales are launching in September, so keep an eye on www.deershedfestival.com