The brainchild of its curators, Welsh music legend Cerys Matthews and Hawarden Estate Farm Shop owners Caroline and Charlie Gladstone, The Good Life Experience is a festival that’s all about stepping back from the pace of modern life to revel in the pleasure of doing things slowly.
This year’s festival takes place over 12–15 September and features an who’s-who of the most interesting names in the music food, craft and culture – we recommend following the festival on Twitter @TheGoodLifeExp for all the latest line up news.
What’s the deal?
The music and food are big draws, but you’ll also almost definitely learn something new. The festival organisers bill it as a voyage of discovery, which gives it broad family appeal. Good news. Bored kids do not make for good festival companions. This festival positively embraces childlike wonder and sense of being unafraid to jump in and try something completely out of the ordinary. So if you’ve never learned how to tie a rope, make a S’more or chop wood properly so far in your life, now’s the time to get involved.
This is an event with therapeutic qualities – good food, a focus on wellbeing and the simple pleasure of spending time outdoors. And you don’t have to worry that you’re putting too much strain on the environment. This is a sustainable, low impact festival featuring locally sourced entertainment, foods and artisan beers. There’s also the stuff that you just won’t find elsewhere. Try throwing an axe at the Reading Festival and you’ll be quickly escorted off site. Here you can learn how to do it properly, in just one of dozens off-the-wall activities and workshops that feature everything from firewalking and wild swimming to basket weaving and metalwork.
What about the music?
Variety is the spice of life. You’ll hear everything from Balkan folk and brass bands to modern classical and the hottest names in jazz. So far this year the lineup includes indie darlings International Teachers of Pop and Snapped Ankles, folk from Toby Hay and Jim Ghedi and sets from the heavenly Jukebox DJs, with many more still to be announced. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a set from festival founder Cerys Matthews.
What else is on the menu?
If fine foods and artisan producers are your forte, you’ll love what’s on offer. In the food tent, you’ll find master classes galore with butchery, sausage and coffee making, and visits by special guests like Sandor Katz, Valentine Warner and Olia Hercules. You’ll be able to try your hand at classic countryside pursuits such as skinning and plucking along with older traditions and crafts, while the site’s yoga retreat serves up activities to feed and nurture the soul, with a range of yoga, hypnotherapy and relaxation sessions.
On offer all day are a range of bush craft activities, abseiling, Tai Chi, theatre and vintage funfair pursuits to keep family members of all ages suitably entertained. A perfect treat for those after a stylish, whimsical and avant-garde event that stands out from the crowd, this is a festival that definitely lives up to its name.
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.