In June of this year, we moved up to Leicestershire from London to get some head space and discover a slower pace of life. By July, fully embracing the huge range of festivals and activities the county has to offer, we’d read about Barefoot festival and just had to grab some day tickets and go along to see what it was all about.
Barefoot Festival, a weekend of dance, music and relaxation. Try your hand at hula-hooping, soak up some great vibes from the bands, or shut off from the rest of the world in the Chill Out area, with a weekend full of yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, designed to retune and refresh. There’s a chance to catch some show stopping Burlesque performances later in the evening, and even to participate in the spiritual experience of fire walking.
We couldn’t fit all of these activities into our single day, as it’s an absolutely jam packed weekend, but here’s a little summary of what we did get up to…
We started our day in the Bloom Yoga Tent with a Didgeridoo and Gong Bath. Having never experienced sound healing/relaxation before, it was quite an experience. It was initially difficult to shut down the background noises of people talking outside and the music from other activities, but eventually I found myself able to focus in on the vibrations and calming sounds. It was a very nice way to relax and meditate into the day.
We were then ready for some gentle stretching and opening in Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is where poses are held for longer periods of time than in Vinyasa. Instead of fast, flowing sequences, the emphasis is on stillness, release and relaxation. Neither of us had been to a Yin Yoga class before, and it was easily the best practice we’ve taken part in. There was a lot of focus on hip opening, and releasing tension and stress from different parts of the body by opening, and stretching. Holding the poses for several minutes at a time was quite challenging and sometimes a little sore, but deeply rewarding. By the end, we both felt extremely refreshed, stretched out and ready to dive into the rest of the day.
We were pretty hungry at this point and went to explore the range of foods on offer. On the way, we saw this rather amusing sign on the Big Top tent (the sight of hula hooping, pole dancing, Charleston demonstrations and later on the big Burlesque show)…
Whilst we did successfully find some lunch (namely a veggie burger for my hubby and a bean chilli with potato wedges for myself), we were a little disappointed at the lack of vegan food offerings. In fact, the food was rather meat-centric, which surprised us for such a mind and body, well-being and spiritual type event. It would be nice to go back next year and see a much better range of vegan food stalls (and less dodgy looking burger vans). I did manage to grab this gorgeous fresh juice slushie though…
We went on to spend the rest of the day exploring some of the arts tents and listening to bands – watching people make all kinds of things from giant bunting to prosthetic masks. We could have joined in, but we were quite happy to spectate.
We saw several bands on the day and they were all fantastic. From gypsy punk rockers The Brandy Thieves, to the enchanting Fern Teather with her acoustic folk tones, it was a real treat.
We didn’t get to see everything there was on offer, as there’s just so much to do. There’s loads for children as well, if you’re coming with a family. You’d probably want to just avoid the Burlesque with the little ones!
Anyway, we both had an absolutely wonderful time, and next year we’ll be getting full weekend tickets with the whole camping experience too. I just hope the food is a little better!
Barefoot Festival will next be held on the 28th-30th July 2017. I believe you can still get your early-bird tickets from the website at the moment. Tickets are available for the whole weekend, and include full camping, or just daily passes.
If you do go based on my review, please tell me if you enjoy it!
You can find more information here: http://www.barefootfestival.com/