Friday 4 August 2023

Mello Festival 2023 - Back In May

 Back in May we took the children to their first music festival. 

We got very kindly given tickets to it back in March and it really gave us all something to look forward to after out eldest's diagnosis. We also got given tickets to take another family with it. So we took Neil my friend I swim with twice a week, and his partner and son with us. His son and my eldest have been friends since they started school together (and Neil and I became friends shortly afterwards).

We had weekend camping tickets and even though it's not far away (like a 15 minute drive) we decided that we'd camp to get the full festival experience (and enjoy a drink or two). 

I picked the children up from school on the Friday and we were all super excited. We met Neil and his son at the camping field and set up the tents ready for our partners to join us after work (they're both teachers). Neil was as excited as I was!

I'm not 100% sure but I think I've seen Reef before - back in 2001 - they were great and got the crowd pumped up. 

We saw a few bands that Friday night and the kids were so excited about it all. 

In the whole line up there was no bands I was desperate to see, but over the whole weekend I saw so many good ones and became a fan of one or two more than I was before. Sometimes to have no expectation of who you're seeing is even better. 

The whole festival really did have a chilled out "mello" vibe to it. We saw plenty of people we knew who were all enjoying their selves. 
Festival look! 

the children all really got into the camping side of things, loving putting the tent up and sleeping in it. Also cooking food on the little camping stove! They played lots of cards in between going to see bands. We were very lucky with the weather and it was like summer all weekend except for a bit of wind, pretty amazing for May. 

One band we saw by chance was "Old Time Saliors" who do sea shanties and other knee slapping songs. I've never seen a whole tent full of people get so readily involved before, it was utterly infectious. There were 16 in the band and they came down into the crowd to sing and dance.

I was with my Middlest at the time and we danced so hard we could barely breath, swinging each other around and kicking our legs. We couldn't wipe the grins from our face afterwards. 

The last band I saw was an absolute highlight. Not for the right reasons though. The band came on stage and only had a small audience, so small in fact I felt I couldn't leave without being noticed. This was on pretty late and my wife and the children had gone back to the tents, so I decided to stay and listen, even if it wasn't 100% my sort of music. 

I counted and there was 10 of us watching the 12 on stage and I'll give the band it's due it didn't stop them giving it their all. In the 10 watching one was a super fan and got us all to come closer then got us chairs so we could sit and watch, it was really funny. 

Then a very, and I mean VERY, drunk man stumbled into the tent. He could barely stand up and kept spilling his drink as he shouted encouragement up at the band. He then started running up and down in front of the stage. He wasn't a small guy so I think we all tucked our legs in a little with fear of either tripping him or having him land on our legs. 

Halfway through their set they stopped the music and talked to us. They said they normally have a bit in their set where they call up the most enthusiastic member of the audience to come on stage with them. No way I thought, no one is that brave, but they gestured to the VERY drunk man and called him up on stage. He stumbled around for a bit and finally got around the back and came out with them. 

He part fell, part walked out onto the stage and I could see every band member look like they were regretting their decision. He snatched the mic off one band member and started saying how they were just what rock and roll should be, much to everyone's relief as it could have gone either way with that (I think the band were having some trouble with the sound to be honest so might not have been sounding their best).

They then gave him a gong and proceeded to do their "bit" with him and another band member who had a triangle, hitting it at the right time. It was a funny sketch and then about half way through he just peed his trousers. Not a little bit. Like full on dark stains creeping down his jeans as he stood there. running on to his shoes...

He had no idea this had happened, but the band did, they couldn't look him in the eye. Nether could the crowd! We were utterly embarrassed for him, but I can't say I didn't find it funny. When he'd finished he came rushing up to our little audience and with his arms outstretched proclaiming how good he was! 

When the band was finished he stumbled off into the night and I reminded myself why drink should be enjoyed in moderation!

The whole weekend is filled with so many great memories with the children and our friends. It was such fun thing to do together, prefect weather and great company.

What was your first festival experience? I should share some stories from mine 20 something years ago! 


  1. I have never attended a multiday music festival with one notable exception. Back in the early 90's, farmers were having a tough go of things and there were a series of "Farm Aid" concerts held to raise money in aid and all the famous acts at the time were tripping over themselves to play at them. One happened to be in the town where I was attending college and I bought tickets and attended all three days though I went back to the dorms to sleep from time to time.

    1. Having a good place to sleep can make a festival so much more fun! The first festival I went to they ended up burning down the toilets - although I did see some great bands!


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