Of all the many pleasures lost to us over the past 18 months, the music festival must rank high on anyone's list. The midday boozing, the tuneless singing of happy crowds, hugging strangers, abandoning all sense of time and decorum – it's like a major football tournament without the risk of losing on penalties at the end.
Yet even in a post-vaccine world, there's a market for something a little different than your standard 'mosh pits and mud' extravaganzas. Enter The Estate Festival, a new boutique venture that combines an eco-friendly ethos with VIP service.
Situated on Turvey House Estate, the festival is geared toward the more refined music lover. At The Estate, you don't camp but glamp; you needn't queue for hours for a watery beer but order a bottle of vodka to your table while onstage a DJ blasts out the tunes.
Feeling hungry? The food is fantastic, including such delicacies as truffle pizza and steak and chips. It's a long way from the dodgy hotdog that typically sustains you.
The festival ran over four consecutive weekends in June. However, good news – a rearranged final weekend is taking place this August. Sign-up here.
Want more info? We caught up with co-founder Sam Mooney to discuss how he and his partners Robyn Isherwood and Josh Bradshaw are reinventing the festival experience.
How did The Estate coming about?
My business partner Robin ran the first socially distance festival in the UK last year, Gisburne Park Pop Up. That went crazy, they were in the New York Times. The owners of this property heard about Robin and wanted to get involved. We came down, fell in love with the place and saw the potential. Then we just went to work!
What's the plan for future events?
It's a long term project. We're trying to carve out a new niche in the festival market. There's a lot of desire for something different. The Estate offers stuff like table service and a bit more of a premium experience.
Was there anything you took inspiration from? It feels quite Ibiza...
Nothing specific, it's more an amalgamation of our different backgrounds. Robin's experience is in private events, so she's always been about the look; Josh is food and beverage, working with the really high-end part of the market; and I come in with the music and festival stuff. So we fused those three together.
The food is great by the way...
Yeah! It's all us, done internally. We wanted to keep control of every aspect. We use locally sourced suppliers, all the food is from locals.
Five years' time, what's the plan?
The aim is to work at multiple sites and have a process where we can have a staycation all year round. A wedding venue and a restaurant all year round and a really nice pop-up manor. And do a tour of the festival, one per year in each place with glamping. One weekend of what everybody needs.
The other big thing for us is sustainability. Each of the hexagons (seats) is made from 80,00 recyled cups. All of our lanyards, wristbands, uniforms, everything, is made from recycled plastic. For every crate of Brewdog we sell, Brewdog will plant a tree.
We even do a family show to ensure there's something for everyone.
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Sounds like a bit of you? Get tickets to The Estate's Big Return this August