British Summer Micro-Festivals

With the big events not covid secure, boutique micro-festivals for all the family are popping up.

“The past year has driven an increased appreciation of the great outdoors which, combined with the changing culture of how people want to socialise, creates this great intersection where pop-ups can sit on the fringes of the festival space,” says Joe Elkins, part of the team behind Camp Elwood, which will set up in Norfolk’s Holkham Estate for the first time this summer.

Complete with creative workshops, campfire astrology and canoeing on a mile-long lake, the camp has been designed around Covid precautions.

As has Summer Camp, which is held in the grounds of the Hawarden Estate on the Welsh border, where guests can pitch a tent or splurge for glamping. There will be wild swimming and workshops on everything from beekeeping to blacksmithing. When it opens its doors for three weekends in July, it will host just 100 guests at once.

“We instinctively felt that our guests wanted something smaller, more intimate,” says organisor Charlie Gladstone. “Something that allowed them to connect with speakers and performers and fellow guests in ways that they could never do at mega events.”

That appetite isn’t entirely new. Ask anyone who has tried and failed to get tickets for Fforest Gather, two “family friendly gatherings” held at a beautiful farm retreat in Cardiganshire, every summer, with 300 places at each. By day there are workshops, talks and performances on topics from fish smoking to den building, all conducted by real experts (this year, the Aardman animator Jim Parkyn is teaching model-making).

By night, films, storytelling and tastings are held outdoors. “We felt it was something we would have wanted to do with our own family – something more intimate and nurturing, smaller and safer,” says Sian Tucker, its founder.

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