Standon Calling – one of the top summer festivals in the UK…. and it’s in Hertfordshire
What I loved about it:
I knew this festival would be good but it was so much more than I was expecting. We had such a great time there as a family but would have equally enjoyed it without the kids, on our own as a couple or with a group of friends.
There is so much going on day and night that you will never be bored or wondering what to do next. The only problem we had was fitting in everything we wanted to see and do, and trying to trying to persuade our 6-year-old it was time to leave on the Sunday!
I loved the fact that the festival was cash free, with payments made via your wristband, which you could top up either via the festival app or at one of the top up stations around the festival site. Paying this way meant you didn’t have to carry round cash or cards and also made transactions quick and easy- vital on a hot day when you really need that cold beer!
The festival app was great, with maps, schedule, festival and artist information and even playlists. No more carrying around tatty paper line up lists or waiting for internet connection to load up websites.
Value for money (out of 10):
Standon Calling- WOW, what a weekend. If you have never done a festival before and want one that has great acts, is lots of fun, feels safe, is clean, has lots to do and is easy to get around then this is the one for you. I’ve been to quite a few festivals in my time and can honestly say this is up there with the very best. Even though we did miss out on seeing some of the big acts that were performing later on at night (next time will be coming with other families so we take turns babysitting), We had just as much fun enjoying the daytime acts and activities, plus seeing the kids living their best life was just precious. Read on and hopefully you will be inspired to book for next year (20 to 23 July 2023), early bird tickets are available now.
This year was the first time Standon Calling took place over four days. Madness headlined the first night which really set the bar as to the fantastic musical talent showcased over the weekend. There are a lot of acts that I simply have never heard of because, well, I’m old, but they were obviously massive crowd pullers from the swarms of people heading into the site later on in the evening (which was around the same time we were reluctantly heading back to the tent because of the kids).
Those acts I do know, and some of which we did luckily manage to see, include Cuban Brothers, Gabrielle, Sam Ryder, Example, Sugar Babes, The Cribs, Annie Mac, Razerlight, Basement Jaxx, Craig David, Artful Dodger, Primal Scream and Grandmaster Flash.
Activities taking place throughout the weekend included exercise and dance classes, educational talks, arts and craft workshops (from flower crown making to life drawing), bushcraft, circus shows, DJ, Beatbox and graffiti classes, storytelling… the list goes on, there is even a swimming pool on site with bookable hour long swim sessions. Even the four legged friends (Standon Calling is a dog friendly festival) were well looked after, with their own ‘Pooch Progamme’ with a grooming parlour, dog training demonstrations, talks by dog behaviours experts and celebrity vets and a finale dog show.
The food also needs a special mention. These days most festivals are claiming to be ‘foodie’, with a food truck or two to accompany the standard greasy burger van, however the organisers of Standon Calling had obviously chosen their caterers carefully. There was a huge variety of options available including gourmet pies, BBQ, Poke, fish and chips, healthy wraps, Indian street food, noodles, steak truffle burgers and even a Waitrose tasting kitchen (which hosted ‘sip and serve master classes’ as well as selling taster boxes from their summer ranges).
Liquid refreshments were easily accessible with plenty of bars located throughout the site and we never had to queue long for a drink. You can pay extra to have access to the Backstage Bar which I would definitely recommend, it’s right by the main stage, has posh toilets, lots of seating areas and its own DJ.
On to the accommodation, for a bit of luxury if you book far enough in advance you can choose the pre-pitched yurts and bell tents in the Boutique Camping area which come with supplied bedding, lighting and other additions, some of which even have proper beds. You also don’t even need to carry your own bags there, with a kind of camping concierge service that greets you as soon as you get there and transports your bags, via buggy, to your tent. The ‘Lavish Lands’ area also has use of the concierge service and you also get access to the nice showers etc but are closer to the stages so it may be louder at night.
We were in the family camping area which was nearest the car park and site entrance so not so far to drag your tent/ bags/ cool box etc. Although there were quite a few groups of teenagers camping here (parents camping nearby) there was little noise from fellow campers through the night. Those that fancy more of a party atmosphere at night would choose the general camping area. Toilets were easy to get to and although they were the eco toilets (no flush) they were clean and always well stocked with toilet paper. There was also readily available drinking water and basic showers.
All in all, I would without a doubt recommend Standon Calling, and we will definitely be back next year.
Here’s some of our tips:
1) If you want to cook in the camping area, make sure you look up the equipment requirements as there were plenty of people getting their stove gas confiscated upon entry as it wasn’t the approved type.
2) Bring ear plus, although we didn’t experience much noise from other campers, the music from the stages does carry and can be quite loud late into the night.
3) Keep an eye out in advance for the fancy dress theme and bring a fancy dress, the fancy dress parade was amazing and although it was great fun to watch, we would have loved to have taken part.
4) If you are coming with kids, contemplate coming in a group of friends so you can take turns babysitting and all experience some of acts that come on later on in the night.
1) Sam Ryder’s set on the Friday and then J getting his picture with him later on that afternoon.
2) Dick and Dom’s DJ set on the Sunday afternoon, they’ve gone from kids’ TV presenters to pretty bass-ass DJ’s!
3) Kids DJ workshop- J is now all set up to be a headliner at Standon Calling in a few years time!
4) Horrible Histories live show, the kids were spell-bound.
5) The fancy dress parade. We were seriously impressed by some of the costumes, top marks to the family dressed as Toy Story characters, especially the two little kids dressed as Slinky Dog, complete with a spring joining them together.