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Muddy gets festival fever

Last weekend we went a bit festival crazy - three in one weekend!

Coventry and Warwickshire were awash with festivals last weekend – Godiva, Stratford River Festival, Classic Ibiza at Ragley Hall, Pub in the Park, the Stratford-upon-Avon Topiary Gin Festival and the Also Festival We managed to squeeze in three between us…!



It was an amazingly chilled weekend of #mindwilding, lakeside woodland adventures, wild swimming, wellbeing, eclectic musicians, DJs and fantastic feasts at the sixth annual Also Festival in Park Farm, Compton Verney. This year’s theme was Out of the Woods with an emphasis on redefining our relationship with tech and getting back in touch with nature. Here’s just a few of the best bits…

(L-R clockwise) The Lake Stage, wild swimming, London International Gospel Choir, the Hippy Heights Hotel, Gong Bath for Kids and Afrikan Boy

Fascinating talks by award-winning authors, academic and original thinkers included psychologist Philippa Perry’s refreshingly down-to-earth take on raising children; award-winning Canadian author and Reith lecturer Professor Margaret MacMillan, who was discussing The Uses and Abuses of History; and Swan Song author Kelleigh Greenbery-Jephcott – longlisted Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 – on Truman Capote’s rise and fall. Warwick University Associate Professor of Strategy and behavioural behavioural economist Dr Chengwei Liu’s offered The Secrets of Success; while former undercover police officer Neil Woods talked about the complexity of Britain’s Drug Wars.

Personal highlights include our glamping stay in the comfy Hippy Heights Hotel, a family Samba drumming sesh with Brazilian maestro Marcos Santana and his Tribo drummers; Afrikan Boy and a theatrical five-course bucolic banquet celebrating the seasons by Northampton’s Clatter Clatter Club with hugely entertaining frontman Andrew Walker (highly recommended if you’re in their neck of the woods). The Saturday night lantern procession, bonfire and the Lip Sync Champions are always great crowd-pleasers. New this year was a pop-up silent cinema in the woods.

Our Sunday started off with a circus skills workshop, a Gospel choir brunch and a Gong Bath for Kids –  my 10-year-old and I literally crashed out listening to gongs…It’s the new thing, apparently and so relaxing. This was followed by a Lake Stage performance on a solar-powered piano and wild-swimming. There were a million more things we would’ve loved to have gone to…

Festival food including (centre) maverick chef Andrew Walker of Northampton’s The Clatter Club – celebrating the clatter of knives and forks…




Tom Kerridge’s first Pub in the Park in Warwick was incredibly busy, with a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere and wasn’t unduly affected by a bit of drizzle on Saturday afternoon. Michelin-starred chefs served up posh nosh for £5, there were cooking demos, food stalls, drink tastings (including EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt’s Neat gin) and plenty of live music with headliners including Tom Odell and Razorlight. Mr Muddy came back refuelled – and with a parking ticket!




Muddy’s Georgina set up camp in the beautiful 100-year-old Topiary Garden at Billesley Manor Hotel and spent a chilled afternoon sampling six regional artisan gins. The live music line-up, included Andrew James (pictured above) on the back of a floral lorry. She said she loved hearing how each distillery evolved. Her overriding favourite tipple was Shakespeare Distilleries’ Gin Slush –  like a ‘Slush Puppy’ with gin!


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