Wednesday 11 July 2018

Ad | Timber!!!!!!! Festival - Derbyshire Family Festival Review

Timber is a new festival that instantly sounded right up our street, and excitingly we were invited to review by Wild Rumpus. Set in Derbyshire (in gorgeous woodland in the National Forest) and aiming to be a carbon neutral big sibling to Just So Festival, with plenty to entertain the adults as well as the school aged children. It was brilliant. Everything that we hoped for and more, plus sunshine for once!!!

This is a photo-heavy post because there really was so much to experience at Timber Festival - it was great before we even left the camping field (aside from losing our van keys for 4 hours, but that's another story). Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Our festival began with sunshine, wildlife, cherries, lovely neighbours and a gift of roast chicken... and a space in accessible camping because neither I nor my partner are capable of transporting our tent and belongings. We are working on the boys and they did a superb job of helping to get the tent up and down! Modern tents are really easy to use and can be excellent prices, try somewhere like Globo Surf for advice if you are new to camping.

Did I mention it was hot? It really was, and Timber festival must be the best festival for this weather, with hedges and trees and shade everywhere. None of us burned!

The site is split on 2 levels with a steep hill in between. Different pathways offered different gradients, but it wasn't something my hernia wanted to cope with more than twice a day. It did not spoil the event, but arranging your day around minimising up and down will be important to wheelchair users and even people with bad backs and babies.

At the top of the hill were Information and Lost Kids, the Archive Of Outside and The Moth Hotel (one to avoid at night if you are squeamish)... and at the bottom, our mates from Asmodee with a games tent.

The woods were full of exciting things and these monsters created by local schoolchildren were the first we saw. They're ferocious and excellent.

Lots of Timber Festival is 'free roam', but there is a full programme of timed events as well. We didn't see The Lost Words, but we did whittle a letter opener and we watched Stuart Maconie (cool 90's music journalist and current President of The Ramblers) visibly melt while making a tent full of people laugh, and passing on the secrets of how to attract all the female attention when rambling.

We even managed to catch Hope And Social's secret gig outside L.L.Bean's on Sunday afternoon. They had the crowd dancing and singing despite it being about 30 degrees, and it was a lovely thing to be part of - from a safe distance in the shade... with a tasty beverage. The bar was actually really good value, including a good choice of draft drinks at £3.50-£4.00 a pint and ice cold cans of soft drink at £1.50. Ice creams were a fair £2 for a standard cone all around the site. We had loads...

I love the simple stuff, and the maze made from stretched material and the stone balancing were so peaceful and calm. Unsurprisingly in the heat of midday no-one was keen to pedal the cycle-powered carousel.

Wild Rumpus' other festival, Just So, is especially for families with children 0-11, but Timber is aimed at school-aged kids and above, so there was plenty of more 'grown up' stuff for my 8 and 9 year olds to get stuck into. We all have a much better idea of how to build a straw house now - you need a good 'persuader' to make sure it's all nice and tight...

My boys even had their first play with VR -  experiencing life as various animals including a mosquito, an owl and and a frog. They loved it...

Partly because it offered so much shade, we spent a lot of our time at The Canopy and down at that end of the site. The campfire offered bands and a chance to see a new storyteller (he was very good), but main hosts were Ian Douglas the storyteller and Mr Foppletwig, who has a fantastic repertoire of Victorian science - mainly involving bangs and flashes and smoke... and Led Zeppelin... Frankly these two work so well together that you'd think they'd been a double act forever.

Timber is an arts festival and there is always music playing somewhere on the site. Around the camp fire or in the big tent, or on the Nightingale Stage, and there was also a music and DJ stage which looked amazing lit up at night. Because numbers are kept low, there are never huge crowds anywhere and you feel incredibly 'safe'. A stroll to the toilets is a pleasurable one with lots of cheery 'hello's' and plenty to look at, a clean toilet and no queues... it really is the life...

Another place which was just as magical whichever time of day you arrived was The Moon. Museum Of The Moon is a 7 metre recreation which really was stunningly beautiful from any angle and in any light. It was worth going purely to see it in such an amazing backdrop...

We didn't see it all. We didn't try everything, but we made a million memories and even more smiles. Timber Festival was excellent. 'Kids in fields with sticks' is something I've said for many years and Timber Festival takes that and ramps it up to 11 - then adds plenty of warm showers, so any amount of dust and mud (okay, we had no mud this year except around the water taps) doesn't matter.

The site is spread out, and that hill is harsh on tired little legs, but the mood is relaxed and the weather at this time of year is usually the driest and sunniest overall, so it was easy to stay within our limits and not end each day worn out and creaky. The layout will no doubt be tweaked a bit, but for the first year they have definitely done an excellent job and it really is impossible to gauge how well your map will work until you put people into it.

For those of you who were around the campfire during the Choc Nibble challenge - my youngest eventually managed to say it 5 times quickly and won the most coveted prize of the weekend - second treasure only to his new special stick...


Timber Festival takes place at Feanedock, DE12 6DQ, and if you are a bit of a tree-hugging, nature-loving, story-listening hippy like me then it's probably right up your street. Sign up to the eNews on the Timber Festival website to be the first to hear about dates and early bird tickets for 2019.

For another opinion check out the Timber Festival reviews from our camping neighbour Jane at Hodgepodgedays, Karen at Lancashire Lass, Little Pickle's Mum, Mini Travellers and Colette at We're Going On An Adventure.

For a look at what else Wild Rumpus offer, including Just So Festival for families with children 0-11, here are my other posts from Wild Rumpus led events:

We attended Timber Festival as guests in order to review. 


  1. I'm loving reading other people's write ups from the weekend - everyone saw something different! I'm gutted we didn't see the moon in the dark!

    1. Oh no really! It was amazing. We never managed to find the fire garden and we walked round for hours :D

  2. You got some great photos, the moon ones especially are excellent. We had the most fun with you guys. Thank you for making it so special and for taking that roast chicken off our hands :)

    1. Thank you! That's high praise and I'm very flattered. The roast chicken was one of his highlights. He'll be telling people about that for months :D

  3. The pictures are amazing, especially the ones of the moon! I am so glad you all had such a fantastic time - the weather was definitely on your side! Sim xx

  4. Thanks mate, nice blog you're a topdog :)

  5. Stumbled upon this whilst searching pictures of Foppletwig & Douglas. Great blog!

    Dieter AKA Mr. Foppletwig AKA Professor Pumpernickel AKA the happy drunk...(by some) x

    1. Hahaha Hiya! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - and I'm glad you like the post. I definitely had better photos this year I think, and you Sir are welcome to borrow any you like :)


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