Yesterday was the last night of the 2008 Cambridge Folk Festival. We left in the early evening not long after Mufi and TJ headed back to Manchester as we were quite Folked Out after 4 days of festival. However a good time had been had by all and we saw a number of excellent bands. There is a small stack of CDs I need to rip into my digital collection now.
As festivals go (certainly ones I'm familiar with) it's fairly light weight. This may or may not be influenced by the fact we were able to take full advantage of the festival but return home every evening. This starts by not having to go through a ring of security steel to get onto site. I suspect this is because the crowd are a more mature mix of people who don't need excessive corralling to follow the rules. The main thing that concerned the staff is you had your wristband on and didn't bring any glass onto site.
The site is quite small and housed 3 main performance areas. This was great as it meant a quick trip to the tent to pick up your jumper wasn't a journey of dread like at Glastonbury. Several hatched paths had been marked with line paint around the stages to ensure the free flow of people back and forth which worked exceptionally well. The most exasperated comments from the organisers where cajoling people inside the performance tents to be a little less territorial with their rugs. We spent the majority of the festival outside the tented areas of the main stage and for the most part had enough space to stretch out. Even though Saturday involved a little battling with the rain the drainage on the site was so good you could sit directly on the grass later in the afternoon.
I should make special mention of the bar. The organisers were taking the green agenda quite seriously this year and doing their best to reduce the potential environmental impact of the festival. This was evident in the plastic bag ban for traders, compost-able eating utensils and a glass deposit scheme. Instead of the throwaway thin plastic ping mugs they had a decent solid plastic pint mug and a slightly more grand glass tankard style mug. The deposit was ï¿½2 for the plastic and ï¿½3.50 for the glass and could be collected on the way out or after 10.30 in the bar. They provided glass washers at the end of the tent for people to clean their glasses albeit with the admonishment not to do it all the time due to the third of a pint of water it takes. All in all the scheme seemed to work well, everyone held onto their glasses and the site was certainly very clean. The majority of the rubbish, collected of course in separately labelled bins, was food and paper plates.
The best thing about the bar was the service. A lovely choice of 4 real-ales, including a very drinkable "Festival Special" session beer, all served quickly. I think the longest queue for the bar was maybe 2 people deep, most of the time I could walk straight to the bar and be served.
All in all it's a very nice way to spend a relaxing weekend sitting in the (mostly) sunshine and listening to cool chilled out music. I can certainly see myself going next year.