I love all things Cumbrian, and as a big music fan I cannot tell you how excited I am to be attending Solfest on August bank holiday weekend. A Cumbrian Music festival held in sunny Spyatree (Aspatria to you out of town folk).
I spoke to Nathan Sutherland from the Solfest Management Team who gave me some inside information about what we can all expect at this years festival.
Aside from the fact that Solfest has some of the biggest names in music right now, such as Newton Faulkner, Stanton Warriors and the Dub Pistols there is a lot more to the festival that meets the eye. Solfest is ran entirely by volunteers and is a not for profit event. All profits made are put back into the kitty to put on the following years festival. The ethos of the festival is one that would be at home during the 1960’s hippy movement, promoting good music, enjoying a great experience and making friends!
Speaking to Nathan it is easy to see why the festival is so well loved in Cumbria, the passion for music is evident but despite the amazing acts they have year after year, Nathan explains the festival is purposely geared up to make it affordable for tourists and locals alike.
Nathan explains that the ethos of the festival is something that the team always go back to when making decisions and they take an approach that not
many other festivals do. They are very anti corporate, and all of the vendors, staff teams, volunteers are local. They prioritise local companies and suppliers, reinvesting in Cumbria at every turn. The toilets onsite are provided by Lakes Loos and the bar this year is supplied by the Tractor Shed Brewing Company (which are knocking pints out are £3.50 a pop), Cumberland sausage is readily available and an array of magical Cumbrian wares will be on sale.
Nathan tells our team that the ethos very much incorporates all members of the community particularly catering for the different
generations of people.
“there is a huge emphasis on making it family friendly and we have a dedicated team who work hard all year round planning the kids area” Nathan tells us. “this year we have free workshops, storytelling, pop up entertainment and some amazing football freestylers, there is also a separate campsite for families who prefer the quiet and a campsite for the noisy people” he tells us there is also a parade for the kiddiewinks and more info can be found in the kids area! And for those who really want to express ourselves and give out inner child a release the fancy dress theme this year is The Ugly Bug Ball!!
For the older generations or people with disabilities there are extra provisions for them too including carer tickets and plenty of stewards on hand for those who need assistance.
Cumbria has some of the worst impoverished areas in the country and to help people in all financial circumstances enjoy the festival, Solfest employ a staged ticket pricing system so the earlier tickets are bought the cheaper they are. The most expensive being around £100 quid (£89-£115) for an adult weekend camping ticket. Which is a massively cheaper than tickets for other more corporate festivals.
One of the biggest differences between Solfest and other festivals is that you can take your own food drink into the area. Our
biggest bug bear as festival goers is the cost of food and drink in arenas at corporate festivals with the average pint being around £5 and a meal which is often just a burger being around £8. With prices like this feeding and hydrating a family can be a costly exercise. But not at Solfest! This in our makes Solfest a 10/10 and we haven’t even packed yet!
Lastly we asked Nathan if he could give us any inside info that we can pass on to your loyal Cumbrian readers he tells us “the cottage has moved and it’s in the electric village. We have a stone circle to
o” So if you remember the secret the cottage from last year you’ll find it in the electric garden!
A big part Solfest is the showcasing of homegrown Cumbrian talent and again priority is given to Cumbrian bands that apply to play, Nathan says he’s looking forward to seeing Pony Land, The Unsung, Kontiki Suite, seeing, the Jambeater Sound System and our personal favourites, the DJ’s with Unity Sessions. There is such an eclectic line up, there is something for everybody
So Lads and Lasses, if you’re not doing anything this bank holiday weekend, get yourselves to Solfest, the festival for Cumbrians by Cumbrians…. How many times do you hear ‘nowt ever ‘appens round ‘ere… well Solfest is happening and its looking after our community in more ways you can count! Lets give em our support.
Tickets available from: HERE!