green gathering 2018 what we thought

Green Gathering 2018 Review – What We Thought

How was Green Gathering 2018?

We set off for Green Gathering at the tail end of a month-long heatwave. We’d had a tiny bit of rain in the days before but it was still scorching. The magical trail through the trees to Piercefield Park cooled us as we made our way onto the site. The view from the site was breathtaking. After setting up our tents, we went in search of food.

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festival goers on a field under a bright blue sky

Food at Green Gathering 2018

I brought a cool box full of chilli and curry to help us stay within our budget. Even so, I tried my fair share of restaurants! For vegan options, there was the famous Buddhafield cafe, Ice Green cashew ice cream van and the Veggies catering campaign van for burgers. I’m not gonna lie, I have failed on the foodie photo side of things this year. The food was too good, and I was too hungry. I’m sorry! There are photos in last year’s review and on my Instagram if you’re determined to be hungry from now until the next GG!

One of my most amazing finds was a kefir ginger ale with rum – dark and stormy! This year there was kefir and kombucha in abundance, and since I’m no stranger to water kefir, I had to try some. It was delicious and I seriously hope it will be back next year. Until then, I’ll have to make do with my cucumber, mint and lime kefir smoothie. Worse things have happened!

As a family, our favourite food stall was by far Pancake Paradise. It was right next to the kids area, actually gluten free and pretty much Shane’s only chosen food source.

I can’t really go without mentioning the pizza. The pizza guys were preparing GF food in the same prep area as the wheat. That’s fine for people who aren’t allergic to gluten, but people who need gluten free food (my step-daughter) need gluten free areas for the food to be prepared in. We found food somewhere else, but the hassle could have been avoided if the stall had proper labelling.

a bra being used as a planter

Zero waste at Green Gathering 2018

This year there was a big emphasis on zero waste. Their Crock n Rock service (crockery hire – they even wash it for you) was stepped up with signs in many of the cafes. The Nutshell garden was dedicated to making use of waste – with everything from bras to bottles being used to grow food in. There was even a line of Green Gathering zero waste goodies, including the very retro enamel mug you see below.

In the months before the festival, Green Gathering campaigned for festival goers to bring their own mugs with the strapline “Don’t be a mug… bring your own!”.  It was a big success, with the compost expert finding only one non-compostable disposable cup on the whole site after everyone left. The. Whole. Site.

Recycling was once again on point. At other festivals, you’ll see those cute black bins with about three different holes for different types of recycling. I imagine Green Gathering laughs at those festivals and says “Awwww, how cute!” as it looks at its own recycling points, with about 15 different types of recyclables collected in clearly labelled bins. I’m sure there’s a meme in there somewhere!

Green Gathering had more compost loos than ever, meaning that not even the waste was wasted. Sadly the Donald Dump compost loo did not make a reappearance, but I’m willing to trade more entertaining loos for more compost.

green gathering enamel mug

How child friendly is Green Gathering?

One of the things I love most about Green Gathering is that it’s family friendly without being specifically *for* children. There is a massive range of talks and workshops that feed the grown-up mind, and safe spaces for children to play in every area of the festival we visited. This meant I got to enjoy the talks and workshops I wanted to and the kids always had somewhere to play if they got bored of what we were doing.

Although the play areas are all parental supervision only (there is no creche on site), they’re all close enough to the nearest workshop spaces for you to be able to keep an eye on them. My sons are 6 and 7, and confident enough to play nearby as long as they know where you are.

The teen tent is something else entirely. Teens could have henna, jam together or even play games consoles depending on what activity was on at the time. Phone charging was available and the best bit? No parents or annoying younger siblings allowed! Rhian was in her element and it didn’t cost me a penny. She would emerge when she was hungry or occasionally to see what we were up to.

a sign that reads "take and leave from the swapshop nothing to swap? Pop a contribution in the Hippo"

The best bits of Green Gathering 2018

Seeing Rhian relax and enjoy herself in the teen tent.

Making a cunt fascinator in the women’s tent.

The pancakes, ice cream, burgers, thali, breakfasts and falafel, which were all scoffed so quickly I forgot to take photos – oops!

A talk on how to make activism more inclusive for parents.

Meeting new friends and connecting with old ones.

a man in a green t-shirt with a blue hat touching his face while looking at something off camera

The worst bits of Green Gathering 2018

The “gluten free” pizza.

Going home – I really wanted to stay!

a young boy holding a stuffed hedgehog

The takeaway – remember to live slow.

Every year at Green Gathering has a different vibe for us – this year it was a welcome break from the hectic chaos that is currently everyday life. For a weekend, I remembered what it was to live slow. Now that I’m back, I know I need to slow the pace down a little bit. Put the brakes on the everyday. The mad rush is not sustainable! Green Gathering quite simply the best thing you could do next summer. I can’t wait to be back – if you’re coming with me, you can buy your tickets here.

Read next: The Ultimate Eco Friendly Festival Packing Guide

Green Gathering is the festival of the future. Buy your tickets now – see you next year!

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