8th – 10th July
This fun-sized festival is held in a field in deepest Devon, somewhere near Tiverton. Due to council restrictions it looks like it could be popping up somewhere else green and pleasant next year, but let’s hope it keeps going. Wattsfest provides camping fun amidst eclectic sounds, friendly folk, and mellow pastoral environs – minus the other stress factors of its equivalent behemoths elsewhere in the UK.
This year it was all loosely packed into a large hillside, with a chocolate box selection of music tents in each corner. An impressively varied playlist featured many artists who’d made the happy journey down from the big smoke. A jumble of pop-up homes converged at the top of the field, a safe distance from a gentle little bonfire that drew midnight gatherings.
I ignored my emergency stash of rice crackers in favour of the scrumptious stodge and healthy fare being served up in the food tents (grilled mackerel and new potatoes anyone?). Copious local beer and cider was on tap, with the added surprise of White Russians, and Moscow cocktails served from a mini disco bar.
The silent disco was a word-of-mouth hit, with the giant headphones rarer than hens’ teeth once the witching hour had struck. Bonnie Taylor and Queen were knowing crowd pleasers, aside from obscurer sounds and ravey davey classics.
Lounging on scattered cushions within the Parlour tent while listening to acoustic sets and mind-bending wordsmiths was a fine way to spend a drowsy afternoon. Alternative activities included hula hooping, yoga, and welly throwing…but the lurcher in the Book Cycle tent had the best idea: snoozing on a beat-up sofa in the sun.