You know how you always want something you can’t have? Well, please warmly shake the hand of In The Woods, a boutique one-day festival held just a one-hour southward journey from London (read ‘Kent’. It’s easier that way). The beauty of this ultra-secretive event is that only those with tickets will be told how to get there, so even before you arrive you’re already edging into ‘VIP’ territory. In The Woods is now in its seventh year, and only 750 tickets were released in April 2012, possibly in an attempt to keep festival fans on their toes. It’s worked – tickets are now all sold out, and keen partygoers are in for something of a treat.
Despite the recent influx of websites mocking up-and-coming boutique festivals, In The Woods offers a genuinely friendly, good-natured atmosphere. This is due to the fact that everyone attending seems to have a deep and tender affection for good music, sunshine, and just having a ball. Others have pointed out that, as the festival’s only held over one day, people don’t have a chance to get hungover and tired, which may well be a factor. Either way, it’s a chance to relax in a gorgeous forest and take things easy. This isn’t the place to start drinking at 9am and find yourself weeping by a grubby tent at 3pm, devoid of your stomach contents and your money. Did I mention that you can bring your own booze (no glass!) and food? Well, you can. You can even hold a barbeque. And children are welcome, although it’s recommended that little people aren’t allowed to mosey off without their folks. Free water is provided, so if you’re off the sauce, expect a marvellously cheap day.
Watch In The Woods Festival 2012 Promo
So, what’s on offer? As you’d expect, from such a sophisticated affair, there’s a lot of aesthetically-pleasing activities. Twinkling fairy lights and extraordinary art installations are carefully dotted about the forest, encouraging festivalgoers to explore and enjoy their surroundings. Everything seems incredibly organic, for want of a better word – there’s no racing to see bands, and no stress. Those who have always shunned greasy festival food are probably going to get a surprise, as the hot food and drinks available are locally-sourced, and far more satisfying that a thin, tired looking slab of ‘meat’ that’s hastily been swallowed by a white roll. In The Woods doesn’t like to boast, but several artists have performed at their festival just before their careers took off. Anna Calvi, Micachu + The Shapes, and Alt-J are In The Woods alumni. This year, artists playing include Kwes, Alt-J (him again!), Stealing Sheep and Maia. No death metal here, just ambient tunes, two stages, relaxing harmonies and the chance to lie back and enjoy the stunning scenery.
And what, you ask, of the night? Well, as the dusk creeps in, the festivities aren’t over. The festival boasts a hugely-popular silent disco (a bit like using a Wii for the first time – you’ll feel stupid at first, but then you’ll be a life-long convert), and a huge bonfire, which you’ll find yourself gathered around as the night stretches out before you. This festival is, (within limits), perfection without pretention as it’s so perfect for a multitude of social events. Friends, partners, parents – it all goes here. The crowd’s age range is varied, too. Good for those who have attended Reading in recent years and been genuinely concerned about the antics of the youth.
As with all good festivals that place their love of fun above their love of money, In The Woods doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t cost extra to camp, and parking is free. If you’ve missed out this year, don’t worry – keep an eye on their website, and sign up for email alerts. You too will get your chance to explore the secret Kent countryside!
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