Friday, 2 June 2017

Poltimore Festival 2017


On Sunday myself and my housemates went to Exeter's Poltimore Festival and I had the best day. The website describes it as "a music festival, a secret cinema, and a cutting edge theatre venue", and it really is a festival that has a bit of everything you could possibly want. With yoga and meditation sessions in the forest, slacklining, theatre and spoken word performances, a bouncy castle and far more, there's so much to see and explore aside from the music. 

Poltimore takes place at, you guessed it, Poltimore House and Grounds. Before going last weekend, I had no idea it even existed but both the house and land surrounding it are incredible and it makes the perfect place for a small festival venue! Now that I've done my homework I know that Poltimore was originally built as an aristocratic house but has been a girls' school, a wartime home and hospital and was sold by the NHS in 1975. Sadly it was essentially being left to ruin until the Poltimore House Trust bought it in the 2000s and have been restoring it ever since. 

It's really the most amazing piece of architecture and so, after having a quick look around the grounds once we'd arrived, we headed straight to the house to see what was on offer.


The house was a great place to start the day since it was filled with theatrical performances, a cinema and both art and photography exhibitions. My personal highlight in the house was a display showcasing all of the various things people have used as bookmarks found left in books. It included old cinema tickets, doodles on paper and a number of postcards. Being the history buff that I am, I was in heaven reading a number of old messages dating as far back (if my memory serves me rightly) as the 1930s and imagining what might have happened to both the writer and the person they were sending their postcard to! 

Inside the house there was also a stage where a number of music acts performed. The first photo above is the backdrop of the stage and it made such an ethereal location to hear music performed. We spent the day mostly meandering between the stage here and the main stage in the grounds and the contrast between the two was great. 

I really enjoyed listening to both of the acts we watched in the house, Delmer Darion and Psychopomp. Delmer Darion are an alternative electronic band who just use computers to make their music and although that sounds crazy (or it did to me) and I was at first worried that it would just sound like Ross' 'sound' (please tell me you get that Friends reference!), it was really cool to listen to and unlike anything I've ever heard! 


When we weren't at the House or laying on the grass watching the acts on the main stage, we were looking at the lovely stalls around the periphery of the grounds and wandering around the surrounding forest. Ellie bought a super cute t-shirt from a local and independent clothes company and I was very happy with my purchase of what has to be one of the best burgers I've ever had. 

It might sound a bit hippyish and cringey but it makes me so happy to be able to buy things from local shops and to support independent businesses even though it's unlikely that my one purchase of a burger will have made the biggest difference to that business! But the whole charm of Poltimore is that you can really see how much the organisers work to make it the loveliest day out. They must have reached out to so many different local businesses and artists to put together the whole day and it definitely paid off because the whole feel of the day was amazing. 


Before we knew it it was starting to get dark and the final band, Matthew and the Atlas, were performing on the main stage. We actually saw them live supporting Bear's Den in November and I really enjoyed it so it was fun to be able to see them again at Poltimore Festival. 

One of the nicest thing about how chilled Poltimore is as a festival is that you can just sit on the grass and enjoy the music or get up and dance to it at the front, whatever you're feeling. I have to say though, laying on the grass and looking up at the sky for a while was definitely the first time I'd felt really at peace in what must have been quite a while.

If it isn't already blindingly obvious, I absolutely adored Poltimore Festival and am definitely going back next year! I have to say thank you to Ellie for recommending that we go after she'd already gone last year because otherwise it probably would have passed me by. At only £12 a ticket (this year anyway), if you're in the south west next year you'd really be silly not to go - it's the most wonderful day out and everyone involved in the organising of it clearly put their all into it, which is very much appreciated by people like me!

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