Festival preview: Cloudspotting

Phoebe Hurst

Could this be the summer’s most relaxing festival? Cloudspotting keeps things simple with a weekend of music, beer and food.

There aren’t many music festivals that promise revellers a chance to “relax and ponder” but Cloudspotting isn’t about the party hard/repeat next year festival experience. Billing itself as a “micro music, food and beer festival,” the weekend retreat runs this month in the secluded grounds of Stephen Park in Lancashire’s Gisburn Forest. This year’s headliners include Clinic, Jesca Hoop and Sweet Baboo, and the Soundbytes stage plays host to alt-roots singer Marc O’Reilly. The festival also features a “locals’ day”, as Lancashire band Drop the Floor promise flat caps, whippets and traditional folk songs a-plenty.

It’s easy to see why the laidback festival has won plaudits from Michael Eavis

Living up to its food and booze pledge, there’s a decent smattering of market stalls and beer tents alongside the musical line up. The Bitter Suite tent serves ale and cider from local breweries such as Dent, Bowland and Hopstar and the festival also lays on regional pub grub and a farmers’ market, ensuring that no one is at risk of festival-induced scurvy. Cloudspotting is also big on its family friendly vibe, with a variety of kids’ activities such as den-making running throughout the weekend. (Though anyone with toddlers quite as cross as ours may be advised to steer clear of the children’s archery sessions. The phrase “you could have someone’s eye out with that” will take on a whole new meaning…)

All in all, then, and archery “incidents” aside, it’s not hard to see why the festival has won plaudits from the likes of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis. With an intimate woodland setting and laidback atmosphere, Cloudspotting harks back to Glasto’s golden age, when beer, music, sun and the occasional hippy was all a good festival needed.

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