Now i know why its called The Big Chill

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The Big Chill
‘Now I know why its called The Big Chill’ said my sister as I dragged her round another very famous but very hectic festival. Aptly named, The Big Chill can be a very relaxing experience set in the stunning Eastnor Deer Park with fairytale castle at one end, fairground at the other and dotted along the way with tiny lakes. Everything is beautifully decorated especially at night when the whole valley is lit by coloured lights and strings of what look like fairy lights from a distance stretch as far as the eye can see. I would recommend a walk up one of the sides of the valley just for the view at night, walk up during one of the mass Thai lantern let offs around 10pm and watch them all float away.
Relaxing though it may be if that is what you choose you will also find plenty to do and can get from one part of the site to another pretty easily if you want to fit lots in. With comedy, films, ambient tents, at least two stages, a dance tent and performance artists to be found along the way its sometimes hard to know who is paid to be there and who is just getting into the festival spirit. It can be hard to know what to see first and its easy to wile away the hours soaking up the sun (the sun usually shines on Norman J at the very least) listening to the array of artists and genres that fill the stages all afternoon and evening without moving. Its worth making the effort to get around though as there is always something unusual going on under the trees, some brilliant people to meet and the Art Trail is a must see. Refer to the well written programme to help you decide what you cant miss.
It is about early evening when I remember that I have children who need feeding who have all afternoon been thoroughly entertained in the nearby childrens tent watching magic shows, having races, face painting or making alien spaceships out of willow sticks. There is a parade to show off what has been made during the day to rapturous applause from the crowds before we all go in search of hot food. And what a choice, all tastes catered for and all good quality, reasonable value unless you want an ice cream which will cost the earth. But even that seemed reasonable under the hot August sun after a night of excess!
The Big Chill is a personal favourite and I have been going for many years. The sun usually shines, the toilets are plentiful and usually clean and the showers are usually tepid. However it is always beautiful, everyone always turns out in their Sunday best for Norman J, there are always some amazing names that I have always wanted to see, always some amazing acts to discover that I will always love hereafter and always the best people to meet along the way.
I am admiring of the civilised types with wine, glasses and blankets to sit on. I am even more admiring of those in fancy dress, my favourite being a herd of lycra clad zebras one year. Everyone is always smiling and pottering about with intent to dance, laugh, cheer and of course Chill.

Published on 28 January 2010 by Cathi Moore

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