The latest in our series of themed blogs in which Farmer Phil’s Festival fans recount their fondest experiences at the event, Tristan Johnston explains why 2009’s festival holds a special place in his heart – his favourite Farmer Phil’s festival experience…
My favourite Farmer Phil’s Festival was actually my first visit back in 2009. A group of friends and I, who are all regular festival goers, decided to try something different and something more relaxing than the usual festival experience we were accustomed to.
As soon as we pitched up on site, we were welcomed by a tank. It was at that moment we knew that this was definitely not the kind of festival we were used to, but somehow it already seemed a better experience compared with the usual queues of traffic and hiking from the car park with all your gear to set up your tent.
I suppose this is all common for the first time people attend Farmer Phil’s and doesn’t make my story any different to anyone else’s, so at this point I’d best talk about why 2009’s festival is so memorable for me. Our regular group of friends had also brought a couple of friends with them from outside our festival goers group and as we all started to enjoy the beautiful Shropshire hills setting, the relaxed atmosphere, a few drinks (well, maybe more than a few!) and the array of different music available, from a band playing plastic tubing (if I remember rightly) to a Bob Marley tribute act (the highlight of my weekend) we all began to get to know the new members of our group.
Our friends had brought their friend, Louise. It was actually Louise’s first ever festival and, in hindsight, I cannot think of a better event to introduce you to the world of festivals. Lou was brought along to the festival to meet some new people and hopefully find love with one of our friends that she was being set up with, however, it was clear that from the start Lou and I had more in common than the person that they were trying to set her up with… mainly because he had polished off three litres of cider and was slightly incoherent!
Over the weekend, and with no means of escape(!), we formed a great friendship, bonding over music, people watching, jerk chicken, camp fires and of course a silent disco (I think it was my dancing at this that truly impressed Louise if I am honest!). Farmer Phil’s had given us the break from busy lives just to get to know each other over a few days without any interruptions, like an unplanned and extended first date.
Fast forward a few years, and to cut a long story short – in 2013 Louise and I were married and a year later had our first child together, Harry, who I hope to bring to the festival so he can see where his parents met. So I guess the only thing left to say is that Farmer Phil’s Festival has a lot to answer for in my household, and is responsible for the most massive of changes to my life that I never expected the day I turned up to Near Gatten Farm back in August 2009.