Neverworld Festival

Second star on the right, and straight on till morning.

Neverworld Festival is a fantastic little festival tucked away in a place called Hever in Kent. With a huge mix of music, themed areas, bars and a wide variety of activities on offer, it was bound to be a gooden! Not only that, it was family AND dog-friendly… yes, a dog-friendly festival does exist and it was as epic as you imagine.

Venue

Neverworld took place at John Darlings farm in Hever in Kent. The site its self was really easy to navigate and there were people on hand to help from the moment you arrived – some more friendly and helpful than others I must add, but on the whole, everyone was lovely!

The site itself was really interesting and had lots of little surprises around every corner. For a small festival, there was a lot of thought put into the stages, the venue and the journey that everyone could go on together which made for a fantastic festival atmosphere! There were plenty of toilets and water points dotted about, which made it practical and accessible to everyone (two or four-legged)! What I liked was the way the site was spread out, with each of the ‘tribes’ having their own little area. The festival had 3 realms and therefore 3 tribes… The mermaids, whose hangout was of course ‘The Beach’, the Lost Boys who chose to nestle amongst the trees in the woods and by the ‘Wendy House’, and then last but not least the Pirates who caused havoc at ‘The Gold Mine’ or the ‘Jolly Rodger’. Each had a very different vibe and all made for a fantastic feel.

What I did like was how much space there was in each of the areas where you could just chuck down a picnic blanket, sit and enjoy the sunshine, music or whatever delicious food you decided to sample. Especially if you had brought a dog, having plenty of room to relax and not feel like you were sitting on the lap of the person next to you, was really important and made for a much more relaxing atmosphere. There were also plenty of shady spots which meant you could escape the heat of the day should you not want to sit in the baking sunshine which was also a bonus with a dog in tow.

Camping

Camping for me was slightly different from others as I was lucky enough to go with someone who had a VW Campervan, so we camped in that for the duration of the festival. However, that being said, the general campsite looked great. It was really close to the car park and only a short walk to the festival arena itself. There were also glamping options available too in the form of T-Pee bell tents, which after staying in at Bournemouth 7’s, I would highly recommend.

There were showers and portaloos in the campervan area as well as water points and the usual facilities. However, in the campsite, I would have liked to see more rubbish bins! I was located in the Press/Artists campsite and there was not a single bin in sight!

Cashless System

Neverworld operated a cashless system this year which I thought was fantastic and worked really well. I loved not having to carry cash around with me during the day, and it made buying drinks and food so much simpler. There were plenty of top-up points throughout the festival, and staff were really helpful and quick at topping up the bracelets. I liked that you didn’t have to top up in £5’, £10’s etc and that you could just top up in whatever increment you wanted. I topped up with £7 on the last day so as to use up all the money on the band which was perfect.

The actual wristbands themselves were lovely, made from fabric with a small plastic chip and a wooden toggle. Not only did they look nice, but they also were not bulky or uncomfortable which so often is the case with those cashless wristbands. As I was press I had an artist wristband for the duration of the festival, but general, crew or other wristbands were exactly the same quality and design just in different colours!

The refund procedure was also really easy, there was plenty of information online to guide you through the process but essentially each wristband had a unique code on the back and you could use this code to get your remaining balance off the wristband. Simple.

Neverworld 2019

Food/Drink

There was a fantastic variety of food at Neverworld considering it was a smaller scale festival. From falafel wraps to pizza, fish and chips to noddles, greek platters to full-on bbq, there really was something for everyone. I have to admit a personal favourite was the beef brisket I had on day 1… covered in bbq sauce and accompanied by chips and slaw… omg yum! I also did try some battered fries with curry sauce on the last night and they were absolutely delicious!

Prices were as you would expect for a festival between £6-10 for most dishes. I thought the pizza prices were quite steep at about £10 ( as they were not generous with the toppings) but otherwise, food was fairly priced for what you got!

Music

Neverworld had an absolutely fantastic lineup this year and there really was something for everyone! Headliners included Craig David, The Vaccines, Mistajam, Shy FX, Tom Grennan, Professor Green, Mystery Jets, Mike Skinner and more!

Having never seen Tom Grennan before, I didn’t know what to expect, and he was epic! His voice was unbelievable, raw and organic and just incredible. He did a fantastic set with a mix of old classics and new releases which got everyone in the festival mood!

I absolutely loved Professor Greens set, it was real, honest and you could tell he was enjoying performing in front of the smaller scale crowd and it made it feel like an exclusive, intimate gig rather than a festival which was fantastic. He laughed and joked with the crowd and it made everyone feel very much involved with his performance which was amazing.

I have to admit, ShyFX playing at the Goldmine stage was unreal! The vibe at that stage was bouncing, and everyone was having the most amazing time! Visually it was fantastic, but the quality of the sound was also second to none, and it really made the stage feel alive. The queue just to get in was over an hour or two long which says it all really and security had to operate a ‘one in, one out’ policy which only added to the already electric atmosphere.

Neverworld 2019

Craig Davids TS5 set was incredible. Playing some absolute classics which got everyone dancing, reminiscing and busting out their best 00’s or even 90’s dance moves! He played his new stuff too of course, but the mix was lovely and was a real throwback moment!

A performer who took me by surprise and left me with a huge smile on my face was Lucy Spraggan. Her raw, buzzing, acoustic set was so much fun. She interacted with the crowd so well and created an inclusive atmosphere which made everyone feel like we were all her friends listening to her jamming in her living room which was lovely. Her voice was incredible and I will be sure to keep an eye out for her at other festivals in the future – she is one to watch!

Another highlight for me had to be Mistajam at The Beach Stage who was absolutely banging! He played some absolute club classics to current hip hop, pop and R&B, even slipping in some drum and bass which I have to admit is a guilty pleasure when I have had a few drinks. The crowd was actually bouncing and everyone was clearly loving life listening to his set!

The Vaccines were another big name which took to the Neverworld main stage and having seen them multiple times this summer, I knew what was coming. Never the less, they put on a great performance and got everyone on their feet and dancing!

Another artist I loved who gave a really chilled and candid performance was Brother Jonathan. He played on the Wendy House stage and it was the perfect backdrop for his performance. Natural, calm and mesmerising, his voice was amazing and left everyone eager to hear the next song!

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Photo by Brother Jonathan

Activities and Extras

It wasn’t just fantastic music on offer at Neverworld, there were loads of activities and extra things to sink your teeth into. From sock wresting to bushcraft courses, paint fights to poetry, kids singalongs to yoga, there was lots to get involved in if you wanted to try something a bit different or managed to tear yourself away from the action on the main stage.

I listened to some fantastic spoken word poetry at the Wendy House stage, and it was fab. It’s lovely to hear something so raw and candid amongst the highly polished performances on the main stage from the big acts. It created a very calm atmosphere and was lovely in the heat of the day to escape, listen to some poetry and sit under the trees.

On Saturday came the forever awaited paint party! Think colour, madness and mess and you have the paint party. The beach was bursting at the seams as more and more people came to join in with the fun, and it was totally bonkers but a lot of fun!

Dogs Are Welcome!

All dogs are allowed at Neverworld! What a novelty! It was lovely being able to take your four-legged friend to the festival, and actually, it was surprising how many people took up this opportunity and brought their dogs along. We took a dog with us and it was lovely. There were plenty of shady spots so that dogs didn’t have to stay out in the baking sun all day and there were lots of bins for poo baggies and water points to fill up water bowls in the arena.

I was worried I would have to walk around the arena like it was a minefield of dog poo but it wasn’t the case. People were really considerate and actually having dogs at the festival made for a really friendly atmosphere. Having dogs allowed was a great ice-breaker and talking point as a way to interact with new people!

I have to admit that when we went in to watch Shy FX and Craig David we took the dog back to the campervan and left her there as we were worried about it being a bit rowdy and loud. This turned out to be a good decision. We went back to check on her after their set and she was flat out asleep, clearly festival life was knackering for her as well as us… bless her.

She came to all the other music at the main stage and although we didn’t take her to the front in the heart of the action, as it was a smaller festival, even being slightly to the side of the stage or further back meant you were really close to the stage and felt part of the action without worrying about the dog being deafened or trodden on.

All in all, it worked really well and it was lovely having a dog there, I would definitely take a dog again!

Would I go again?

Absolutely!

It was a fantastic weekend, I really enjoyed everything Neverworld had to offer and I will certainly be going back! I would go as far to say it was one of the best small festivals I have ever been to, I loved it – see you next year Neverworld I can’t wait to see what 2020 as in-store!

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TFB

Although all thoughts and opinions are my own, this was an affiliated post with Neverworld Festival and Outpost Media who provided me with Press accreditation for the festival. Thank you to Neverworld Festival and Outpost Media for their support!

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