This year was the first year that we attended Nibley Festival despite being locals. A festival that sells out every year and tickets like gold dust, the return of Nibley after the lockdowns and restrictions was very close to selling out this year with just a handful of tickets left. They may have even gone by the time the festival took place.
Easy to get to, Nibley is in the hart of the cotswolds at North Nibley and set upon an absolutely breathtaking view.
Everything seemed to run smoothly, a very well run car park, the festival is a generous size but not so big that it takes you a long time to get from parking to the main festival which makes a nice change.
All the stewards were incredibly helpful and friendly with no power tripping staff yelling at you for absolutely no reason.
Nibley Festival is where you go to have a entertaining weekend of a variety of activities as well as truly enjoying the music – whether that be being up at the front, dancing at the sides or sitting down with family and friends simply soaking it all in. It is such a free feeling festival that even kids were safe runnning around all over the place and you could happily leave your camp chairs to get food without the worry of having them taken. I would never advise leaving bags unattended anywhere but sure they would have been fine.
There is something for everyone at Nibley, you would never get bored. There are things to do and see from early in the morning (such as yoga and more) to late at night which is great for campers. Music of all genres (and always a headliner and other acts that the majority of people know), workshops for kids and adults, stalls, food vendors, climbing wall and ferris wheel – you easily get your money’s worth. Let’s face it, £85 for a weekend festival ticket (with Friday and Saturday camping included and local buses) is a rarity and child tickets range from £35-£65 from ages 4-17 so you won’t be breaking the bank too much like you would at other festivals. It is of course down to personal preference though and budget but in terms of what some places charge, this is a very reasonable price. You can also bring a live in vehicle which is £75 for the pitch.
Having a walk around, we saw many families with kids of all ages enjoying themselves and a fair amount of teenagers who had clearly gone with just their friends. On that note, we felt Nibley was actually the perfect place for teenagers to experience their first festival sans parents and the atmosphere, as we have said many times, felt very safe and friendly and not full of people drinking too much or having a brawl of any kind. The people who were drinking were simply merry and added to a wonderful environment.
The atmosphere just felt safe. Fun and energetic yes but wonderfully safe, so if you are unsure of a festival to take the kids to for the first time then Nibley would be a safe bet.
Divided into two fields (from what we could see) the main stages were at the field farthest with many stalls and food outlets and kids activities, a ferris wheel, climbing wall and even the Batmobil and the Ghostbusters car.
The smaller field played host to an acoustic stage, bandstand, a bar and some kids activities and more, all surrounded by an orchard of apple trees which made the setting feel very cotswoldy/farm like.
It is hardly surprising that Nibley Festival has so many loyal customers whom go every year and some in big groups. It feels very much like a local community festival but at the same time if you weren’t local, you felt very welcomed.
What is great about the music here is that it isn’t essential to get to the stage early to get a good spot. Forget about waiting all day in one spot to get the best view in preparation for when the headliner is on. We could walk up to the barrier just as acts were appearing on stage and even moments up to when headliner Feeder were starting.
That being said, there are DJ sets with a high calibre of DJ’s that do seem to get more crowded with people dancing away but that is also not necessary to be at the front as the music is so loud you can enjoy it and dance anywhere. We saw a set coming from a converted ice cream truck which looked awesome and very busy with a great vibe.
If you see bands you really enjoy on the line up then come to Nibley to see them for an intimate setting that you don’t usually get at a festival. At times it almost felt as if acts didn’t have an audience but then it became apparent that it was just the Nibley way, chilled out, happy vibe and going with the flow.
Tom. A. Smith who is a rising star and just last week supported Elton John at British Summertime Hyde Park on the Birdcage Stage walked on to the Renishaw Stage at Nibley to a handful of people but his audience grew as soon as he began to play and thank goodness too as he deserved it. But even then there was so much space between you and the next person that you could enjoy the performance without being squished and this was our experience with every act we saw.
I feel seeing Tom A Smith in a small setting is soon to be a rarity.
We honestly wish we could have stayed longer but we could only pop by for a day and heavy rains with a toddler reduced our time even more.
We are sure we will return next year though and we will bring the kids. What a joy to have this hidden gem of a festival on our doorstep. It’s worth the trip if you aren’t local too.