The Good Life Experience
So tell us about the Good Life Experience.
The Good Life Experience is a joint project between us and Cerys Matthews. It’s about creating something new; a festival like no other. The focus is on culture, music, food and the great outdoors – all of the things that make life good. It's also about learning new skills, such as throwing an axe, making a spoon or cooking rabbit stew on a campfire. The first year was a massive success, so we are planning a bigger, longer event next year. We want to connect with like-minded people to make an event that feels like one huge, inspiring, beautiful, friendly, original, bonkers party.
What inspired the start of this festival?
We have been going to festivals, from Hay and Abergavenny to Glastonbury for years. Cerys has performed at loads of festivals, both literary and music. So we wondered if we could create an event that combines food, music, culture and the great outdoors and does so with total respect for its audience; no corporate sponsorship, no backstage, no VIP area. We wanted to create a festival that we’d want to go to ourselves. And it worked! People understood it immediately.
What were the highlights of this year's festival?
The axe throwing was a huge hit – it had queues all day. The vintage fairground ( from the 1930s) was a highlight for lots of the children. Cerys’ sing-along was amazing, as were the newish band The CC Smugglers. Getting Best Made Co from New York to host a tent was a coup. Hatchet + Bear’s classes were hugely popular, and Albam brought some machines from their factories to teach people how to sew totes. Mr Natty was on hand to cut hair! Ernest Journal’s patch was pretty good, too.
Any exciting plans for next year?
Yes! We’re having a Cuban tent with dance lessons, cocktails and cigars (we had a Cuban cigar expert this year and he sold 350 hand-rolled cigars). We'll also have tug of war contest, an obstacle course and a brilliant natural navigator will be attending – Tristan Gooley. Ben Fogle, who has been presenting adventure programmes for 10 years, is bringing a troupe of people who are keeping British skills alive. We have some amazing music in the pipeline and some great chefs, too. It seems as if everyone wants to perform next year, so we’re inundated with potential acts.
When does next year's festival take place?
18, 19, 20 September - get the dates in your diary, folks!