For our first venture with our full venue tent, fresh with new equipment and decor for summer 2015, we headed across the Severn suspension bridge from Bristol towards the valleys of Wales and the Forest Of Dean for none other than BALTER FESTIVAL. An event with strong links to the free party scene, that promotes and prides itself as being ‘a weekend of total and utter debauchery’…this was going to be interesting! Set-up went well and we were greeted with some sunshine as a rather intensely up for it crowd began to arrive and fill the site with excitement for the fun times ahead
Menu boards went up and the food preparation started, a couple of us went for a little scout around the festival which seemed jam-packed with soundsystems, stages and fun things to do. We got the café looking the cosiest and most inviting it ever had thanks to a lot of our new décor (the wonderful warm white and blue ropelighting). Our first customer was let’s say not at his most coherent as we tried our best for him to enjoy the coffee he ordered ?
A new addition to the venue for this year and the future ahead was our lovely stage area, used for raised seating in the daytime but also doubling as a performance area for impromptu acoustic jams! We had a great late night session going on the festival’s crazy Friday night as klezmer swingers Tantz headed over from the live stage to do a secret acoustic set at Once In A Blue Moon Cafe. With the rave sound-systems off and hundreds of people in the field looking for something to do, it was a pleasure to provide a good vibes space late into the night and we were jam-packed until sunrise.
Both mornings were very busy for us – the Balter crowd loved their coffee! Queues formed for our drinks and food and we also got our Meal Of The Days underway, an Spicy Veggie Chili for Saturday and Spicy Ethiopian Daal Curry for Sunday – both went down a treat. Festival day times were also a great chance to check out the Balter vibes, there was the ‘Doppler’ moving bike soundsystem banging out the tunes – and lots of general revelry from a crowd that deserves a hats off for dedication to ‘avin it’! Spaghetti fighting in a paddling pool, mental breakcore banging out from breakfast onwards and a lot of Buckfast…debauchery indeed.
There was a heartfelt touch at the end for us as two young guys approached us and mentioned their appreciation for providing the chill out space for them all weekend, leaving us with a rather interesting smokable gift. Also a shout out to the hungry staff who devoured the leftover Ethiopian Curry in a matter of seconds (see below) when offered it for free on the Monday morning – guess they weren’t eating much over the weekend! Respect to all the organisers and amazing crowd that made Balter an extremely fun event that doesn’t take itself too seriously and benefits as a result of that – we’d love to come back!