First impressions do count and when you walk over the hill and down the dip to see the inaugural Forgotten Fields festival laid out before you it all looks very promising. The site is inviting and has an old time travelling circus feel to it as you enter. Acrobats, jugglers, yoga tents and a mad children’s unicycle area help to add to the hippy carefree atmosphere.
A lot of festivals claim a country atmosphere but this small capacity event really is in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty. Eridge Park is part of the beautiful Ashdown Forest and has more areas of dappled shade than you can shake a stick at.
This really is a family fair festival and middle England has turned up in its camper van. A lot of people that we spoke to were very excited that it was a festival for “them” and “right on the door step”. It is true that this area of the Kent, Surrey, East Sussex borders has not really had anything that can rival, even on a mini scale, the Womad or Camp Bestival soul and the camping aspect was obviously a big, if underestimated by the organisers, draw.
The line-up is well worth it too, with Basement Jaxx, Super Furry Animals and De La Soul the bands that appealed to most. The main stage field always well attended was a bit awkward to get down to and the oddly positioned tobacco stall, food stalls and bar made the entrance to the arena seem cluttered and not in keeping with he spirit of the place.
To improve even more we would like to see more space between the stages so that when you want to sit to chill, you can, without actually hearing all the music on all the stages at the same time and few more wooden tables to eat at.
Our favourite moments were Remi Miles and Hannah Lou Clarke on the Horizons stage, both outstanding but up against two more highlights in the shape of Augustines and De La Soul on the main stage on Sunday.
The Horrors delivered the set of Saturday night and we were lucky to hear about and see actor Paddy Considine’s band Riding The Low at the Tim Peaks, House Party tent.
British Sea Power also put on a good set and their fans rally getting into the spirit of the oak by bringing their own branches with them.
This good little festival appealed to all ages and not groups of teenagers who were very noticeable by their absence… this probably also contributed to the clean and tidy appearance of the place. The groups of litter pickers were very impressive as they swept through the the site in formation and a shout out to Tincan Coffee Co who served great coffee and triple chocolate brownies..
As one Forgotten Fields dad told us “Its not just about the music, it’s the fact that it’s local, it’s on our doorstep and it feels like it is meant for us, in this area and about time too!”
More pictures here on the slideshow