Poltimore Festival

Festival season is here again! And it seems this year more than ever, there is a festival for everyone. Kid or grown-up; music lover or bookworm; hippie or accountant, as long as you like the outdoors and don’t mind our typical British weather, you don’t have to travel far to find your perfect match.

I haven’t been to a festival for ages! The last one I considered was Latitude in Suffolk when I was 6 months pregnant, but I didn’t think I’d get as much out of it as the time before: 3 days of galavanting in fairy wings and glugging from a bottle of Martini Asti. (I would describe the festivals before then, but they weren’t quite so tame…) So yes – it was about time I set my foot back into muddy fields and live music.

When I heard Exeter had it’s own festival, described as it’s very own Glastonbury, I immediately booked in daycare with Daddy Rules – convincing my friend to do the same. One blissful day this weekend, we found ourselves giggling with freedom (or it might have been the cans of gin) on our way to Poltimore festival.

The event was located in the grounds and buildings of Poltimore House, a beautifully eerie Grade II listed building, on the outskirts of Exeter, which is gradually being brought back to life by the local community. The project aim is to create a “learning hub supporting studios and workshops for arts, traditional crafts and the creative industries, making use of technologies and practices that maximise environmental benefits” and I can see why.

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From the rainbow ribboned entrance to theatrical performances in the chapel (we saw “Just Charming“); to the art exhibition in the house (the golden vagina was most interesting); and spacemen performing in the garden (yes); Poltimore house is the perfect location for showcasing creativity.

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After choosing a gin & strawberry cocktail from the cocktail bar-come-campervan; we made our way round the grounds, discovering yoga in the woods and a little further on, poetry under a tree.

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A few cocktails down (shall we get a fishbowl?), a spread of glitter on our cheeks (“hi, I’d like to look like a unicorn please”) and we were well into the festival spirit, spreading down our Twister-printed picnic blanket to watch the bands, including the excellent Clara Bond, Ennor and Dakar Audio Club.

My favourite from the whole day was Exeter band Pattern Pusher, whose talent is dazzling and energy infectious – the front half of the crowd got up from their hay bales and were pulling shapes in no time (listen to them here). They were a splendid introduction to the early evening bands, Cornish (Plymouth-claimed) Haunt the Woods and Matthew and the Atlas, who finished with an intimate acoustic session amongst the audience.

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Poltimore was just my cup of gin. A festival crammed with arts in a beautiful country setting and just down the road, it’s just another reason of why I love living in Exeter. It was with reluctance that I removed the unicorn glitter from my face. Until next year…

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