The Great British summer has finally arrived. The beers gardens are packed, tube journeys start to feel like a pre heated oven and a general sunshine induced euphoria takes over. More importantly we are right at the height of the music festival season. When it comes to festivals we are spoiled with the number of world-class options we have to choose from. We have the renowned Glastonbury with its contemporary music and the European offerings such as Tomorrowland with its wonderful electronic sounds, which coincidentally is hosted by a town called Boom.
A few weekends ago I was invited to a music festival on a farm on the outskirts of London out in the middle of nowhere (aka East Sussex). Organised by festival favs Well-Seasoned. Grubbfest to my surprise was not one of those foodie fairs that pop up all over the place. The reasoning behind the name stemmed from the lovely hosts, the Grubb Family, who agreed to have a crowd of 500+ party-goers on their pristine farm.
Who are Well Seasoned you may be thinking? In 2014, three friends formed private events company, Well Seasoned with the not uncommon goal of getting their mates and favourite tunes in one room, all night. This resulted in a down-to-earth vibe that didn’t take itself too seriously, with a strictly user-friendly music policy oriented around FUN. They’ve created four themed, fully immersive parties — one for each of England’s ever changing seasons — 3 in unique locations around London and 1 summer festival in the country, Grubbfest being the latter.
What made this event different and special was the party was 100% friends and friends of friends only. This meant that everyone had a link to someone in one way or another, making conversation starters easier within the 6th degree of separation. In addition the event was BYOB (Bring Your own Booze) making it cheaper and adding the luxury of freedom to bring whatever. There was a bar on hand, where talented mixologists turned our booze into lavish cocktails or provide liquor for those who forgot a bottle at normal prices with no mark ups- now that’s a festival first for me.
The theme ‘Under the Sea’ gave the festival a unique edge. For those who know me well, I only do fancy dress on Halloween however I was compelled to get immersed on the journey through the oceans on offer. Sure enough, I was pleased I did dress up, though probably the most budget homemade outfit ever made but I gave myself a pat on the back for the effort I put in.
The festival officially started at 1pm on the Saturday and ended at 6am the following morning, with camping available on site or partying through the night to the next morning. I arrived there at around 5pm with my cousin and my mate, fashionably late and I felt as though I was scuba diving in tropical waters. In the sea of people I noticed red Lobsters drinking pints of beer, mermaids sipping cocktails and two mythical Greek sea gods, King Triton carrying tridents (yes that’s Ariel’s dad from Little Mermaid, we’ve all watched it). Nevertheless, all this further reassured me that actually my outfit wasn’t too bad (it was horrible).
As for the music, there were multiple stages, live bands, headline DJs and a whole host of talented DJ friends. Due to my 5pm arrival the shoal of fish and others had moved from ‘The Reef’ section, a chilled area underneath three large trees where live music was played from resident Jazz legends The Luups. When I arrived the crustaceans, mermaids, sharks and all the above that I saw were all in the sun after a slow roast beneath the branches and were now in full disco and funk mode. Some fish were chilling on hay stacks others were dancing underneath a large marquee with fish floating from the ceiling. My mood was set and after meeting up with mates I was loving the afternoon and knew this was going to be a great night.
To my pleasant surprise at sundown we were moved to a section which was previously roped off and to everyone’s curiosity we were led to ‘Blistering BARNacles’, the main stage, where the mighty Greg Wilson, his live band and some insane production from partners Bassline Productions took the night away. The stage was memorable with an LED lit metal piranha housing the DJ booth in its open mouth. For revelers who made it to the early hours of the morning there was one more stage further down the field past a few hay stacks beyond ‘Blistering BARNacles’. In the last stretch organiser Ollie White played some deep house and techno right through the sunrise.
Overall, the whole experience was unforgettable. The nature of the themed fancy dress ensured everyone was involved, the ‘connect the dots’ game of working out how I knew someone and lastly the music from DJ’s who were killing it on the decks meant I will definitely be attending the festival again next year, on the assumption I am invited again ;)