Why We Love Little Orchard Cider & Music Fest
Muddy reviews this family-friendly, indie festival near Pencarrow and here's why I think you should go this year.
Ok, this review is super-quick, because you have approximately three hours to pack the car up, grab the kids (or dump them on granny) and get yourselves to Pencarrow to enjoy the weekend at the Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival. Here’s are my highlights of last night, and five reasons why I think this is a festy worth your time:
If you do bring the ankle biters with you, thumbs up – this is one of the cleanest festivals I’ve ever taken the kids to – look no mud! which is a big plus in my book. The mudlets spent many a year barefoot and true to name dancing around a firepit (which I’m so over!). This is a site with proper pathways and no boggy ground. Tractor rides, pig racing, a funny photobooth (matches my nails btw) craft stalls and a mini fairground to keep them occupied.
Cornwall loving south west indies Reef are closing tonight which I’m really looking forward to (massive crush on Gary Stringer back in the day, still a hotty even with the Rick Grimes beard!) playing classics and new tracks.
Four tents of talent and an absolutely cracking line up: new under the radar Cornish talent (seriously, check out Ezmay Grace who played on the BBC introducing stage last night)
and some big name headliners on the main stage: Kernow King, Sound of the Sirens, Martin Harley, Belfast Busker and Mad Dog Mcrea.
After seeing them in the main tent early on last night, Mr MC now has a mancrush on folk-celtic punk rockers Black Friday – different strokes for different folks n all that. In the dance tent there’s a silent disco – hilarious to watch, but a laugh to join in too.
Fabulous food (and of course cider!) stalls
Everything from tandori chicken, pie and chips, thai curries, crepes there’s something for the fussiest in your crew. Session ciders and a huge list of more complex for you to try. Even though we’d booked on to the secret cider walk (more on that below), Mr MC insisted on filling his boots at most stalls before hand (apparently in the name of research). No dedicated prossecco tent (boo), but its not all bad news, fizz is available in the Kernow Springs eco spa retreat (yay).
Got to be honest, I’m mostly a dedicated festival lover from the comfort of my own home these days. Lame I know but the toilet facilities at the Muddy HQ campsite are usually way better. However, there’s heaps of luxe add ons at Little Orchard, that have totally changed my mind and I really wish we had stayed. There’s a choice of super stylish tents, tipis and Hobbit huts (how cute are these?) – heated, lockable and include a spacious bed, furniture and a power socket to charge your gadgets. If you equate festival accommodation with sleeping on a half deflated airbed in two inches of water (can’t believe I used to do that) – things have come a long way and you might want to rethink. Glamping is the new slumming it.
And here’s the prosecco bit I promised! A bit of glamorous rest and relaxation for you – a rustic sanctuary run entirely on wood power: wood fired hot tubs, a wood fired sauna yurt, hot showers and a cosy Bedouin chill-out lounge. So while your other half entertains the kids at the pig racing, you can chill out in total luxury quaffing the fizz with your BFFs. Look at these beautiful people enjoying a bath together…
Secret cider walk
Billed as a magical cider and food tasting experience in the woods, rain didn’t stop play last night but it diverted it towards a tent. Hosted by the fabulous Debbie from Wild Wine Club (she’s actually a sommelier), who has run the secret cider walk for a few years now.
The setting was traditional supper club stylee, sitting with others on straw bales and a make shift table made of more bales and maps. Uber rustic. Mr MC and I had a laugh with the ladies opposite (Cornish born but visiting), and as the cider lubricated the guests the conversation got louder (and a bit rowdy to be honest – but not these ladies, they were very classy!).
We enjoyed a five course cider tasting menu which was fantastic. I was so engrossed in the tasting (*sozzled*), I just realised I only took one pic of the food – sorry about that- this is second course Cornish mackerel pate, served with Lyoness Cider (with apricot brandy flavours).
My favourite was Old Rosie which was accompanied by some seriously strong Davidstow cheddar. We finished with Sammi Snail’s spiced apple cake and Healy’s brandy barrel matured cyder. No snails but the cake (and cider) were delish. There are spaces left for Sunday – looks like today is sold out, but worth checking when you get there.
This is a small, grass roots festival punching above its weight on the music front with some nice luxe touches that I think you guys will appreciate. Definitely more up Muddy street than impersonal biggies. Oh and the cider’s great too!
Now until Sunday nigh/ monday morning Little Orchard Cider and Music Festival, Penhallow TR4 9LW