Shindig Weekender 2018: The Review

by Lydia Frimston
Shindig Review

What a fantastic start to the festival season.

This was my second time at Shindig and it certainly won’t be my last.

Well worth the £99 for an adult weekend ticket, Shindig is a relatively small but vibrant festival situated at Gilcombe Farm in rural Somerset.

Featuring a funk orientated line up, a wide variety of DJ sets, Reggae and comedy performances, there is something for everyone, even if Ghetto Funk isn’t your usual forte.

Despite the yellow weather warnings that plagued us on the way down, we had near enough perfect weather during the day and the few thunderstorms on Saturday night didn’t put us off. The atmosphere was friendly and the minimal queuing time upon arrival made for a relaxing setup.

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We started off with the Drag Disco to kick off the Friday evening at Father Funk’s Church of Love. This stage was one of my favourites last year and this year it did not disappoint. This year there was a bigger and better set design, with more dancing acts that interacted with the crowd.

One thing that really stands out about Shindig is the absence of a single main stage. The variety of similarly sized stages works well and has felt refreshing both years. Although a little more crowded than the previous year, no one place ever felt like it was uncomfortably busy.

The Saturday saw the likes of the legendary Jungle brothers performing at the Ghetto Funk Nightclub, a slightly larger tented stage that came in handy during the downpours during the evening. Chali 2Na and Krafty Kuts were fantastic and had the audience entranced.

The Dig Inn, another undercover stage, saw Soul2Soul perform at by far the busiest set that we attended (who absolutely smashed it).

There were quite a few acts I wanted to see that I missed simply because I got distracted wandering around watching all of the different shows.

The circus acts were just as impressive as last year and the tightrope show was not to be missed. The wellbeing garden was also a nice touch, with meditation and yoga classes available throughout the weekend.

The variety and quality of the food was very impressive. There is something for everyone, with a good vegetarian and vegan selection, Sri-Lankan cuisine, wood fire pizza, seafood and a hog roasts. The prices were reasonable and it was all of a high quality.

Shindig Weekender Hi-Wire Tightrope
Image credit: Lee Niel

There is a great little cocktail bar next to the Tuti Fruiti stage, although the majority of the bars could do with a few more staff on during the night as it took nearly half an hour to get served when it was at its busiest.

There was a decent number of toilets around the grounds that were kept in good shape for the majority of the festival. Shindig use eco-friendly compost toilets across the site, like found at Glastonbury, rather than the typical stuffy portaloos.

My only slight issue was that the toilets by the campsite didn’t seem to get emptied very often, particularly by Sunday. In fact, I didn’t see them getting emptied at all, and the ones by our tents were extremely full by Sunday night!

It goes without saying that gross toilets are just a part of the festival experience, but it’s definitely something to consider seeing as the next Shindig is set to open on the Thursday for all ticket holders next year.

Shindig organisers confirmed to TheFestivals that the toilets should have been cleaned, emptied, and restocked each morning followed by spot checks during the day, and commented that “We are sorry if you found a full toilet, we are sure this got rectified quickly.”

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All in all, a very minor issue in an outstanding festival with one of the best atmospheres that we’ve ever experienced.

It’s worth mentioning that we didn’t see a single bit of trouble the whole weekend, and we barely noticed that security was there at all. We will definitely be returning next year.

Hopefully, Shindig organisers will continue to handle it’s increasing size without losing what makes Shindig such a unique and magical experience.

Tickets for Shindig Weekender 2019 are already on sale from the official website. Adult early bird tickets are available for just £99. Teen tickets are just £50 and under 12’s go completely free.

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