Good Times All Round
Hole & Corner's Nick Watts shares his highlights from this year's The Good Life Experience...
Heading to any festival in mid September is something of a weather lottery, particularly when it’s in North Wales, so as the Hole & Corner team set off to the Good Life Experience in Flintshire it was with fingers crossed and wellies packed. We needn’t have worried – the only thing sunnier than the weather was the disposition of the crowd at this little gem of a festival.
The Good Life Experience is the brainchild of Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie and Caroline Gladstone from Pedlars. Their goal was to create a non-commercial, family (and dog!) friendly festival that celebrates the good things about life. We reckon they have succeeded beyond all measure.
Amongst our musical highlights were Stealing Sheep and Aldous Harding at the Caught by the River tent, plus the legendary DJ Gilles Peterson rounding off Saturday night on the main stage. There were plenty of other delights to be found all over the festival too - Gunville Flats in particular got the tone just right with their country set in the Black Cow Saloon.
But the real charm of the weekend was more than just musical – from food and literature to axe throwing and raku pottery, there was always another surprise just round the corner. Hole & Corner were joined on Makers Row by potter Tim Hurn who gave festival-goers a series of masterclass demonstrations on the wheel (watch him at work here) whilst elsewhere Hole & Corner collaborators Golden Bear Belts and blacksmith Alex Pole were busy putting making at the heart of the festival.
We met old friends like Jim Parkyn from Aardman Studios busily making plasticine models of pets and made new friends like Rob from Deus Ex Machina, who was there to display some of his company's stunning custom built motor bikes.
On the food and drink side, we drank Valentine Warner's delicious Hepple Gin cocktails whilst consuming demonstrations on de-boning and spit roasting a pig and pit baking a whole lamb, to name but a few.
As the sun shone down all this added up to a weekend that felt less like a festival and more like the best village fete in the world. And of course no village fete would be complete without a dog show, so when Hole & Corner’s very own whippet Moomin received the loveliest lady prize from Cerys our weekend was complete. We may well have found the perfect place to round out the summer…
Photographer Christian Banfield is a filmmaker and photographer whose passions are creating imagery in all its forms, food, travel and community.
His first time at the Good Life Experience has inspired the idea to return next year with a bespoke portrait studio for dogs and their owners.