Four Friends Search for The Good Life.
We’ve had boom and bust, mindless consumption and enforced austerity. And interesting things have come out of that austerity; a retreat to values and fashions that seem to encapsulate simpler times, the good old days. We’ve found ourselves yearning for the more honest and straightforward world enjoyed by our parents and grandparents. Superficially, this has meant that bicycles and baking, beards and tweed, vintage style and gardening are now more popular than ever; on a deeper level it has meant that millions of people are returning to craft as a source of solace and comfort, that more people than ever want to get outdoors, to discover and consume things that are made with passion by small business. And that people are trying to discover what makes them truly happy.
At its core this movement can best be defined, perhaps, as The Search for The Good Life; a life that’s fulfilled and considered, yes, but is also fun and values the things that matter…. family, friends, a real connection with The Great Outdoors, books, proper food and drink, discovery, music that comes from the soul, great books, craft. All the things that don’t cost a great deal but that make life richer, more rewarding and better fun.
It was an ongoing discussion about The Search for the Good Life that led four friends -broadcaster, musician and writer Cerys Matthews, record industry and arts consultant Steve Abbott and retailers, farmers and authors Charlie and Caroline Gladstone- to create a festival with a difference, The Good Life Experience. Launched in June 2014, the boutique festival was called The Good Life Experience. By September, the festival had sold all of it’s 2000 tickets and the event was received rapturously by its guests. The idea was simple, to create a festival unlike any other and curated entirely by the founders. If it fitted in with the founder’s idea of The Good Life, it would feature at the festival; great food, axe throwing, campfire cooking, mass sing-a-longs, comedy, beer served by experts, talks by explorers, raucous music, abseiling, a 1930s fairground, butchery displays, poetry, literature, endless How To… talks. And everything would be aimed at adults and children alike; there aren’t many festivals that truly do that.
This year's third edition of the festival will take place on the Gladstones’ Farm just inside North Wales between September 16th and 18th this year. Bill Granger, Thomasina Miers, Tom Herbert and Valentine Warner will all cook over a campfire; Cerys will lead some mass campfire sing-a-alongs, there will be excellent bands, poets John Cooper Clarke and Mike Garry, and speakers including Michael Morpurgo and Ben Fogle. Fast growing, zeitgeist-grabbing enthusiasts BeerBods will teach guests what real beer tastes like. Best Made Co, New York’s hottest outdoor brand will give demos and talks. There will be axe throwing, archery, tree climbing, leather-working, knot tying, bushcraft, proper barbers, great food and drink, dancing and loads more. Caught by the River, The Idler and The Dylan Thomas Mobile Bookshop will offer their wares alongside a whole host of brilliant brands in our new Market Place.
As in previous years, there will be no backstage area and no VIP tent; all of the performers will be there because they want to and are happy to meet the guests.
Take a look at our full line-up here, and we hope you'll join us in September.