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Deer Shed Festival 2023

Based in Topcliffe North Yorkshire, Deer Shed Festival is an excellent family-friendly festival that leaves attendees of all ages with unforgettable memories. Set against a picturesque backdrop the festival celebrates music, arts, and nature. With an impressive lineup of renowned and emerging artists, attendees can expect a diverse range of genres that cater to all tastes. In addition to the exceptional musical performances, Deer Shed Festival offers a wide array of activities and workshops for all ages, including arts and crafts, storytelling, sports, and nature walks. With a focus on sustainability and community, this festival is not just about entertainment but also aims to educate and inspire attendees to create a greener future.

My Deer Shed festival experience was split into three different days, so I could grasp a feel on who the festival suits best. Attending day one with another adult, day two with my two children, and day three on my own.

On arrival I expecting it to be similar to any other festival with some form of traffic delay, this was not the case. Arrival was quick and easy, and within minutes of arriving we were parked up and heading to the entrance. Entry to the arena from the car park, is no more than a 10 minute walk from its furtherest point, making it easy for families to cart tents and children to campsite.

Whilst I approached the festival arena, it became very apparent, Deer Shed is truly a family festival. On entry you pass tree's filled with children climbing up high, the main stage stands proud to the left at the bottom of a large hill, leaving a suitable viewing area for all. Spread across the hill sits camping chairs (with plenty of space for more). Many parents can set up a nice base to sit and chill whilst letting their children go and explore the site, and that they can at ease. The festival does not suffer from over crowding or queuing passages as you try to get from one side to another, which makes for a great playground for older children who want to feel that extra state of independence.

The site is well set out, delivering a row of food stands and shops, with something for all. From vintage clothing, bucket hats, to children toys.

As for activities to keep you busy over the three days, you can enjoy the likes of kayaking, disc golf, quidditch, swing ball, nerf gun arena, skateboarding, lazer maze, VR, retro gaming, circus masterclass, yoga, fairytale story time, feral farm, mosh top disco, wild swimming, and this is to just name a handful of them. Deer Shed truly packs in enough to keep kids entertained, and that's before the music, bingo, comedy, wrestling, plus much more.

As family festivals goes, I feel Deer Shed has developed it's vision well over the years, and clearly delivers one of the finest in the UK. It isn't filled with fair ground rides, as many who claim to be family festivals do so. And as enjoyable those festivals are, the fairgrounds do often add a significant additional cost. Deer Shed delivers many simple experiences, which bring just as much joy to parent and child at no extra cost. That's not to say there isn't additional cost to attending, as the like of kayaking came at an extra cost of £9.00 for 30 minutes, which was money well spent for me. My son took to the water on one for the first time, and to quote him "I've had the best time of my life" £9.00 to keep him fulfilled and quiet for 30 minutes felt like a bargain, especially when I compared to previous experiences. At Carfest North, I burned through three times as much money in what felt like half the time when he charged on and off funfair rides.

As music goes Deer Shed offers a great variety throughout the day. If you're there to mostly embrace the music, this can easily be done by walking between The Main Stage and The Dock Stage, as between these there's little gap between acts. It was clear that some of the scheduling could've been changed, as where some acts struggled to gain a crowd on the Main Stage, The Dock Stage bursted at the seems with one out one in entrance in place for the likes of Dream Wife, and The Mary Wallopers. Not that the organisers would've known this, but these two were stand out highlights from the weekender, and it would've been nice if all who wanted to, could've catched them. The downside for any playing artist, especially throughout the day, is most families with smaller children will be in another part of the festival grounds. Where this makes the front of stage light at times, it's a great chance for those without kids, or with older children, to hog the rail to see some of their favourite acts up close. An experience which is often a struggle at most festivals. Also on site, Crash records have a stall, which holds free meet and greet sessions for some of the playing bands, with more often than not it being the headliners. This gives you a great opportunity to get up close, and get something signed, at no charge.

In conclusion, if you're family, and you want to attend an amazing festival, which in many ways removes children from electronics, and where it offers it to them it's on a technical level, Deer Shed is an absolute must visit. By my reckoning, it's the best of it's type in the UK.

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