One of my favourite summer events where I live, is the Forest Concerts in Delamere Forest. I was lucky enough to grow up with the forest literally on my doorstep and since growing up, the introduction of the forest concerts each summer, brings a new way to enjoy the delights of the forest.
I have seen quite a few artists perform in the forest over the years, Paloma Faith, Blondie, Tom Odell and now, Simply Red. Every July, for one weekend, the forest plays host to three concerts, one on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, each with a different artist playing. Acts are usually announced around Christmas and tickets sell out not long after. It is a very popular event and to be honest, even if there isn’t anyone I really fancy watching, I would still go as it is always such a fun evening.
Luckily, we are able to walk to and from the concerts, so it means no one has be a designated driver and no long queues to get into and out of the venue! We usually arrive around half an hour to an hour before the gates open, so we can be early in to get a good spot but to be honest, with the location of the concerts being on a hill, with the stage at the bottom, it really doesn’t matter where you end up as the view will still be great.
We have a spot we head for though, about a quarter of the way up the centre patch of grass in front of the sound stage. It is close enough to the action to feel a part of it, but far enough up the hill to see over those who insist on standing as close to the stage as possible! We come armed with a picnic big enough to feed an entire army, with left overs, but that’s part of the fun. Plus, it makes for a great second feast when we return from the walk home, all a little bit worse for wear!
Everyone brings picnic rugs, folding chairs, tables, cutlery, plates, napkins, gin, wine, cider, you name it, someone will have brought it. When you look around the grassy area about 15 minutes after the gates open, the array of picnic paraphernalia is quite something. Some people go all out, I mean full on, fine dining al fresco full out!
We tuck into our picnic, chat away and drink some drinks, usually (and hopefully) soaking up some sunshine before the concert kicks off with the support act. I have to say, the last few support acts they have had have been really good. Groups or people I have never heard of before but that you actually find yourself listening to and enjoying, rather than it just being a filler in the background. Once the support act has finished, picnics start to be packed away and space made for people to stand ready for the main act. With our drinks topped up, we cheered loudly as Simply Red graced the stage. They preformed classic after classic, everyone was singing and dancing along and the atmosphere was just fantastic. There is always such a buzz at the concerts.
On this occasion, there was a bit of rain and it was a bit on the chilly side but everyone had layered up and come prepared with ponchos and water proof jackets and we battled on through the British summer weather. It really didn’t dampen our spirits at all as the atmosphere was electric, drinks were flowing and the entertainment was pretty much ‘on fleek’.
At the end of the night, we packed up our seats and picnic gear by the light of our torches and began the walk back home, surrounded by many drunk revellers all chatting away, some singing Simply Red Songs, others barely able to walk in a straight line, as we all walked through the forest to our respective destinations.
In true tradition, on arrival at home, out came the remainder of the picnic and it was devoured in no time at all by drunk, ravenous mouths! It is safe to say, we are all looking forward to the next forest concert!
Have you been to any forest or outdoor concerts? What did you think? Do you prefer an outdoor setting?