Set in the stunning location of Pylewell Park near Lymington in the New Forest was RAWfest, a healthy, clean living, spa, retreat and festival. I took Kitty and Ozzy along on the Saturday to see what it would be like. This drug, alcohol and meat free festival was a first for me and to be honest although I eat vegetarian food a fair bit I wasn't sure quite what to expect.
The festival had a real blend of people in attendance and the vibe was incredibly chilled out, something I noticed rubbed off on Kitty (7) and Ozzy (6) too. There was bags of room on site which really helped provide a calm environment, this sense of space is something all the big big festivals this year have failed to offer. Space really helps if you are with your family, having time to just retreat and chill out does wonders for everyone (including the canine companions).
I managed to catch a couple of talks, one of which really interested me, that was a workshop on how to realize your values and the importance of living by them. I listened to how your values are not the same as your interests, how to reconnect with your values and how once you identify your values that you can set yourself goals. For example, if you have a job that looks awesome on paper but your hearts just not in, it might because it's not resonating with your values. All very interesting and thought provoking and it really inspired me to take time to think more about my core values.
Elsewhere on site there were a selection of vendors, in the above two photos you can see Kitty and Ozzy's items of choice to spend with their pocket money -items being sold by Birmingham Breathes in support of the Tiba Africa Foundation, made my project users in Kenya. This opened up some really nice dialogue between my children and I about the importance of helping those less fortunate than ourselves and questions about my time in Africa.
The food choices were varied and pretty much of what was on offer we hadn't tried before. Kitty and Ozzy were too skeptical to try much but did enjoy a coconut on hay bale in the sunshine before chilling out on the hammocks whilst I stood and listened in to a talk in a nearby tent.
There were lots of positives to the event for us: Lots of space, things to do for all the family, inspiring talks, ethically-sound vendors, large campsite area, close by free parking, a stunning location, friendly vibe, good compost loos and children enter free.
I look forward to seeing if RAWfest will return in 2016.