Since its inception in 2005, the story of Standon Calling festival has been somewhat of an adventure.
Founder Alex Trenchard described the event’s history for the Hotel Bell Tent blog, explaining how it grew out of a simple birthday barbeque, saying: “[In our second year] we built our own stage out of wood and invited the very first bands. That first stage blew over while the headline act was playing. Thankfully we've learnt a lot since those days, which is why in 2016 we've been able to book the likes of Suede, Jess Glynne, Kelis, The Hives and Everything Everything.”
The festival is now practically legendary for its party status and its setting in the picturesque Hertfordshire countryside. Nestled in the Rib Valley, its location is genuinely breath taking and partygoers can bask in beautiful greenery without having to drop off the end of the earth – revellers travelling from London and Cambridgeshire can actually be there in less than an hour!
Standon Calling holds a unique position in the festival calendar as it expertly balances the needs of those looking for a laidback but lively party, as well as families in search of something fresh and exciting. This year, some of the amazing children’s activities on offer include campfire story telling, trapeze lessons, costume parades and readings from famous children’s authors Alice Hemming and Tamsyn Murray, while a beguiling line up of electronic acts including Detroit House master Theo Parrish and world-famous Metalheadz head-honcho Goldie will appeal to the grownups. “It really is a festival for everyone,” says Alex. “We want families to have an amazing time in the day, and by night we can't wait to see everyone partying until 5am in The Cowshed nightclub. Our annual dog show on Sunday is pretty unique and eccentric too. Not to be missed!”
Music is always the centre of the show, with the festival organisers passionate about booking cutting edge acts and giving emerging talent a platform to shine. Some of the UK’s most successful stars including Florence and the Machine, Bastille and London Grammar made their debut there. Describing his musical highlight of last year, Alex says: “Basement Jaxx closing the main stage on Sunday was so exciting. So colourful and so memorable. A fabulous performance from them and a Standon Calling audience so ready to party – as always! This year I'm really excited about The Hives, Suede and Blossoms.”
Standon Calling is truly a feast for the eyes. With the festival built around a different story each year, the set design and theatrical element makes for an other-worldly space. “For 2016, we're telling the tale of the Legend of the Lost Seas. Expect truly impressive set design, immersive theatre elements, as well as an entirely unique Saturday night spectacle. Prepare to immerse yourself in the post apocalyptic pirate town that we will build. And don't forget to plan your costume for Saturday.”
For those of you hoping for some insider knowledge, when asked what tips Alex can give to make sure our guests get the very best out of their event, he told us: “Be curious. Try and seek out all the experiences Standon Calling Festival has to offer and talk to people. I like to think that Standon Calling is the friendliest festival there is.”