Yet another amazing Faversham Hop Festival is over in Kent, and what a success it was!
From our drunken memories of last year’s festival, we think this year lived up to expectations and was lively as ever. Faversham is a beautiful town equidistant between our base camp in Sittingbourne and Canterbury city centre, yet is agreed by many as a quiet town. Once a year, this beautiful quaint town centre is transformed into the bustling unique Kentish festival.
With 60 live bands performing at the festival, the live music is a strong selling point for the event (besides the enormous amounts of beer!) There were so many pubs and outdoor stages, we really struggled to see the whole festival in one day. Saturday was, however, our chosen day and it certainly did not disappoint. The weather was mainly warm and sunny with a few clouds and a slight chill after the beautiful sunset, so that was the first positive memory that the visitors this year can take away with them. After all, we Brits love a little moan at the weather, but the festival weekend gave us very little chance to do so! This lovely weather was a starting point for everyone’s high spirits, as everyone we interacted with was kind and friendly and happy to be attending one of Kent’s most prestigious annual festivals.
Every pub, pavement and parking space in sight was full to the brim, particularly our first pub we visited which was The Vaults. After buying myself a delicious Salted Caramel Cider we made our way into the busy garden. Drinks and laughter were flowing, although it was hard to ignore the first of many sets of live music we would encounter that day in the background. There were a few tents set up in the garden selling food, beer and Pimms galore. The reasonably-priced Pimms was a nice refreshing treat for those non-ale drinkers, and judging from the amount of empty fruit-filled cups around, seemed to be extremely popular. Overall, I felt that The Vaults hosted a pleasant Hop Fest experience, but it was onwards and upwards to the next part of the festival. We found ourselves stumbling upon stage after stage and a small fairground before realising we were starving.
The food wasn’t the most memorable part of the festival by any means; and as all the decent food tents had queues for miles we could tell it would be a bit of a struggle before getting some grub down us. In the end, we settled for a greasy burger and hot dog and decided if we get hungry again we’ll just have to drink through it in true Hop Festival style. Our quest for lunch lead us to by far the busiest area of the festival which was another stage next to a Shepherd Neame tent. After squeezing past crowds and apologising to everyone who was accidently elbowed by us, we finally made it to the queue for the bar. It was a decent bar in terms of sourcing the finest local beers, although in my opinion there wasn’t much choice and it was quite pricey. This seemed to be reoccurring for a lot of the outdoor bars, but in terms of choice I can accept that for the volume of people you need to cater for, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple.
The evening was rolling on and we were looking forward to heading towards the BinElla stage, as everybody had been saying this was the place to be towards the end. This was a great end to the day as the atmosphere was immense in this venue. We saw a variety of acts including ‘Flawless Carbon’ and ‘Jam Sandwich’ as well as other talented up-and-coming bands. The venue was very busy and the only disappointments were long queues to get in and not much in terms of quality outdoor bars. The alcohol we did buy in the venue wasn’t great, but you aren’t allowed re-entry if you want to leave for a drink and have to join the back of the queue. This was a let-down, so for future reference make sure you get there well before the act you want to see and have a supply of money/decent alcohol in case. But the buzzing vibes of the crowd made up for every flaw.
If you didn’t manage to attend this year I would highly recommend you drop by Faversham’s busiest weekend next year and make sure you buy a traditional hop headband and try all the famous local ales and beers Kent does so well. A weekend not to be missed by the locals. Can’t wait for next year!