Review: Timber Festival 2018

Review: Timber Festival 2018

When we were invited along to experience the first ever Timber Festival I was initially excited, until the reality hit me. It sounded like an amazing weekend, packed full of outdoor family fun, good music and food. Right up our street! However, by that point I would be 36 weeks pregnant and I started to doubt my staying power. A family festival weekend would be amazing, but I felt it would be a little too much. Not wanting to miss out (the programme sounded awesome!) I cheekily asked if we could just go along for one day to experience this brand new, and quite unique, event.

So, we headed up the M1 last Saturday morning, eager to see if Timber Festival would be as good as it promised to be. It was taking place in the National Forest in Derbyshire and so was only about 1hr 20 minutes drive for us. I was glad we had decided not to camp, as fun as it would have undoubtedly been, it was very hot and I struggled to keep my grumpiness completely in check.

The festival was a celebration of all things woodland, featuring a packed programme of art installations, workshops, music, discussion and performances designed to stimulate all of your senses. Being a new addition to the summer festival calendar, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

It turned out to be a brilliant day out.

We were immediately struck by how laid back and friendly the whole site was. We pulled straight in the car park, no queues, no hassle and were able to park fairly close to the entrance. After getting our wristbands we headed into the festival site and spent a few minutes getting our bearings. I had a festival programme and map, but until we got there I had no idea how big-or small-Timber Festival would actually be. I was glad that it was quite compact, meaning we could easily cover all the areas, even with a three year old in tow. There were a few hills, which were a struggle for me in the heat, but under normal circumstances it wouldn’t pose a problem at all.

The first area we came to was The Common.

We headed first to The Common. Here there was a selection of workshops to get stuck into, including willow weaving, woodworking and outdoor survival skills, plus a variety of performances to experience. To one side of The Common, there was Field Notes, a central area with food and drink stands plus a marquee where many of the main events took place. We ended up spending a bit of time here as we enjoyed various refreshments throughout the day. I liked the fact that there was drinking water available for free at a few points around the site, it was very much appreciated and meant we didn’t have to carry around lots of water, or pay for refills. I wish more events would do this.

There’s only one thing for it on a hot day: ice cream!

Seeing as it was so hot, our favourite area was The Canopy which was in the shade of the trees. Before we arrived I had already singled out Museum of the Moon as a must see exhibit.

Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon was a real highlight of Timber Festival

This incredible installation, measuring an impressive seven metres in diameter and featuring NASA imagery of the moon’s surface and surround sound captivated us all. I’m just sorry that we didn’t stay long enough to see it properly lit up.

Finn loved ‘Museum of the Moon’ and dragged me back for another look later in the day

The Canopy was also home to The Eyrie Stage, campfire stories (another hit with Finn) and an area where children could be let loose with hammer and chisels to create a woodland playground.

The whole ambiance of Timber Festival was so chilled and intimate. It really was like no other festival.

After cooling down in the cool shade of the trees, we headed back up the hill to see the main stage and the other side of the site.

Although a relatively small festival, Finn needed a helping hand to get around in the heat

The main stage featured a variety of acts throughout the day, and provided a great space to sit down and relax with a cool drink.

The Nightingale Stage was the main music area

Another hit with us was The Coppice. Another chilled out area, featuring some interactive activities, including hula hooping, the coppice maze and stone balancing, which we got involved with.

It was great to see Finn getting stuck into the activities on offer.

Finn was a trooper (as always) and gladly got involved. I would say that Timber Festival is not necessarily aimed at preschool children, however there was plenty that he enjoyed. He did get a bit hot and tired though, and just as it looked like we were on the precipice of a tantrum, he noticed the stones and off he went.

The stone balancing kept Finn occupied for a good while!

Overall, we all had an enjoyable day. We managed to see most of Timber Festival, even though we were taking it easy and not rushing. I did wonder if there was enough there to keep us occupied for a whole weekend, however seeing photos and social media etc, I see that there was plenty happening later and after dark to keep everyone’s attention.

We were impressed with how much was going on, considering it was the first year, and we would definitely like to return next year-hopefully for the whole weekend!

Were you at Timber Festival? What did you think?

We were gifted free day tickets in exchange for this post. All views are my own. 



  • MaryMayf MaryMayf July 11, at 08:47

    We absolutely loved it. Definitely something for all ages and far more than we could fit into the weekend


Post Reply