Stendhal Festival

While on Twitter one night I was lucky to see a tweet from Test Drive The Arts NI offering a family ticket to Stendhal festival.  Without knowing much about it I signed up and was over the moon to get a free weekend family ticket.

I spent the next few weeks finding out about the festival and keeping up to date on twitter with the details.  We found out our free tickets also included camping and even though Stendhal was just a week after Sunflowerfest we decided to do both.

unfortunately a couple of nights before the festival the weather changed and we had heavy rain and flooding and we made the decision not to camp and just to attend all day on the Saturday.  We packed MrR’s car with blankets for the way home and brought raincoats and set off early.

After getting lost a couple of times (no signs were in evidence anywhere on the way) we finally made it and were pleasantly surprised how easy and stress free the parking was.  We took the wrong turning for the way in (again not sign posted) and then got redirected back to the main reception.

We showed our tickets and got our bands, the kids had different coloured bands but no numbers written on etc as per Sunflowerfest (so we made do and used a biro to write our mobile numbers on their arms) in case they got lost.

On arriving up to the field we again took the wrong turn but managed to get back on track quickly.  The camping looked fine and I regretted not bringing the tent.  The main field was very open and we couldn’t figure out what was happening until we realised there were steps down to Karma Valley.

Down the steps there were a few different stages, an art exhibition, a bar and the children’s area amongst other things.  There was also a secret woodland walk.  We stayed around for a few hours but ended up leaving mid afternoon, I think if we had brought the tent we would have enjoyed it more as we could have come and go as and when we wanted.


What we liked

  • the stress free parking
  • the Astroturf paths
  • the large children’s games
  • the fantastic secret woodland complete with tree swing and trees covered with knitting
  • the covered tents
  • places to sit
  • a stall that sold wine/cider and cheese!
  • the air stage
  • we loved the harps
  • the programme on a lanyard(wool) meant always close at hand
  • the amount of work that had been done in advance to set up the woodland area and the secret walk


what we didn’t enjoy

  • the fact it was spread out a lot so not a lot of atmosphere although to be fair this would come in the evenings
  • a lot of the children’s activities required paying extra
  • the lack of signage
  • my children loved the fun fair but we didn’t as we found it too commercial
  • that we didn’t camp




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