Back to the 80s & 90s Festival
I’ve just returned from a weekend away at the ‘Back to the 80s & 90s Festival’. Held in Coalville in Leicestershire, the organisers have scaled up this festival that celebrates the music of my youth.
My girlfriends and I decided to have a girls’ weekend away at the festival – much to our husbands’/boyfriends’ pleasure. They decided a weekend without the ladies would involve go-karting and pizza. Fine by us, our weekend would involve glamping, glitter, hot tubs, retro music and the great outdoors.
After a very slow journey up the M1, we arrived at the Back to the 80s & 90s Festival mid-afternoon on the Friday. Handily the car park was quite close to the glamping field, so after a couple of trips of lugging our excessive haul of jumpers, wellies and snacks we were into our small but perfectly formed glamping tent.
We’d gone for the VIP glamping package at the Back to the 80s & 90s Festival which gave us a tent accessorised with flower garlands, battery-powered tealights, a handy storage table and an airbed each. Our festival passes were laid out with some biscuits and a face mask each, what a nice touch!
After unpacking the basics, we headed over to the main event arena to enjoy the first evening’s music. We got into the arena about 5pm and headed to the booths to buy some drinks tokens. Boy, were we glad we did this early! Only an hour later, the queues were very long and didn’t seem to move much. We set up our camping chairs to enjoy an evening singing and dancing along to the likes of Whigfield and Phats and Small. Of the Friday night acts, Phats and Small were the absolute highlight. Everyone was up singing and dancing along. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Whigfield. I expected to see thousands of people doing the Saturday Night dance, but either people weren’t feeling it, or they didn’t know it – there was only a few of us doing the actual dance.
After a cold night in the glamping village, I woke early. The organisers hadn’t coped very well with the number of people staying in the glamping village overnight and they had run out of hot water bottles, extra blankets and hot water. The team working did their absolute best to assist us cold souls but we didn’t get the best night’s sleep that night. A warm cooked breakfast (which was included in our package) followed by some good old British sunshine throughout the day, perked us up.
In the afternoon, we turned up for our hot tub experience which was a nice treat. Three hot tubs had been set up for the VIP glampers and included a session with a glass of bubbly.
After a quick shower and a costume change, it was time to apply face gems and head over to the main arena to take in the Saturday afternoon and evening acts. We were treated to the likes of S Club 7, 2Unlimited and my personal favourite of the day, The Venga Boys. I remember having their album in the late nineties and dancing to it incessantly. They were so energetic and really got the crowd going as, in true British festival tradition, it had now started raining and we were getting a right royal soaking. Never mind, ponchos on. Mine was in keeping with the theme – a PacMan ghost poncho.
After the acts concluded for the evening, we headed back to the glamping village, stopping at the concierge for a hot chocolate on the way back to our tent. We had been equipped with extra blankets and hot water bottles during the day, so stood a better chance of a good night’s sleep.
Day three started with the sound of rain, but we were warm and dry and had enjoyed quite a good sleep. No one was in a rush to go out of the tent so we waited for an hour or so, before heading over to get our breakfast. After a quick wipe down of the picnic benches, we were able to enjoy our breakfast under grey, but dry skies.
After getting dressed up, hair being re-plaited and glitter re-applied, we headed over to the main event tent for the final day of musical acts. It was a grey overcast day, where the showers sprinkled on us intermittently during the day. We were treated to a beautiful rainbow when the sun did finally shine.
But the best part was to come. The line up on the Sunday was my absolute highlight, with Chesney Hawkes of ‘I am the One and Only’ fame doing the final set of the night. We also saw the likes of Sonia and East 17 who got the crowd going.
Chesney saved his famous song for the end but treated the crowd to an hour-long set, covering some famous songs. He’s got a great stage presence and the crowd enjoyed it. Just as we were packing up our chairs, one of my friends noticed a hubbub at the front. Chesney had come out to say hello to fans at the front, so I ran down the field and asked for him for a photo of us together. What a great sport to come out and chat with everyone!
The next morning we trudged back to the cars with our haul of uneaten snacks (I think we may have brought too many), muddy boots and oodles of worn jumpers, safe in the knowledge that in a few hours we could shower in the comfort of our own bathrooms, eat meals off plates and sleep in warm beds. Do I sound negative? I don’t mean to. I just think a weekend of glamping makes you appreciate going home. Would I have changed the weekend – absolutely not! It was so much fun. It was a slight shame after months of hot, sunny weather, we got very wet and very cold, but hey that’s Britain and that’s camping. If there wasn’t mud on your boots, stinky loos, which you complained to random strangers about and the need to wear five layers to bed, it wouldn’t be half as fun would it now?
Our glamping experience at the Back to the 80s & 90s Festival cost around £215 per person, including the glamping tent, festival entry, hot tub experience and a few other extras. Thoroughly worth it. I enjoyed my first proper festival immensely.
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