Held near the village of Standon, Hertfordshire, Standon Calling Festival started off as a birthday BBQ for founder Alex Trenchard in 2001. Fast forward 16 years and the festival is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike; which is no wonder when you look at the array of festival entertainment, not to mention the amazing lineup.
Clean Bandit, Idris Elba, Grace Jones, Laura Mvula and Orbital (just to mention a few).
This year I was invited to attend as a guest of Orchard Pig cider. With weekend tickets up for grabs it was hard to say no. But who to invite to come with me? After Ross decided he didn’t fancy it, I turned to my friend Emma. It was a long shot inviting her as she had never been to a festival before but amazingly she said yes!
Emma is literally the life and soul of any party so I knew this was going to be a fun festival!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it on the Friday but on Saturday we were raring to go. Emma is a genius when it comes to make up and she has been dying to do mine for….well since she first met me a few years back. So come Saturday morning Emma turned up at my flat armed with SO. MUCH. MAKEUP and got to work.
Walking out the door feeling nothing like myself, we arrived at Standon and got acquainted with the arena.
After a stroll around the stalls and ahem, bars, we went in hunt of lunch. Thanks to the delights of Patty & Bun we sat down with the most banging burger I’ve had in ages. Of course, washed down with Orchard Cider and followed by a salted caramel brownie, from Bad Brownie.
Orchard Pig cider was a new brew to me, but absolutely delicious (coming from the South West I consider myself as somewhat of a cider connoisseur and OP certainly lived up to my expectations). It’s less bubbly than other ciders, but that just makes room for more apples…or so the can tells me. Now home from Standon Calling I did a little research into Orchard Pig and it turns it comes from a pretty similar background to the festival itself.
Andrew Quinlan, founder of Orchard Pig, left the Marines after a long career and bought a smallholding in Coxbridge, Somerset, so that he could keep pigs. That land also happened to come with 247 cider apple trees. Wanting to make use of the apples he and his children set to work learning to make cider. His first batch turned out pretty good and before long he was supplying 20 local pubs with it. In 2007, Andrew applied for a business grant which took his small cider company and propelled it to the brand people love today. Just goes to show how a hobby can transform your life (I’m still holding out for my blog to do just that).
After a proper festival feast we settled into the BBC Introducing tent and watched some amazing artists. I highly recommend listening to Tom Grennan.
Come evening we were well into the festival spirit; we’d partied in Cinderella’s Motel to the sounds of the noughties, revelled in the delights of other’s amazing fancy dress efforts and we were reading to end the night singing our hearts out to Clean Bandit.
I’m so glad I got to go to Standon Calling, I never knew such a great festival existed only 30 minutes up the road from me. I will definitely be back again! Wanna come?