After a long winter tapping away at our computers successfully searching for more summer work, and of course planning our next holiday away from the gloom (perks of the seasonal work), Portobello was both excited and relieved to reunite the friendly faces of our fabulous crew in fields across the country.
A baptism of fire is always the best way to kick things off, and the 2017 summer season was no exception, with fire as the operative word given the astonishing heat wave in early June. But it wasn’t just the heat that was getting us hot and bothered, it was the five events in three weeks in both France and the UK which really set the pace for summer!
Worthy Farm provided quite the juxtaposition to its climate the year before; where in 2016 we spent an entire on day on the clock waiting for torrential downpours to subside, the Glastonbury of 2017 was stiflingly hot!
We had a predictably lovely time at Pennard Hill Farm, where our Lotus Belles basked in an un-obscured view of the Pyramid Stage from their hill top pitch. Some of our guests went to see Ed Sheeran, while others sipped gin and tonics and listened from the comfort of their armchairs beside our fire pit.
Whilst the Egyptian cotton was pressed and folded in Somerset, a Portobello splinter cell headed to Stansted airport, bound for Poitiers and our favourite wedding to date.
If Glastonbury was hot, Poitiers was on another level, as our team pitched thirty bell tents in the unrelenting glare of the summer sun, with the mercury hitting 45 degrees celsius!
But all the sweat, dehydration and actual fainting was worth it, and our tents took pride of place in a vista which stretched from their front doors, through a cascading field of vines, to the foot of a stunning chateau in the Southern Loire Valley.
We worked early and finished late, taking time away from the midnight sun to swim in the lake, before settling down for supper with our host and client, prepared by their live in Michelin Starred Chef! As crew food goes it’s fairly unbeatable, and we felt rather at home.
From the fields of France our crew dispersed to take down our Lotuses at Glastonbury, before heading to Goodwood Festival of Speed to accommodate high flying petrol heads in a new boutique tented encampment. In the spirit of the festival we took down our tents in record time, and headed straight from West Sussex to Bluedot Festival in Cheshire. Handy Hugo had already managed to sneak up there to measure out and mark up ready for the tents to fly up, and once deployed on the ground there the team split once more, leaving Nikki at Bluedot to celebrate her birthday (which she may have mentioned to a few people), and Laura in a convoy of vans whizzing down to Leicestershire’s Coney Woods and our spiritual home, Noisily Festival.
Portobello Founder Laura nearly had a mini meltdown after hearing her brother, a Director of Noisily, had decided to open the gates 4 hours early. But by that point Portobello’s Somerset Dream Team already had everything in check.
5 events, 3 weeks, 2 countries, universal glowing reviews, and a very long sleep later, and we were in full swing for the next stage of summer.
First Stop Kendal Calling. Beautiful, but wet. Very, really, ridiculously, biblical Noah’s Ark wet! Then from Cumbria we set off to Houghton Festival in Norfolk, a 30th Birthday party in Oxfordshire, a stag do in Devon, before finishing off the summer season with a jaunt into the Thames Estuary and a corporate event on Osea Island.
This was the perfect way to end the season. Close to home in Essex and with our boutique bezzies Al and Phil from Green Yurts. Osea Island is only accessible at low tide, and as such made our mid-packdown pizza delivery somewhat troublesome. Nevertheless and against the odds we remained well fed, and all the tents came down dry in a freakishly hot Sunday meaning no warehouse hanging needed to dry our stock. Someone must like us somewhere, and after 2016’s Festival No.6 takedown amidst the very worst of the Welsh weather, we were ecstatic to have been afforded such a reprieve by England’s driest county. We even had time to spare before the tide went out, so borrowed some bicycles and went for a crew bike ride around the island in the sun, with our lorry driver in tow, ahem.
This was our second summer, and Portobello Tents did it in style. The smooth operation was down to our fantastic crew, with many returning faces and some new bodies who joined the team.
A string of great events and wonderful clients made it all the more enjoyable, and we even had the chance to do some shopping, growing our stock to a round 100 tents, and investing in the coveted Lotus Mahal – a 60sq/m giant made up of three half Lotus bodies and a huge peak in the middle. The only one available to rent in the UK.
So as we round up 2017, and look forward with excitement to the 2018 season, we want to thank our crew, our clients, our friends and our family for their ongoing support. Here is to those long summer nights ahead of us, and exploring luxury under canvas with Portobello Tents.