Dates: 21st - 24th May 2020
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
For many people, Alfresco is the ultimate coming together of underground electronic music and family time – a ‘family rave’, if you will. If you can imagine it, you can make it. Major names in the industry play alongside newcomers, all DJs – this festival is unusual in that there are no live bands whatsoever. As thudding techno beats pulse through the warm summer air, children run around in happy play while their parents look on, perfectly content.
Like most good British festivals, Alfresco’s home lies in a beautiful, natural setting – The Hop Farm in Kent. A properly organic surrounding, revellers rejoice in the tall trees, leafy shade and lush grass of this little piece of England’s South East. Still quite a small festival with under 2,000 attendees, there’s a lovely sense of community and bonhomie. Somehow, they’ve made it possible to go clubbing with your children in tow.
A huge reason why this is possible is, perhaps, the ‘Nanny Yurt’ – a safe place where those in the mood for a dance can deposit their offspring for a few hours of painting and reading and head out for quick boogie. It’s also free, meaning you don’t have to rack up any extra baby-sitting costs. On top of that, there are plenty of other activities they can enjoy, from the bewitching tales of master storytellers to rollicking about on hay bales.
Music-wise, it is eminently respectable. In 2019, headliners included 2ManyDJs, Erol Alkan and Joey Negro. Over the years, ravers have watched many more electro-prodigies mix their magic under the trees. There’s masses of time and space to indulge in some proper stomping in the woods, and better yet, all the right food and booze to power you through the whole weekend. It’s unpretentious and uncommercial, a gathering of people who just want to enjoy the music and hang out with their favourite people, big and small.
Children and adults both love the adventure of camping, and so it’s truly worth making sure your festival accommodation cuts the mustard. The thrill of a bell tell is to see the silhouette of flickering grass appear through crisp cream canvas, hearing the birds twittering in the dawn and lying warm in a luxury memory-foam mattress, happy and excited in the knowledge of everything that lies ahead.