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The Big Chill

Big ChillWe have hosted the Big Chill in our Deer Park since 2002, and it gets better every year. The image shows what it looks like from the top of the castle, mostly camping on the left and mostly event on the right. The full details are all on the Big Chill website: www.bigchill.net and images of this year’s event from the site and there are highlights on www.youtube.com

Before the festival got going, there was an opportunity to take part in an attempt to make the largest zombie movie ever, called I spit on your rave, led by Noel Fielding of Mighty Boosh fame, and produced in a collaboration between Warp Films and Film4. Early arrivals dressed up and had their faces painted and then followed directions from the film companies on site, with the first rushes being shown at the end of the festival.

Our works team have the stressful job of ensuring that drinking water, which arrives in huge road tankers, and supplies for the showers reach all the areas of the camp sites. The Big Chill prides itself on providing good services to its ticket holders, and the same standards apply in the main arena as far as food and drink are concerned. Organic, exotic, local, hot & cold refreshment is all available, as are Thai massages and a Victorian funfair. It is a family-friendly mixture, which this attracted record numbers in sunny weather. We love having it here.   JH-B     11th August

Big Chill

Deer Park ViewEastnor Park

As we prepare for the Big Chill which is taking place in the Park and on surrounding land between 7th & 9th August, a friend has sent me a quotation from the letter of Henry James to Charles Eliot Norton, written at the time James was staying in Malvern in March 1870 trying to recover his health after an extended visit to Italy.

He wrote: “I walked away across the country to the ancient town of Ledbury, an hour of the way across the deer-cropped slopes & thro’ the dappled avenues of Eastnor Park…,a vast & glorious domain & as immensely idle & charming & uncared for as anything in Italy”.

It is nice to have had a mention, if perhaps not entirely a flattering one. Although much of the Park remains deliberately as wild and uncared for as we and Natural England would like it to be, some of the area covered by the distinguished author would not match his description, as the image shows. It is tidily mown and awaiting thousands of visitors. However, readers can follow the changes in the Park over the next ten days and beyond on the Big Chill blog spot: http://bigchilldiary.blogspot.com/2009/07/looking-good.html written by veteran journalist, Simon Gandolfi. I hope the after images look as good as the before images.

30th July 2009

Mountain Mayhem in Eastnor Park

OS Mountain MayhemLast weekend we hosted the great 24-hour mountain bike race, Mountain Mayhem.  Hundreds of competitors camped on site and took part in an endurance race on a ten mile course around the woods and hills within the Park and beyond. The weather was mostly dry, and not too hot, a relief for the mountain bikers if not the cold drink salesmen. 

The race runs through the night, and you could see the lights traversing the slopes after dark. As the Park is not open to mountain bikes normally, this event was a good chance for riders to compete on the slopes that are reserved otherwise for walkers, deer and Land Rovers.

The organisers and sponsors did a great job, leaving the site undamaged and giving everyone a good time. It was amazing to see the range of equipment for sale and diversity of the competitors. One year, but I did not see them this time, one or two monocycles competed. When we were children, my brother and I used to ride our normal bikes in the park, with the Sturmey Archer three-speed gears. I now see why we did not get very far…           JH-B   1st July 2009

The Big Chill 2008

The Big ChillThis year’s Big Chill was the biggest and best yet, with over 35,000 attending and great acts from Roisin Murphy, The Mighty Boosh, Camille and Leonard Cohen ensuring everyone had a great time.  Altogether, there were 400 artists performing across 7 arenas over three days.  There was a small traditional fun fair for children.  Even the weather was kind, despite some rain, and the festival had excellent reviews.  More day tickets were available to local people, which proved very popular.

 The Big Chill is booked again to take place in the Eastnor Deer Park on 7, 8 & 9 August 2009, and the first big acts have been announced.  They will include: Orbital, Basement Jaxx and Pharaoh Sanders.  More space will be available, and the site should work even better, with shorter distances between car parks and camp sites.

The festival will continue to be family friendly and relaxed, with a high-quality mixture of music, art and culture.  The Art Trail, which winds through a grove of ancient oak trees, will continue to be an important feature, with the chance to see the work of some of the finest young artists in the country.

We love the Big Chill.  It is exciting and fun, and it is great to see so many people having a good time at Eastnor.  Only 230 days to go……more Big Chill news to follow as it breaks.         J H-B