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Saturday at Godiva Festival 2017 [Review]

Published: Sunday, 09 July 2017

Family at Godiva

It’s day two of Godiva Festival, taking place on Saturday 8 July 2017, the heart of the weekend, which is often the busiest day for the event.

Last night was awesome to attend and was a massive success, not only for those enjoying the fun, but it was a great day for the festival itself, with the visitor numbers beating last year’s festival numbers with over 36,000 people attending. Bearing in mind that Friday is usually the quieter day, it looks set to be a busy Saturday! I have taken in the main arena and all its culinary, musical and shopping delights (take a look at my blog to read more) and now it’s time to get cracking with the family field. So let’s get into it!

Setting off from the far side of the park, I was again surrounded by the fuzzy-feeling-inducing, happy crowd that I walked amongst yesterday, but this time there was a few more young faces, covered in glitter or in disguise as a happy panda or giggly tiger, all headed for the brightly coloured flags that signalled the beginnings of the family field and the start of the fun. The field was full of stalls and information stations, manned by various organisations all ready and waiting to entertain you and to offer some golden nugget of information about what they have to offer you in Coventry and Warwickshire.

There were some familiar faces with Culture Coventry, the trust which is made up of the Lunt Roman Fort, Coventry Transport Museum and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum were there, handing out the snazzy Godiva festival and City of Culture wristbands, promoting the city’s dedication to being the City of Culture for 2021. They were also there to discuss their venues and to let you know about the different events that are on this summer holidays (Viking Voyage anyone?), as well as offering a go at hoopla. The Royal Shakespeare Company were the next stall along , showing off some unique theatre costumes and offering you the opportunity to play a sensory game, getting you to think about and approach typical tasks differently, something which their actors have to do regularly. Coventry and Warwick Universities were the next stalls to see and their students were out in full force, ready and waiting to impart their knowledge of the university and what you could get up to there. Fostering Coventry had their giant deckchair out in the sun, a great selfie opportunity! Various charities had come along too, playing their part in the entertainment but also discussing the great impact that the community can have on important issues – but this doesn’t even scratch the surface of who attended and what you could get up to.

Turning right off the beaten track, I came across the animal farm, minibeasts and birds of prey. Being an animal lover, this kind of thing is right up my street. The birds of prey were stunning, their handlers taking them close to the crowd and discussing their expert knowledge with eager children and adults alike. The animal farm was made up of goats, chickens, rabbits and alpacas, which the children absolutely loved. Of course it’s always important to remember that the animals are exactly that and whilst a petting zoo is used to interaction with people, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on your little ones when they are saying hi to the animals!

Further on round the field was the community stage, hosted by the brilliant Brody Swain from BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. Flanked by deckchairs, it was the perfect spot to pull up a seat and be entertained whilst your young ones get crafting over in the Make Space tent. Inside all sorts of crafty creations were being built, with a brilliantly coloured butterfly sculpture hanging from the ceiling. The tent was bustling and a crowd gathering around a table which had also sorts of working mechanical toys, being observed by their child creators, who were all looking pretty excited and happy with their work. Wasps Rugby were inspiring the next generation of rugby players with their different physical games, highlighting a few of the skills that are needed to be a top class rugby player, including some tackling, agility and rugby ball throwing challenges. When the Wasps are at community events, they are always on top form, enthusiastic and really friendly – so don’t be shy to give it a go!

The tent opposite had a similar creative feel, but it was more a treasure trove of goodies for the adults at the festival. There were a range of stalls all demonstrating skills such as wood crafting, with experts in their field inviting the watching crowd to come and have a go. There were all sorts of goods for sale, including beeswax woodland creature candles, jars of all different kinds of honey, paintings and sketches of animals and gorgeous scenery, wooden trinkets including sculptures, crocodiles, checkers boards and candle holders. Organisations such as the Scouts and the Weavers House were there to talk about what you could get involved in and to proudly show their latest projects. Various conservation teams were next, talking to people and inspiring them to make their gardens and immediate environments eco-friendly and sustainable for wildlife. There was a bee box at one of these stalls with around ten children gathered round, looking at the little hive and asking the bee keeper all sorts of questions. A really great way to get kids involved, interested and passionate about the nature in their back gardens.  

At the top of the family field, there was a small fayre, featuring zorb balls and flume slides, one of the more popular areas with children. The Cycle Society pitched up next door, with a cycling arena for both adults and children to have a go at riding a bike and finding out how to get involved in a more active lifestyle.

As with all great festivals, there are secrets to stumble upon. On my way to take a look at the rhythm tent in the main field, I could see a crowd of people gathered around someone darting around to the sound track of Dirty Dancing. As I squeezed my way through, I could see that a one-woman outdoor theatre company was entertaining the crowd with gymnastic-like dance moves, encouraging the watching crowd to join in. As with some many aspects of the festival, it was a sight that attracted a crowd of all ages and left them walking away with a big smile upon their face.

Once through security to the main arena, the Rock and Rhythm tent is a sight to behold. The bright red tent hides the stage from any outside onlookers, giving the tent a private gig-feel, adding a vibe of the underground. The acts that perform in the tent fit into a grime, hip-hop, R&B or rock genre and the atmosphere is usually pretty intense. This year was no exception. When Panjabi MC came on stage, the crowd went crazy with cheers and applause and their volume was amped up even higher when the iconic beginnings of the bhangra hit Mundian To Bach Ke started to play. Mallory Knox, Tom Clarke and AJ Tracey, were also received with a warm welcome. It was a really absorbing line up, with a completely different feel and flavour to that of the main stage.

For me, day two of the festival had a completely different feel to the first, which was just as enjoyable. The family field was great for all ages, despite its name. If you have children, it’s a lovely part of the park to take them and keep them entertained. If not, then it’s still a great place to go and relax, grab an ice-cream and take a look at what Coventry and Warwickshire has to offer and to learn something new.