We miss Samphire! Not the sea vegetable (although we do love a bit of that too). We mean the fab boutique festival that’s just celebrated its second year in Porlock!
Samphire’s small and special– and we love small and special! It’s a lot of different things to the people who’ve experienced it… a party by the sea over three days and two nights, with a soul full of freedom and fun. Organisers Josh and Flora say the festival’s ‘wild, salty and good for you’, so as first-timers, we thought we’d soak it all up and put that to the test, to see if we felt the same way :).
Well, the location definitely is! It’s tucked away in the heart of Exmoor National Park, overlooking the beautiful Porlock Bay. The drive to reach it is magical… twisting and turning up tree-lined country roads as you climb higher and higher up the cliffs, wondering where your adventure will take you. When you get there, you realise you’ve found a totally unspoiled secret spot where you could just sit on the grass for hours, drink in hand, and stare out to the sea and land beyond - breathing in every single second.
We did that A LOT over the time we were there… with G&T from festival pub The Foragers Arms on the first night, a large glass (or several) of something fizzy on the second…
… but the loveliest moments had to be early morning, perched on a wooden crate with a cup of tea in hand, just taking in the stillness and beauty of it all before the party started again. And we’ve got to say, absolutely none of our photos do it justice! ;)
So yeah… it is wild up there… and wonderful and we didn’t want to leave it! What a priviledge to take in that view and to have it as a backdrop to a cool Somerset party (as well as waking up to it when you unzip your tent or tipi)!
Friday night certainly had its moments too, with an awesome headline performance on the main ‘Samphire Stage’ from The Correspondents. In all of our festival/gig going days and nights, we’ve never seen a lead singer crowd surfing seated on a white plastic garden chair and, as this picture taken by Matt Stephens proves, Mr Bruce got right in amongst it! :)
YEAH!! Hats and festival flower crowns well and truly off to him!
Hmmm – well, there’s the sea air (did we mention the location? ;)) and Graeme’s chips were a bit on the salty side, but there was an ace selection of little places to grab a festival bite to eat. Put it this way, if you like your street food award-winning, you’d have loved it! We had banana and chocolate pancakes in the mornings, in our pyjamas, from a very sweet little horse box (yes, horse box)! It's been transformed into a coffee and breakfast stop-off with a difference, by the lovely Melanie...
One of our faves, Moo & Two, were also there, so beautiful basil tea was on tap (yay!). There were dumplings to die for at Dorshi and along with fish from Seadog, burgers from Holy Cow and arstian pizza from Field to Fire, we developed a serious new crush…. on waffles!! Thanks to Complete Waffle, the festival waffle and ice cream has become Samphire legend for us and we’ll never EVER be able to face a festival without them again ;) Waffles flipping rock!!
So err yep – a bit salty, A LOT tasty! :)
Good for you?
Hell yeah! Samphire had all the ingredients needed for a unique festival escape. From the moment you arrived you felt as though you’d stepped into another little world and for us, that’s what going to a festival is all about. If you can find somewhere that makes you smile the beaming smile you might’ve forgotten you had… that little corner of the country where you can be whoever you want to be, discover something new and dance till your feet can’t take it anymore, you’ve found your kind of festival!
With tons of interesting stuff to see (check out the sword dancing above!) and to get involved with during the day, a tucked away area hidden in the bracken, ‘Sit Brack’, played host to things as diverse as Richard Havers' discussion on whether The Beatles or The Stones were the best, through to an interactive poetry challenge with ‘Pete the Poet'. You could also drop by the Unicorn Lounge for free workshops, yoga, meditation, pilates and sound healing taster sessions.
There were free printmaking workshops with the awesome Nik Slade and you could add your hand print to the Samphire hall of fame! Pingu’s Den had heaps of children’s activities happening (uke workshops, interactive storytelling and arts and crafts for kids)...
… and anyone could go foraging for real life crunchy Samphire too, if they fancied it!
Our favourite was ‘The Clubhouse’ - a place where silliness ruled, sock wrestling (remove your opponents socks before they remove yours!) was positively encouraged and Monsieur Le Bon Bon (the festival’s shining light – so so funny), clad in a stripey, towelling, slightly revealing onesie, led the Samphire crowd in a very competitive game of Musical Benches (pronounced ‘bonches’. Officer Crabtree from Allo Allo would’ve been proud :)). We had a cheeky chat about bum cleavage. Not something that happens every day ;)
Now for a quick subject change (step away from the bum cleavage ;)). I don’t know about you, but I never feel totally ‘festivaly’ until there’s some glitter and bodypaint involved, so thank sparkle for Squiggles and Wiggles - their awesome bodypainting tent and vintage mobile make-up pram!! This beautiful design was created straight out of it, by brilliant owner and bodypaint artist, Sophia.
Get me inspecting the detail ;) To be honest, we’re a little bit obsessed with creative details. You’re talking to the people who had our cuddly toys incorporated into the seating plan at our wedding (I know! Please don’t hate us. It was quite funny ;)), so we LOVED the little creative details sprinkled all over Samphire.
These huge handmade deckchairs, gave another great view out to sea…
… the wheel of fortune told us we had to watch the sunrise and buy cider (no encouragement needed there!!)
...and as everyone knows, you can’t sound cross when you shout ‘Bubbles’ :) Plenty of people tried to when they saw this though!
It goes without saying there was an eclectic line up of music throughout the days and nights too. Lots of bands we discovered for the first time and that’s part of the fun at festivals –hearing something new.
The main Samphire Stage kept most people moving (Jack Tyson Charles was just awesome on Saturday afternoon) and the Legless Mermaid stage, with it's beautiful cliffside backdrop, was filled with a whole host of live performers and DJ’s with a housey, Ministry of Sound feel.
The wizard factory opened from dusk till dawn too, to keep the party going till sunrise. We found this on the floor there…
LOVE the sentiment and it was clearly written by someone who couldn’t give a monkeys what the festival weather forecast was like :)
Anyway, now the party’s over, we love the fact that Flora and Josh have already gone out to this year’s Samphire festival crowd and asked for feedback and ways to improve. We’re hoping for a bit of a vintage vibe in parts next year (wouldn’t Kitty, Daisy & Lewis be great?) and maybe even some 80’s dancing in the early hours. I know. Laugh if you wanna, but as everybody knows… ridicule is nothing to be scared of ;)
Thank you wild, salty and good for us Samphire! We've a hole lotta love for you....