Neverworld is a magical festival which takes place every summer in the heart of the Kent countryside. Having grown from it’s roots as ‘Lee-Fest’ back in 2006, Neverworld now has a capacity of 5000 allowing the event to maintain a quirky, boutique feel yet still attracting some huge names in terms of artists and performers.
As Neverworld first timers we decided we’d spend two days at the event. On Thursday we’d attend the opening night solo (no kids!) so we could make the most of the music. Then on Friday we’d return with kids in tow to enjoy the family orientated aspects of the festival.
Never Grow Old
Based around a Peter Pan theme, Neverworld is a place where you never have to grow up. The festival is arranged into realms: The Neverwoods (home to the Lost Boys), Skull Ridge (Captain Hook and crew), Mermaids Lagoon and Pan’s Playground. Each realm incorporates features related to their theme making great drop backs for photo shoots and adding a true sense of fantastical escapism. We particularly enjoyed the Miami style colours at the Beach in Mermaid Lagoon and the industrial pirate vibe at Skull Ridge.
For a relatively small festival the line-up for Neverworld is impressive. Over the weekend headliners included the likes of Grandmaster Flash, The Vaccines and Craig David, with Professor Green, Mike Skinner, Tom Grennan, The Mystery Jets, Sleeper and many more also performing across the three day event. The festival is small enough for each set to feel intimate with plenty of opportunities to discover new talent.
We loved seeing Everyone You Know for the first time who played the Circus on Thursday night. Other highlights included the Grandmaster Flash set proving the hip-hop legend has still got what it takes to send a crowd wild. Tom Grennan was awesome on The Fortress stage on Friday night…the first time we’ve really watched an artist with our children fully appreciating the music as much as us! Tom charmed the audience with his cheeky banter whilst giving a first class vocal performance.
I really enjoyed seeing Sleeper. As a 90’s indie kid myself it was a trip down memory lane with Louise Wener looking and sounding just as good as she did 20 years ago! Plus the Mystery Jets offered a mellow, chilled out finish to the opening night on Thursday despite some initial technical hitches. Overall the music was incredible. Spoilt for choice with a range of artists for all tastes. It was a real treat to enjoy a proper, festival performance in the company of our children without worrying that it might be too busy or noisy for them. This festival ticks all the boxes whether you’re attending as a family, group of party people or simply to enjoy the music.
In addition to the diverse music acts Neverworld schedules a range of fun activities to encourage a real sense of carefree hedonism. This year’s agenda included glitter wresting, beach games, silent disco yoga and a huge paint fight. Festival goers are also encouraged to dress up and chose a tribe to support (Pirates, Mermaids or Lost Boys) with each tribe winning Doubloons by tackling secret missions!
Neverworld is a festival that offers a very real sense of escapism whilst appealing to a diverse audience. As a family we felt well catered for despite there being a significant ‘younger’ demographic. If you’re looking for a fun, vibrant festival which offers first class music in an intimate setting then this is it. We’ll certainly be back…although next year we’ll be dressing up. The only question is..which tribe should we join!!?