Whitebottom Farm, Etherow Country Park, Compstall, Stockport SK6 5HZ
2018 was the third year of the Buckle & Boots festival and my second year of attending.
The festival site is a working farm and is transformed for the weekend. It is set in stunning surroundings. As you drive up the narrow road towards the site you are driving alongside a really pretty little river, turn a corner and you are facing a beautiful waterfall!
Although the festival officially starts on Friday, you are allowed to arrive the day before if you wish. This really suits me as coming from Southampton, it takes me just over 4 hours to drive up – on a clear run! By arriving early it allows you to pitch your tent (if you are using your own tent), sort your stuff out & then chill on Friday; you don’t need to worry or stress about Friday traffic. As I was driving up there were warnings on the M6 that there was an incident at junction 18 – 19 and there was an hour & a half delay. Fortunately I use an app that diverts you onto a different route if there is a problem. As a result I had a really scenic drive up as the app took me across the peaks! In the end, I arrived at the site 10 minutes behind schedule, not bad considering a lot of the roads I had driven on were single carriage way roads & at times, country lanes!
The festival runs from Friday, usually starting at about 6.00pm, through to Sunday night, with after- parties every night. It is run by the Hancock family – Karl, Jan & Laura (dad, mum & daughter), they run other festivals during the year and also host weddings. A nicer family you would be hard pushed to find, they really are the loveliest of people.
The camp site is behind the barn which houses the bar & main stage. There is a mix of tents and glamping tents, I chose the latter option! I am really not keen on camping, so I take the easiest option & allow someone else to pitch my tent for me & then pack it away when I have vacated it!! The added bonus is that the car park is a distance from the site, so you have to get a shuttle bus & you have to walk a short distance, carrying all your stuff! With the glamping tents you are provided with the tent fully erected, 4 mattresses, a small tray table & a lamp. There are also a couple of big rugs on the floor. It is advisable to take a blow up mattress though as the mattresses provided are quite thin. The tent sleeps 4, but there was just the 2 of us in our tent this year. Caravans and campervans are also allowed, but they are on a separate field.
There is a toilet block at the bottom of the field and inside the toilet blocks are proper toilets – not a portaloo anywhere on site! There are also showers in the block and electricity points by mirrors, meaning hairdryers and straighteners can be used & phones/chargers can be charged!
As for the festival stages there are just the 2; the Main stage is by the barn that doubles up as the main bar. This stage also doubles up as the BCMA stage in the morning of Saturday & Sunday and the Paddock stage. This year, the paddock stage was a much bigger tent than last year. The great thing about both stages are that they are undercover, so if it rains you are not standing out in the rain, alternatively if it is hot & sunny as it was this year, you can shelter from the sun.
In the area between the 2 stages (which isn’t a great distance fortunately) there were stalls selling a variety of Country related paraphernalia – art, jewellery, shirts, hats, wellies etc. There were also food stalls, in particular the burger van – Man BBQ – I hate burgers me, but by heck these burgers were good!! They are cooked over an open fire, but a bit more special than that, the burgers are made from the cattle the Hancocks raise during the year. I was told this by Jan, who was tucking into her burger at the same time as me!
Over the weekend we ate from all of the food stalls and there was a really good choice; Streatza Pizza, Curry Cabin, Dub Gud Grub – which even did salads – a very welcome relief for those of us that like some rabbit food as well as junk food! I say junk food, but it all tasted wonderful … maybe not the cold chips at 11.30pm, but when chips are calling.…
Buckle & Boots have this year teamed up with the Australian Tamworth Country Music Festival. 5 UK bands playing at B&B will be picked to go over to Australia & play at the Tamworth festival. In celebration of this, there were Australian artists on the line up this year, as well as a variety of artists from the UK, Europe and America. In addition there was also a raffle on offer for the audience, with the prize for the winner to go to the festival with them. Again, it gave the festival quite a different feel.