Saturday, 2 June 2018

Follow Me To: Common People Festival with Snazaroo

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Hey Owlets,

I've been really lucky to get to do some amazing things with my blog, but a few weeks ago I got an email from Snazaroo that, for a second, I honestly thought they'd sent to the wrong person. So last week when I boarded the train to Oxford, I was still feeling like I needed you to pinch me.

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I've got to be honest, I've never been to a proper festival before so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but if there was ever a festival that was meant for me, it's Common People. The festival is meant to be enjoyed by families, it was no camping and most of the bands were from the 80s/90s, or smaller, lesser known bands.

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The journey was a bit of a marathon through five hours of engineering works, so when I first got to Oxford I went to the hotel to dump my bags and freshen up. I was really thankful to be given VIP tickets to the festival, meaning we had our own space away from the crowd and it wasn't as busy. If you plan to go next year, I would absolutely suggest you splash out. We had our own toilets, a VIP bar so it was less busy, plus comfortable chairs, sofas and benches all made from wooden pallets. When I got to the festival, the first thing I did was head to Snazaroo to get my face painted. I'd chosen to wear a dress with floral embroidery so Sam from Snazaroo matched the flowers to the colours in my outfit, which I absolutely loved!

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One of the best things about the whole festival atmosphere was how accepting everyone was. On the first day I wasn't sure what to expect so after a bit of a wardrobe meltdown I wore this floral dress from Primark over jeans. I was really worried that it would be full of these supermodel-type festival goers, and I was really conscious of being plus size. However, that couldn't have been further from the truth! There were all shapes, sizes and ages at the festival and everyone was incredibly friendly and inclusive. Seeing everyone else wearing weird and wonderful clothes covered in sequins gave me confidence, so if you plan on attending I would say go for it with your outfit. Whatever you wear you'll fit in!!

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Once I'd gotten my face painted I decided to go for a wander - in hindsight I wish I'd been able to get there earlier as I spent most of the first day walking around taking it all in. You weren't allowed to take any food into the festival so I'd pretty much consigned myself to starving all weekend for a lack of gluten free food - I was proven wrong again though, as I had almost as much choice as other people. I decided to order a gluten free toastie, and while I was waiting I came across this Mexican inspired band called Vote Pedro that were brilliant! Imagine "Who Let The Dogs Out?" by a Mariachi band. It was awesome. 

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The Snazaroo stand was in the perfect place to get the best view of the stage. On Saturday we had both Boney M and The Jacksons headlining, so I was in my element. While Boney M were singing "Hooray hooray - it's a holi-holiday" an inflatable beachball started bouncing it's way around the crowd, which made my day.

The Jacksons were incredible and it was amazing to see the legends performing live. I'm usually quite self conscious if I'm out on my own, but I love to sing and dance along to the music, and because everyone was joining in I just went for it! I had to leave a little before the end which was a shame but I got back just in time, as a few minutes later the heavens opened and flooded the hotel car park.

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I have to admit, on Sunday morning I felt so tired I couldn't stay awake. I ended up getting up for an early-ish breakfast, then went back to my room and had another two hours sleep (iron deficiency is really not helpful when you're busy!), did some work then went to the festival a little later at about 3pm. It was nice to be there earlier than the day before - it was more chilled out rather than the party atmosphere of Saturday. I went to get some more flowers painted on my face then went for another wander.

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For the Sunday I wore this jumpsuit and mustard heels, both from Peacocks. I think this is my favourite photo from the whole weekend and it was taken by a complete stranger. One of the most amazing things at Common People was that you could sit anywhere and you would suddenly have a whole new group of friends.

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Half way through the day a band called Ride took to the stage - I had no idea who they were but apparently everyone else did because they drew a huge crowd; there were even people wearing Ride tour shirts, so I think I might be the only person who didn't know about them. There was also a band that Fran (one of the girls from the PR company) introduced me to, called Maximo Park - by the end of their set I was a huge fan!

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I think one of my favourite parts about Common People Festival were all the different stages, and every stage had it's own sound. The Cycle Solar stage featured spoken word artists, the Uncommon Stage featured rap and grime, and the main stage saw bands that everyone would love.

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As well as the different live music stages, there were several areas that hosted different DJs. It was great because there were different mini parties wherever you went. On my way out on the last evening I saw this incredible area, and I can't believe I hadn't found it sooner.

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The thing that stuck out to me was that even if I didn't know who the band were, I loved every song. However, this last band was a kick myself moment. Everyone had gotten really excited about the band "James". I had no idea who they were and everyone seemed shocked by that. I did stay for half the set but the thunder and lightning set in again so I left early. The next morning I googled who they were and found that I'd missed one of my favourite 90s songs "Sit Down". I never knew who it was by and I can't believe I missed it!

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One thing I'm gutted about is that while I was there I didn't get a chance to explore the city centre. From what I saw it's a beautiful city and I now really want to go back. If I'm honest I was so tired on Monday morning and I knew it was going to take 6 hours to get back, so I went straight to the train station from the hotel for the long trek back home.

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I had the best weekend and it has completely recharged my creativity and motivation - sometimes you need a break and need to experience something new to inspire you again. Thank you so much to Snazaroo and W Communications for inviting me for the weekend. I loved it and can't wait to go to another festival!

Where should I visit next? Let me know in the comments below.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜

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N.B: This post was created in collaboration with Snazaroo. All words and images are my own.