It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to attend a festival on a scorching hot Friday is it? Well luckily for us AF International were invited along as VIP guests at the local Timber Festival. If you’re not familiar with the Timber Festival, I will fill you in briefly. The Timber Festival was founded by The National Forest; I’m sure that you will have read my previous blog posts on the work we do with this amazing Leicestershire based charity. 2019 marked the second year of the Timber Festival after overwhelming success at the launch in 2018 and we were delighted with the offer of a visit, so off we went…
The heatwave had hit The Midlands and temperatures were peaking at 27 degrees as we arrived at the Timber Festival. On arrival we were greeted by stunning views over the 70 acre National Forest woodland and received a lovely warm welcome from the volunteers brandishing brightly coloured wristbands. The professional festival goers were easily spotted, rucksacks and camping gear at the ready. I however, had chosen completely unsuitable footwear, making the steep descent into the festival area rather tricky.
As we approached there was a funky fairy-light tepee, main stage with a hardy timber frame and lots of stalls and quirky entertainment. We arrived just in time for the launch speech from the CEO of The National Forest and he spoke with passion and conviction. The charity have achieved some incredible feats, most notably the increase of forest cover from just 6% to more than 20% across The Midlands. Not only do the National Forest increase tree plantation they also support nearly 5000 jobs as they welcome 8.2m visitors per year with their tourist development.
Following the opening speech, we took the time to explore and headed off into the warm sunshine to take in the Timber Festival experience. The “Eyrie Stage” timetable promised a full evening of entertainment and as we walked through the forest there were acrobats performing at great height drawing in quite a crowd. Surrounding these in the canopy area were lots of activities for all of the family, including woodland craft courses and charcoal sessions cooking fresh sausages. Leaving the wooded area, we emerged into the sunlight once again and spotted a huge area of retro games such as Scrabble, Guess Who, Tiddly Winks and Hula Hoops It was a delightful sight to behold as children of all ages enjoyed challenging the adults to Hula competitions.
The Timber Festival is a great opportunity to share a love of the forest and learn more about the work undertaken by The National Forest charity. A strong ethos of sustainability and environmental awareness was apparent in all areas of the festival, from the reusable cups through to the compost portaloos, avoiding use of chemicals.
On our travels we spotted a local news TV crew, who were filming the day’s weather from the event. In the background, a musical duo played the piano and double bass on their upcycled bikes.
As I tackle the hill back to the car park in my not-so sensible shoes, I reflect on my time at the Timber Festival. Of course it was definitely a great end to the working week, but it wasn’t just about that. As the sun set I left the festival feeling inspired to make a difference. For me, The National Forest isn’t just about planting trees, it is so much more than that. It is about community, educating, and driving the vision for a sustainable environment.
Hope to see you next year Timber Festival.