On the 9th of September, over 1,000 residents, music enthusiasts and festival-goers gathered on the green at Manor Fruit Farm, for an unforgettable experience – Wander Festival 2023. This musical extravaganza, organised by Goldun Egg in partnership with Normandy Parish Council, brought together a diverse line-up of talented artists, tantalising food vendors, dedicated kids’ area, the Wander Bar, a gin bar and coffee bar. All supported by an army of dedicated volunteers. Despite some extreme weather conditions, the festival turned out to be an incredible success, creating lasting memories for our village.
The festival boasted an impressive line-up of artists, featuring a wide range of musical genres to attempt to cater to every taste. Attendees were treated to sensational performances from emerging artists as well as renowned acts such as Groove Manoova, Ines Rae, Billy Locket, Ward Thomas, and the grand finale, the legendary Chesney Hawkes. The eclectic mix of artists ensured that there was something for everyone, from fans of indie and country to pop and rock.
Groove Manoova got the crowd grooving with their infectious beats, setting the tone for the day. Ines Rae’s soulful melodies touched the hearts of the audience, while Billy Locket’s raw talent left a striking impression. Ward Thomas charmed the crowd with their harmonious country tunes, and Chesney Hawkes brought down the house, proving why he’s a beloved icon in the music industry.
We hope you found the festival’s culinary offerings to be just as impressive as its musical line-up. A diverse array of food vendors lined the festival grounds, ensuring that festival-goers could indulge in a variety of culinary delights. From Jerk chicken to pad thai, there was no shortage of options to satisfy every palate. I think we were all thankful for the ice cream vendor on such an incredibly hot day!
The festival’s uniquely designed Wander Bar was a hit, serving up a specially crafted “Wander Punch” that matched perfectly with the hot weather. The bar also offered an extensive selection of beverages, including craft beers, cocktails, and non-alcoholic options, ensuring that everyone had something to enjoy. Some learning for us was that he bar was set a festival prices as opposed to community event prices, which is something that is being reflected upon for future events.
Wander Festival prides itself on being a family-friendly event. The dedicated kids’ area was a haven for children and their parents, featuring activities like face painting, hook a duck, a coconut shy and football games. Families were able to enjoy quality time together while basking in the festival’s vibrant atmosphere.
One of the standout features of the event was the incredible dedication and hard work of its volunteers. These unsung heroes played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of the event. They worked tirelessly across three days to assist setting up the event, maintain the cleanliness of the venue, worked at the bar and at the entrance processing tickets, plus considerably more behind the scenes tasks. Its is these very special people that made the event so successful.
We hope that Wander Festival 2023 will be remembered as a remarkable celebration of music and community. The diverse line-up of artists, delectable food options, family-friendly activities, and the dedication of volunteers created an unforgettable experience for all in attendance. As the final notes of Chesney Hawkes’ performance echoed through the village, it was clear that Wander Festival 2023 had proven itself as ‘the one and only’ a must-attend event.
Wander Festival, wasn’t all just about music and merrymaking; it had a noble goal at its heart. One of its primary objectives was to generate funds for the redevelopment of the play area at the heart of the community in Manor Fruit Farm. A commendable 25% of the festival’s profits were dedicated to this redevelopment fund, demonstrating the festival’s commitment to enhancing the lives of local children and families.
An auction was masterfully presented by none other than the charismatic Mike Reed. With prizes including a Fulks Butchers Christmas Hamper, a recording studio session with Jake Gosling and a luxury hamper from Hotel Chocolat, to name but a few. 100% of theproceeds will be channelled into the redevelopment fund.
The festival provided an interactive platform for the community to participate in shaping the future of the play area, with almost 60 residents offering their views on the day. This acted as the launch for the council’s consultation and engagement process the redevelopment plans. This democratic approach ensures that the future play area will be a reflection of the desires and needs of the very community it will be designed to serve, making Wander Festival not only a celebration of togetherness but also a significant step towards creating a better, more inclusive space for all.