Living it up at the Goodlife Experience

What more can I say about the Goodlife Experience that hasn’t already been said?

The Goodlife Experience comes with thousands of top notch reviews from people all over the world and with good reason – this was one of the best experiences of my life.

man walking through arches

The guys at the Goodlife Experience sent my girlfriend and I a pair of tickets over to see this festival in all of its weird, wonderful glory.

Before we get into that though, let’s see what the it actually offers.


Camping

Let’s start with the festival bread and butter shall we. There was loads of room for camping here, accompanied by showers, *eerily clean* toilets and even unlimited drinking water refills which were all quite novel for a festival.

field of tipis

Then there were the glamping tents. Bloody hell these were nice! Apparently they’re kitted out with all sorts inside, I even saw a picture of one with a full double bed in – not a bad way to spend your weekend in a field.

I must confess though, I didn’t camp this year as I live nearby-ish, but after seeing how great the Goodlife Experience camping was, I’ll definitely be doing it next year.

man drinking water

Music

Your standard festival foundations these.

A festival without music would be like me without this blog – unloved and terrible.

band setting up to play

Some cracking acts were playing this year with the likes of Trevor Nelson, Greg Wilson and even Ben Fogle getting in on the act. Obviously good old Fogez wasn’t serenading us with melodies but he was a very interesting fella all the same.

ben fogle doing a speech

The DJ’s that were on were absolutely top notch as well, it was such a surreal experience going from Ben Fogle chewing your ear off, into folk music then into dance music, but it was something which just felt right – the Goodlife Experience makes this sort of stuff the norm somehow.

Talks

Along with the next item on the list, this was my joint favourite thing at the whole of the Goodlife Experience. I’m not usually one for going to listen to someone talk for an hour but all of these talks really struck a chord.

mark musgrave speaking at the goodlife experience

Dare I say…changed my life???

There were so many interesting ladies and gents talking about their life experiences and how we could all apply them to our lives. There was Gordon Reid talking about his world cup beer mats, Mark Shayler telling us why in business (and in life I suppose…) – kind is the new cool and Alice Guy retelling her story of going a year without plastic.

mark shayler speaking

These were all amazing people with amazing stories but they also offered such a great insight into how we can all live a better life. There was also a guy called Michael Townsend Williams who talked about the importance of breathing and who taught us some level 9000 yogi breathing bits.

I tend to joke around when it comes to stuff like this but I do actually try to take it seriously and have been using his breathing technique since.

gordon reid talking at the goodlife experience

A great nugget of info he hit us with was to breathe through your nose via your stomach. Don’t breathe from the chest and always breathe out for longer than you breathe in.

By implementing those simple little tips, I have already become calmer, more productive and had improved sleep. Nice one Mickey.

Axe Throwing

So here’s my other joint favourite. The god damn axe throwing. Is there any better way to pretend you’re a manly man of the wilderness than lashing an axe at a tree stump? Didn’t think so.

man throwing an axe

I mean, anyone older than 12 could participate but it still felt cool, okay? OKAY? It was a great bit of fun for anyone, be them man, woman or whatever in between – Lucy was even better at it than me! No bruised ego though, promise.

man talking about axe throwing

Archery

I’d done archery before when I was 10 at some weird school trip so I don’t mean to be cocky but I was basically a professional.

man with a bow and arrow

This really came to light when I was missing the target with each attempt. The consummate archery professional.

man shooting an arrow

In all seriousness though, the archery was a close second to axe throwing in the fun-ness stakes. The only downside being the much larger queue.

Tree climbing, Fire walking… Lake swimming?

These were the activities I was desperate to do but didn’t get a chance to for one reason or another.

fire walking sign at the goodlife experience

woman walking across hot coals

Turns out the tree climbing was just for kids. Obviously that wasn’t going to stop me but I was restrained by my concerned girlfriend who didn’t want me wrestling 8 year olds to get to the top of the tree first.

climbing tree and bales of hay

Apparently you had to book the fire walking in advance which I had no clue about and for the lake swimming, I just didn’t fancy donning the wetsuit. These are a must for next year though as they looked so bloody fun.

lake and boat house

Local craft

One thing that really stood out to me was the sheer amount of local craft on display. The Goodlife Experience really champions independent businesses and gave them a great platform to get their wares in front of a hugely receptive audience – myself included. I couldn’t help but buy a t-shirt on my first day.

But it wasn’t just clothing, there were blacksmiths, artists, explorers and anyone else interesting plonked in the market tents offering some of the coolest, most unique products you’re likely to find.

sewing workshop at the goodlife experience

We even got invited up to a lavender farm. Don’t think you’d get that at any other festival, do you?

netherton foundry cast iron skillets

Books

There were books EVERYWHERE at the Goodlife Experience. There were vans selling books out of their pop up, there were book merchants set up in the markets and there was even a book club where the only requirement to take a book was that you read it and pass it on to a friend.

pics and ink book shop

This is all a bit Utopian this isn’t it?

van with book shop in

Campfire cooking sessions

I fancy myself as a cook I’m not gonna lie. I have come quite far from the microwaved bacon and beans connoisseur that I once was and am proud of that fact.

campfire cooking at the goodlife experience

BUT, some of these actual cooks completely blew me away – from ‘seasonality & sustainability’ to crab masterclasses and dumpling workshops, the wannabe foodie in me was going berserk.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows how much of a food slut I am, so this was my idea of Valhalla.

Food

Speaking of which – there was definitely a lot more variety when it comes to food at the Goodlife Experience than other festivals I’ve been to in the past.

pile of meringues

With loads of vegan options, freshly baked pizzas and Persian curries on the go all weekend I can’t complain whatsoever. I even got the pleasure of sampling the best burger in Wales which did not disappoint.

Persian curry and shredded lamb

Curry, burgers and pizza. What’s not to like?

For your pleasure

No this wasn’t hundreds of condom masterclasses.

liquor sign

This was mostly booze based but isn’t that all you need? There was an ale house, cocktail shack, boujie coffee trucks, vintage shops and even tai chi lessons.

kansas smittys bar at the goodlife experience

Again, my peasant brain was absolutely mangled by the sheer magnitude of choice on offer but we managed to box so many things off in just a few days and the whole experience left us both feeling like we’d ascended to a higher plane of existence.

Cider van


Concluding the Goodlife Experience

Obviously my favourite aspect of the whole thing was the axe throwing, but I bloody loved everything else we went to. Usually I’ll give a fully balanced review of things I try, often finding negatives and constructive criticisms but this place was just on a whole other level.

Illuminated forrest

Cannot fault it whatsoever.

Every festival I’ve been to has basically just been listening to music and drinking 9 crates of strongbow dark fruits – the Goodlife Experience changed that.

surfboard shop

I felt like I had stepped through the void and into adulthood. This is what mature, axe wielding me wants to do with his life and there isn’t a single ounce of shame in that.

man playing an electrical game

And that’s that. As far as three day benders go, this was most definitely near the top of the pile.

chairs around a campfire

You can get your Goodlife Experience tickets for next year here. You can also follow the guys year round on Facebook, Instagram Twitter.

path out of the goodlife experience

See you there next year.

image-2017-10-17

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