The Cambridge Club Festival made a dazzling return to its home in Childerley Orchard, basking in glorious sunshine and welcoming a whopping 25,000 people over the weekend (9 – 11 June 2023). With headliners like Grace Jones, Lionel Richie, and Kool & The Gang, it was a full on weekend of pure disco, funk and soul musical magic.
First up talk atmosphere and vibe—it was on point! The Cambridge Club isn’t a kids’ festival; it’s an adults’ festival that welcomes kids with open arms. This means most of the attendees were without children, but they were incredibly tolerant and friendly toward the little ones. Plus it meant that parents stick together and the kids can form meaningful friendships with other little attendees. And it was heartwarming to see such a diverse crowd, spanning different ages and backgrounds, all coming together to enjoy the music. Depending on where you find yourself withinthe festival, the atmosphere varies from hectic and upbeat, to slow and relaxed. Our favorite daytime hangout is the Orchard, where our kid had a blast with skateboarding lessons, summer camp sessions, and family games at the Discovery Den stage. Picture this: chilling under the shade of fruit trees, with our picnic blanket and chairs set up, while our son ran around, made new friends, and competed in various games – all to the sound of epic tunes and the smells of delicious foods. It was a true slice of outdoor heaven! And let’s not forget the incredible music in the Orchard, we particularly enjoyed the Dick and Dom DJ battle which was equal parts amusement and delight.
Now, let’s talk about the lineup of artists and performers— Grace Jones, Lionel Richie, and Kool & The Gang were all phenomenal headliners, but our personal favorite was Lionel Richie. And guess what? We were lucky enough to meet him backstage and say “hello!” it was indeed him we were looking for 🙂
The main stage on Friday night was on fire thanks to the Mississippi R&B legend Alexander O’Neal and his classic hits. But the real showstopper was the fearless Grace Jones, who mesmerized us with her hypnotic performance. She even climbed on the shoulders of security to get up close and personal with the crowd—now, that’s what I call an unforgettable moment! True to reputation she maintained her diva approach and wowed the crowds.
Beyond the music, there were plenty of notable activities and attractions to keep us entertained. The family-friendly fun in the Orchard was an absolute hit! We started our mornings with invigorating yoga sessions, and we even tried our hand at basket weaving and origami at the Mind tent. It was a delightful mix of relaxation and creativity.
As for the organisation and logistics, we were well impressed compared to last year. On-site parking made our lives so much easier compared to when we had to take a bus and park in an airfield—what a hassle that was! The camping arrangements were well organized, and we felt safe and secure throughout the festival. The overall vibe was relaxed, and we truly appreciated that.
Childerley Orchard, the festival venue, was just perfect. It has a manageable size that allowed us to explore everything without any fear of missing out. We set the pace—whether we wanted to party hard or take it easy, the festival catered to our preferences. And let’s not forget the food and drink options—they were top-notch! From mouthwatering pizza and juicy burgers to fresh sushi and flavorful Caribbean cuisine, there was something for every palate. My only wish was to see more local vendors, but overall, we were more than satisfied with the quality and variety of offerings.
The festival offered a unique and special experience for families like ours. While we didn’t catch any comedy acts, the variety of performances kept us entertained. The crowd was diverse and welcoming, which made us feel comfortable and safe throughout the event. We felt a sense of camaraderie among fellow festival-goers, of being in the same place and simultaneously experiencing something where freedom, creativity and music is celebrated. It was magical.
There were a couple of standout moments and memories from the festival that we would love to highlight. One of the highlights was when our son participated in the family games, particularly the dancing competition which made us belly laugh as we saw him showcase his moves and have a blast on stage. We also loved meeting other families and the kid enjoyed playing in the campsite with his little buddies – new festi friends which he struggled saying goodbye to on Monday morning.
One aspect that truly sets The Cambridge Club Festival apart is the friendly nature as it is very inclusive and an opportunity to create lasting memories together. From the amazing lineup of artists and standout performances to the family-friendly atmosphere and diverse range of activities, it exceeded our expectations in every way. The organization and logistics were well executed, and the venue, Childerley Orchard, provided a suitable and picturesque setting for a festival of this scale. The food and drink options were varied and of excellent quality, although we would have liked to see more local vendors. Overall, we felt comfortable, safe, and thoroughly entertained throughout the event.
The festival truly offers a unique and special experience for music lovers and families alike. We’re already counting the days til the 2024 edition and earlybird tickets are already on sale for £150 per adult ticket. More info and bookings here.