THE festival seasons draws to a close with arguably the coolest event of the summer and it's right here in Essex.
Brownstock is back this weekend for its ninth year, taking place once again at Morris Farm, South Woodham Ferrers from Friday, August 30 through to Sunday, September 1. What started off as a low-key family affair in 2005 with local bands playing on the back of a trailer has now grown into a major event on the festival calendar attracting global stars to perform and drawing crowds of thousands.
This weekend, the Brown family will welcome 6,000 visitors, 96 acts and 36 DJs to their farm for three days of eclectic entertainment across eight stages and more than 20 special festival areas.
What sets Brownstock apart from other festivals, both nationally and locally, is its ethos and atmosphere. It may have grown in scale since 2005 but its based on the same founding values and run by the Brown family along with music director Mat Dixon, one of Essex's best-known and most successful DJs and promoters.
They describe Brownstock as a rustic, homegrown and overgrown family party with a handmade feel and personal touch which makes for a unique experience.
All the family pitch in to make the festival happen. The festival is full of different entertainment areas which are themed and dreamt up by Anna Brown in her farm workshop. Even Nanna Brown, an ex-art teacher, gets roped in to hand-paint the festival signs. As a result of their handiwork, you might find yourself taking a seat at the table of a cosy, fully furnished mock farmhouse in the middle of the main arena or sat in front of the impressive Treehouse Stage built into one of the site's huge oak trees.
New for this year at Brownstock is the Mussel Beach Reggae Bar complete with beach, deckchairs and hot tubs.
There's some great food on offer at Brownstock too, much better than the usual fare you find at festivals. The family have one of the largest Aberdeen Angus beef herds in the country, so the beef on offer comes with zero food miles. You can try a Brownstock burger or sit down for a three course meal in the festival's pop-up restaurant run by chef Jimmy Garcia. There are plenty of other food vendors on site too.
Brownstock is all about having a good time and the fancy dress theme is Cowboys and Aliens, so dust off your stetson and green onesie to join in the spirit of things. Festival director Adam Brown said: We have been overwhelmed with how popular the festival has become. You only have to look at the festival map to get a taste for what we have in store for this year's festival. We are delighted with the headline acts but as always this is only the start with new areas like The Saloon Bar which should keep people partying day and night. I think everyone should be storing some sleep in preparation for quite a weekend!
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