If asked, and forced to give an answer, what my favourite festival is I will reliably answer that it is The Midwinter Fair, held at Archeon in Alphen aan den Rijn. It’s always so cosy and yet so much fun at the same time. Even though it tends to feel a bit disorganised in the lead up – and it’s not always possible to see exactly what’s going to be on that far in advance – I have never been disappointed with it.
This year was a bit of an unusual one in terms of how I experienced it compared to previous years. In fact, there seems to be a pattern forming in terms of festivals being a bit out of the ordinary for me this year! While there was still a lot on in terms of story telling and things to see/do, I spent shorter days on site and, therefore, spent most of my time socialising, browsing the market, and listening to music.
The Saturday was a fantastic day, if only because there were so many people attending that day who I had no idea would be there as well as some I had planned to see. It was truly fortuitous that I managed to encounter some people and have a little catch up and I was happily surprised! Of course, Saturday was already a social day as Heleen and I were joined by Laura, who appears to have thoroughly got the fantasy festival scene bug! Watching her discover the music and dance, as well as explore the market made everything seem brand new and fresh once more which is something quite special.
In terms of music, this weekend featured some old favourites such as Rapalje and Pyrolysis, newer discoveries such as Sunfire, and the complete new discoveries whose names will have to be added here when I have the program to hand. As I’m still adventuring I don’t have the time to do justice to the bands in question so suffice to say, the music was delightful as always.
For all the Saturday was delightful due to its great social aspects, the Sunday was enchanting due to the snow. Admittedly, I should have guessed that, due to the country’s somewhat windy nature, the snow would be a little less friendly than that in the UK (did someone say blizzard?). That aside, it was stunningly beautiful and oh so fitting. We got slightly stranded that evening because of the weather – as did a few people – and were rather lucky that we could get a lift with Heleen’s brother. The wait was made rather fun as we met a couple of other stranded festival goers and, while Heleen was the sensible adult, keeping an eye on the road and holding my bags (love you Heleen!), I might have joined them in attempting to make a rather large snow man. It was quite successful… except we forgot to give it a head….