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Cerys Matthews Talks About The Good Life Experience Festival, perfect for families [INTERVIEW]

Junior spoke to the singer and BBC Radio 6 DJ about her upcoming festival at New Hawarden Castle, North Wales

Posted: 15 September 2015
by Alison Potter

Cerys cooking up a storm at The Good Life Festival last year

Cerys Matthews doesn’t like to rest on her laurels. In fact the very opposite is true. Over the course of the summer the musician and presenter has been a pretty busy lady juggling a number of projects, including the return of the festival she co-founded, The Good Life Experience Festival.

We sat down with the mum-of-three to hear all about the upcoming event, which takes place 18-20 September, 2015, in the beautiful Welsh countryside.

What is The Good Life Experience and how did it come about?

Basically I wanted to give a platform to all the amazing emerging artists and performers I come across doing my Sunday morning radio show on BBC Radio 6. But not only that, I wanted to create a festival that was value for money because my husband and I have five children between us and you can easily spend hundreds of pounds at a festival without being extravagant.

So it mattered to you that the festival was affordable?

Yes definitely. The Good Life Experience is very reasonable – adult tickets are £45, the cost for children aged 9-16 inclusive is £22.50 and under-8s go free, plus there’s the option to buy a family ticket for £100. Then once you’re in everything is free and open to everyone. You can give yoga, abseiling or even axe-throwing a go, get stuck in to a tug of war, try your hand at leather working or bushcraft, hear a talk from adventurer Ben Fogle, or watch food demonstrations and learn about butchery and campfire cooking. It’s the perfect place to have fun and try new things without spending a fortune.

Axe & Paddle Bushcraft will be teaching camping workshops and outdoor skills

Where is the festival being held?

In the beautiful rolling hills of Flintshire, at the magical estate of New Hawarden Castle in Hawarden, North Wales. It’s the estate of former British Prime Minister William Gladstone and current home of his descendants Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, who co-founded the festival with me and my husband Steve.

What are you most looking forward to at the festival?

I love barbecuing and it’s one of my favourite ways to relax, so I’m bringing my personal barbecue to the festival with me and I’ll be doing a spot of cooking at the Tin Cup Whisky Shack this year. That’s probably where you’ll find me serving up tortillas or tacos – I love fresh Mexican food and I’m delighted that Thomasina Miers, the founder of Wahaca, will be joining me too.

 The focus of the festival is on experiencing the great outdoors and learning new skills. Why do you think it’s important to get children outside and being active?

It’s increasingly important because we all spend so much time sitting down and staring at computer screens. I’m not standing there wagging my finger though, because I love my gadgets and so do my children, but it’s important to have a balance between playing on the iPad or Xbox and running around outside. The Good Life Experience is a little festival where you can let children aged seven and older enjoy a bit of freedom and safely learn new skills and take part in activities that they might not ordinarily be able to try. There’s even going to be a children’s café for children run by children – no adults allowed! I wanted this to be a safe environment, which encourages children to be independent and responsible. As a parent that’s my goal – to prepare my children for adulthood.

Celebrating good music, culture, food and the great outdoors

Apart from the festival, what other work projects are you currently excited about?

I’ve got my own label and I’m releasing a new album by a band called Ghazalaw. It’s a fusion of Welsh and Indian music and it’s gorgeous. If you’re looking for really cool music to chill out to this is the ticket. It’s an unlikely collaboration between a singer from Mumbai called Tauseef Akhtar and Welsh singer-songwriter Gwyneth Glyn and it’s wonderful.

The Good Life Festival takes place at New Hawarden Castle, Hawarden, North Wales from 18-20 September, 2015. Find out more and book tickets at


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BBC Radio 6, Cerys Matthews, family days out, family festival, New Hawarden Castle, North Wales, The Good Life Experience Festival, the great outdoors, outdoor skills, camping

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