Lee Kelleher


Posted on . Estimated read time: 3 minutes (454 words)

At last year's CodeCabin, (our Umbraco community developer retreat), I was chatting with Lucy Brailsford and Lotte Pitcher about having just moved house, and I had access to a jointly-owned field at the back of the house. Very quickly the suggestion of having a "festival" in the field came up, and along with my unavoidable 40th birthday, someone muttered the words... FortyFest™.
(I can't recall if it was Lucy or Lotte, but anyway, an idea was born.)

Photo of the FortyFest cow

I didn't really think much more about it until after Christmas. Although 6 months felt like a long time away, I knew I wanted a giant tipi as the centerpiece of the festival, so I contacted Luke (of Tipi Events) to come do a recce of my field and book it in. Then it was case of aligning the other big tasks... food, drinks, live bands.

Luckily, it turns out that we had some great contacts to call on, within a month or so, the hot food was scheduled in; live music sorted, courtesy of my talented friends from our local open-mic night - including my own band... and a few special guests!

It wasn't all plain sailing, FortyFest was drawing closer, we hit a showstopper - it's a long story - but the gist is that we were unable to secure vehicle access to our field. Which meant we couldn't get the tipi or portaloos into the field. (There's more to it, but like I say, it's a long story.)

Fortunately, Lucy's brother-in-law, Steve, came to the rescue by offering to host FortyFest in one of his fields, (at the dairy farm where I lived for a while, over 10 years ago). The only downside being the farm was a few miles away, so people would need to figure out transport or camping. The upside, the farm field was massive, a much better venue.

In the week running up to FortyFest, everything started to come together. I kept thinking, something has to go wrong - if that one thing goes wrong, then everything else will be okay. Then I saw the weather forecast... rain and heavy winds, urgh!

Despite the weather, FortyFest turned out to be a pretty damn awesome 40th birthday party.

Photo of the FortyFest tipi

In hindsight, I may have overcomitted myself in the music department. I was part of two bands, one 30 minute set with Paul Hagan, (my old Tremor bandmate), in our newly formed band / never rehearsed The Kecks; and then an hour set with my covers band The Dysfunctions!

Thank you everyone involved in making FortyFest happen! It was a great night!

Roll on Forty-First-Fest™ ;-)