Port Eliot Festival: Day 1

Port Eliot Festival Entrance, Main Gate

I need to be painfully honest when writing this: Port Eliot Festival 2017 was the first festival I’ve ever attended. I, Katie, was a festival virgin.

To enter Port Eliot Festival is to fall down the rabbit hole.

The grounds of Port Eliot House and Gardens were magicked into an infinite collection of tiny universes, each with its own unique story, like strolling across a Hollywood film lot.  A universe of knick knacks and preloaded fashion and homewares await you. A universe of cutting edge fashion. One of food and confectionary. It’s eclectic in the greatest sense of the words.

There was a minor hiccough on the first day. On Thursday morning, I arrived on site half an hour before our stewards briefing, anxious and excited. I encountered my first problem at the entrance, barred at entry, do not pass go, do not collect £200. A laptop not being where it needed to be was causing a minor issue but it offered me the chance to meet a handful of fellow stewards. Two of these acquaintances would very quickly become good friends. As veterans, Asha and Moisha quickly became my compass, tour guides and trustily wise advisors.

The second bump on the road came when we were trying to find the stewards tent. You don’t truly realise how mammoth the event is until you’ve walked almost the entire thing carrying 50lbs on your back. We hiked from the entrance to the far campsite, following the road down the valley and up the other side only to find that we’d passed the rather innocuous looking tent an entire field ago. We ended up being a scant five minutes late to the briefing.

After the meeting, it came time to pitch my tent.

This is going to sound utterly ridiculous but I never realised that pop-up tents really do POP. I almost gave myself a black-eye. I used was the Regatta Malawi 2 Pop-Up Festival Tent in Paisley. It held up impressively against Cornwall’s formidably changeable weather and put some of the fancier (read: pricier) tents to shame in the heavy winds. I set up camp on a hill overlooking the festival. This was one of my better decisions – although the walk to the main event is longer than some other camping spots, it remained swamp-free for the entire festival. Now time to explore.

As the endless tents and food stands set up, we wondered the site and with Moisha and Asha’s knowhow it was infinitely easier (and more entertaining) than exploring solo. I stumbled across the Wardrobe Department and was ridiculously excited.

For more photos of the Wardrobe Department, check out head to my Port Eliot Festival: Day 1 Gallery!

The Wardrobe Department promised tutorials by Giles Deacon and Mary Katrantzou (I was super excited for this one) and a show-stopping exhibition by milliner Stephen Jones. Artfully decorated tents were hosted by Anthroplogie and Matches Fashion.

Before my shift, I stopped back at my tent to get myself festival ready. As a steward, I volunteered to work 17 hours (split into one 6 and two 5.5 shifts) spread out over the duration of the festival. My first shift was working the Main Gate, checking wristbands and giving directions from 6pm to 12am. After a cheeky burger, I called it a night at 1am  and was out like a light.

For more photos, check out head to my Port Eliot Festival: Day 1 Gallery!

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