WE all need something to smile about at the moment, right?
Thanks to the team at Warwick Castle we can laugh our socks off in an outdoor environment suitably socially distanced and safe in the knowledge that no rules are being broken in the pursuit of much-needed live entertainment. What’s not to love?
A new lifestyle festival, which opened yesterday, is one of the castle’s innovative approaches to COVID-friendly music and comedy. Set against a backdrop of one of the UK’s most stunning vistas, one doesn’t sense any form of sacrifice in terms of venue.
In fact, I’d love to see more outdoor festivals such as this become a permanent feature in summers to come as a welcome complement to the theatres.
Picnic At The Castle, which runs for eight days and nights over the next two weeks, offers top tunes, big laughs and delicious locally-sourced food, all enjoyed from your very own fairy-light-clad COVID-compliant pergola.
Situated in the shadow of the magnificent castle on the banks of the River Avon, this natural scene is more beautifully set than any theatrical backdrop you’ll ever see, as we settle back for two hours of our choice of either live stand-up or music.
As one of the comic’s said, if we get bored of the entertainment, we can stare at the view instead!
Groups of up to six can book a pergola, while couples can sit out under a personal parasol and, depending on what time of day you decide to come, there’s a suitable tasty treat to accompany your experience.
Festival Sessions include:
Yoga Session: 8:00-10am – find balance and reconnect with nature, followed by a delicious healthy breakfast.
Graze session: 12:15-2:15pm – Sit back and enjoy two musical performances while sampling a tasty graze box.
Gorge session: 3:15- 5:15pm – Sit back and enjoy two musical performances or stand-up comedy while sampling tasty treats.
Banquet session: 7-9.30pm – Enjoy stand-up comedy shows or live music acts while munching on a delicious hog roast and making use of the caravan bar. Particularly look out for Phil Wang, headlining on Sunday night.
Last night’s feast of comedy, headlined by hysterical sister act Flo & Jo, certainly hit the spot – as did the interval hog roast!
And there was even the bonus of the weather staying kind for us too.
As dusk fell, with our bellies full and our ribs tickled, there were few places we’d rather be at that moment in time.
If I was to add any suggestions for an even more enhanced experience, I would like to see better lighting. It was difficult to make out the comedians when night fell as they chose to perform off-stage. And the ‘sweet treat’ which followed our hog roast did slightly disappoint.
However, these are minor imperfections on what was an otherwise much-welcomed distraction from the issues of the day.
At between £30 and £50 for adults, the price is better value than it might at first seem because it also includes castle entry, either on the same or following day. (In itself worth £22)
With a new emphasis on al fresco entertainment in the present climate, this is one of those I would be inclined to recommend. A truly lovely evening – but bring along your brolly just in case.
Picnic at the Castle is only available via pre-booking online. For line-ups and bookings visit: www.warwick-castle.com/explore/events/picnic-at-the-castle.