Last weekend we jumped in the car and headed for Ledbury; country lanes, sheep and no cars for a good ten minutes at a time. Wondering what on earth we had gotten ourselves into, we were relieved when we pulled up to the lost kingdom of El Dorado and had found civilisation again. We were met by lots of friendly faces roaming the picturesque English countryside, setting up camp and preparing themselves for the evening’s antics.
In the true spirit of this enchanting festival, we headed off to do our best with the dress code of ‘wild things’. Only to be later be shown up by the amazing outfits of the night, with people smothered in glitter, draped in fairy lights and resembling an array of animals.
Before even absorbing the music, the atmosphere of the festival was like a magical utopia; with flash mob dancers, fire breathers, Ferris wheel, hay bales, life size polar bears, and amazing set production of the various stages. Treasure Island is one of our favourites; a beautifully lit stage, floating on a lake as you enter the festival.
El Dorado is curated by Cirque Du Soul and if you have ever been to one of their events, you know that they are true party starters. If that isn’t enough reassurance of the calibre of the festival, they also partnered with Dazed, The Sound You Need, Gin & Juice, Shorebitch and much more. With the likes of AJ Tracey, Artful Dodger, Congo Natty, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Shy FX, Redlight, Crazy Cousins and The Heatwave to name a few, there was always a stage fitting for your vibes. With the festival being relatively intimate, you could always float between performances with ease and ensure you got to see experience it all.
When energy levels begin to run low, the smells of the food stalls become far too tempting. There was an amazing range of global street food, from lots of independents who you may have come across around London. We ate some the best mac ’n’ cheese of our lives from Mac To The Future and was in awe of Pan ’n’ Ice’s stir fry ice cream, made freshly right in front of us.
By day, the festival does not stop; live performances, DJ sets and activities continue. For a heavy hangover, there are plenty of hammocks to rest in, a massage parlour or a morning yoga session to revitalise. And for those still bursting with energy, there’s tight rope walking, slip ’n’ slide, a ball pit, space hopper races and volleyball tournaments. We definitely recommend using that annual leave wisely next year on a long weekend away. Forget about those everyday woes and embrace your freedom under the golden arches of El Dorado.