We travelled up to the festival site on Thursday afternoon eager to get everything set up in advance before the festival officially opened on Friday morning. The day mostly comprised of a battle against the elements as we fought to set up our tent despite the relentless battering of wind and rain.
Our position on top of the hill afforded us spectacular views of the festival village and lake, but also subjected us to the full wrath of the wind. We finished up at 8PM, after dumping everything in the zipped up tent we retreated with fingers crossed it would all still be there in one piece come morning.
Nerves were evident on the drive to the village on Friday morning, but they were soon put to rest as we drove over the hill and spotted a large orange triangle in the distance. Our tent had survived the night. Not only that, but the weather was even starting to pick up and there were rumours we may even see the sun at some point in the day.
We got to work setting up our site and positioning the flags and tree trunk seats. Matthew arrived with the Blacksticks branded Defender and cheese samples. Enough cheese samples to feed an army, which turned out to be a good thing as one box met an untimely end when he tried to use it as a seat only for it to collapse…
The rest of the festival gear arrived shortly afterwards with Gill and Bronwen, including the selfie frames and props! As there were no sporting events on the Friday, we thought we would step in and set up our own TRYathlon event. We challenged visitors to try Blacksticks Blue with three very different pairings: Salami, fig chutney and Grasmere gingerbread.
All three pairings were a hit with visitors, especially the salami. We had a steady stream of Blacksticks Blue enthusiasts throughout the day and many who had never tried it before became converts. Of course, as is the nature of blue cheese, we couldn’t win everyone over and there were a few screwed up faces!
The fabled sun we were promised earlier in the day finally made an appearance, and the beauty that is the Lake District completely revealed itself. We finished the day off weaving in and out of crowds enjoying the music offering Blacksticks Blue and date snack packs as a tasty accompaniment to their beer!
We were up not so bright, but definitely early on the Saturday for the short triathlon that we were sponsoring. Not only that, but Matthew, Daniel and Tim were all taking part and eager to get the race underway.
Not letting the cold or wet phase them the boys set out whilst the rest of the team cheered them on from the edge of the water. Every triathlete took to the water wearing their Blacksticks Blue swimming cap to a chorus of noise from the Blacksticks Blue bang bang sticks that had been distributed through the crowd.
During the race Elle and Nicky spent the time distributing the snack packs to the spectators and weary race finishers for whom the snack was a welcome pick me up. All three of the Blacksticks Boys crossed the line wearing smiles, their bright blue, purple and orange tri suits standing out against the sea of black and blue.
It was a busy afternoon at the Blacksticks Blue tent as many curious festival goers made their way over to see what the fuss was about. The response was overwhelming, with many visitors returning time and time again, clearly taken with our blue cheese. Blue cheese virgins, connoisseurs and even children giving wildly positive feedback. In fact, by 6PM we were down to our last half box of samples!
Things took a turn for the (even) worse weather wise on Sunday. So much so that the festival village was deemed unsafe with winds up to 50mph. Site security had been forced to take the Blacksticks Blue tent down, luckily without injury as the wild weather threatened to tear it from the earth.
The triathletes who were undertaking the long triathlon did not let this deter them. The brave bunch set off with huge smiles on their faces despite the freak weather conditions. The spectators also came out in force, forever proving that the KMF lot are a hardy bunch that won’t be put off by a little bit of poor weather, real outdoor men and women!
We channeled some of this tremendus spirit and decided that if they weren't going to be put off then neither were we! We proceeded to give out the rest of our samples to the crowds that still surrounded the festival. 2 hours and 4 boxes of samples later it was clear that Blacksticks Blue had been a huge success at the festival.
Unfortunately, it was an early finish as the festival village was not to reopen, we would have to return Monday morning to collect the tent and other things. We set off back, all a little wet and windswept, but each thankful for what was a great weekend regardless!
We’ll definitely be considering returning to Keswick Mountain Festival in some way next year. The people in attendance and running the festival are nothing short of inspirational and the atmosphere was second to none.