Hesfes did not start well for us. I realised I'd forgotten a whole host of things, not least my pillows. Then I discovered the expensive double height queen mattresses, had yet another puncture and were going down, and the replacement the bell tent company sent me, also slowly released air and did not stay firm. I was not a happy bunny. Add in that I hadn't packed any boots because the forecast was for bright hot sunshine... forgetting the week before had been rain. The site was pretty muddy when we arrived, so I was quickly covered up to my ankles in mud.
After a very uncomfortable night, I drove home and picked up everything I'd forgotten, plus replacement sleeping mat for the airbeds. Honestly, I would probably have packed up and gone home, however, I'd also taken a friend's 12yr old with me to Hesfes, so I resolved to try and improve my mood, and not spoil the holiday for the kids.
Will I go again? Hmm, honestly, I don't know, while I had a fabulous time camping and Rye did really enjoy it and has asked to go back, I was left with a faint sense of disappointment. Even our 12yr old friend said she didn't think this year was that good. She enjoyed herself, and really got involved, even holding her own drama workshop with her friends, for the older kids (there wasn't one for older kids this year), and it was very popular. They also did an act in the carbaret etc. It wasn't that hesfes itself wasn't good, I personally feel it was the location that wasn't really that suitable. I also, wasn't that keen on the young teens near us that using exceedingly foul language, and the songs they were singing were exceedingly obscene; had Rye been near the tent at that time I would have had to ask them to stop. I heard, someone did eventually say something to them, as they were hanging around near the workshop marquis singing their obscene sexually explicit songs. There was pot smoking going on too. The scent was rather overpowering at times. Frankly, I couldn't give a toss if folks want to smoke pot, I do feel, however, that a festival that is for children is not really the place, although I only smelled it in the evening, so I suspect it was adults, not kids indulging.
Saying all that, the atmosphere was wonderful, folks were so friendly, the kids in the main were great, and all ages played together, especially during the water fights. And I would recommend Hesfes, sure there are were parts I weren't keen on, and I really hope they change the venue; overall though, it is simply amazing to see so many home ed families, and to be in a safe environment for kids to be pretty much free range. I barely saw Rye during the day! I met several other families and made new friends.
Oh and I thoroughly recommend taking precautions against horseflies. I was bitten about 23 times and ended up like this: