Swapping mud for palm trees at Grinagog Festival, Torquay

As you probably know by now, we LOVE a family festival so when we were were invited by our friends at Big Fish Little Fish to pop along for family day at Grinagog Festival in Torquay we couldn’t resist it.

Grinagog Festival might be in its first year but despite it’s ‘fledgling festival’ status, it was professionally run and very well thought through, it was obvious that there was an awesome team behind it. Working in collaboration with Torbay Council, the creators behind the scenes are award-winning festival producers Continental Drifts plus some of the people who brought you Glastonbury’s Shangri-la, Bestival’s Caravanserai, Boomtown’s Ballroom Stage and Wilderness’ Carousel” – with that dream team it has to be a good gig!

The festival boasted over 200 acts from Torquay across 15 stages, including stunning 12th century Torre Abbey (which I felt a little bit in love with), harbourside nightclubs, rock venues and the Riviera Centre. There were also art installations, street performers, talks, films, workshops, award-winning food and outdoor pursuits


Torre Abbey

Torquay is part of the Geo Park-status English Riviera, it is a very popular seaside tourist destination in Devon and with its gorgeous sandy beaches and marina, I can see why.


The Riviera Centre

After having a few car issues we got to Torre Abbey in time to collect our tickets and rushed to the Riviera Centre  (5 minutes away through the grounds of the abbey) to catch 2 Bad Mice‘s set at the Big Fish Little Fish family rave. As usual, the guys didn’t disappoint. With giant balloons, glitter, craft activities for the kids and some banging tunes, we had a great time. After having a bit of a boogie we headed back to the abbey to explore and have ourselves some sun.


Torre Abbey is a stunning setting, and as someone who organises festivals myself, I will admit I was a little bit envious of such a great space to hold an event. With lots of open space for walkaround and marquees, plus a barn for bands and some rooms indoors, there is lots room to have a plethora of activities and plenty of opportunity to give a stage to local talent.

First stop was the circus entertainers at the main entrance. Here we found a queue of Dads flexing their muscles and waiting with their kids to have a go on the high striker. The strong man test, where you whack a button with a hammer in an effort to ring the bell suspended on top of the tower. Dude was suitably impressed that Daddy could hit it in one go (all those the hours in the gym are obviously paying off).


Then we spotted the Grinagog trail which involved a walk through the stunning gardens and the greenhouse, finding clues to the story of the Grinagog.

Created in collaboration with the local schools it was a lovely way to get the local community involved. We especially enjoyed the greenhouses and the cacti!

After that, we headed to the barn and caught a band. Our smallest is a bit of a rocker, she loves her music and we weren’t allowed to leave until they had finished (between songs, I managed to squeeze in lessons on the difference between lead, rhythm and bass guitar and how amps work).

We got some lunch on the grass in the sun and enjoyed listening to the DJs, popped indoors to catch a singer and a bit of a movie then we headed to the beach where we had a quick dip (first of the year) before heading back to the festival.

On the way back, Dude had a go on the spheres (those massive inflatable balls that you put on and roll into each other in) and we boogied at the Hawaiian themed bar.

Our favourite bit was the festival procession, with music and drums and a guest appearance from the Grinagog himself, it was great to watch and join in with.

Grinagog Festival is one to look out for next year, it’s in April and it’s great for families of all ages. We only came to one day, it is actually a three day festival and there is lots to do in the evening too if you’re child free and want to party.

Thanks to Neil and co. at awesome Big fish little fish for the invitation!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,