You can judge how successful a music festival has been by the vibe the morning after the night before.
Yesterday saw people floating round the campsite, taking down tents, packing, tidying (I didn't see a single abandoned can, bottle or plastic cup in the field) and exchanging beatific smiles:
'We were there. We shared the experience. It was s-o-o very good, wasn't it?'
There were 5 of us.
Me, G, First Born, Little Guy and Surrogate Sister.
Almost as soon as we arrived, I knew having a girl with us would make for a very different experience ...
SS's tent was a pink and lilac confection plastered in Bratz logos.
Before we'd so much as unrolled the sleeping bags, LG's nails had been painted shiny silver.
No worries - the Wye Fayre was always going to be a place where my boys having long hair and painted nails would barely raise an eyebrow.
And howzabout the weather?
After a week of flooding, the sun shone benevolently down on us all.
SS's cheeks turned a brighter shade of pink than her tent almost as soon as we'd unpacked the car.
Another new experience - I don't know if blondes have more fun, but they sure as hell burn faster.The tent field was directly opposite the main Fayre site across a tiny road, so wherever you were, you could always hear music.
I've always thought life would be much improved if it had a soundtrack, and this was as close as you can get.
The venue and the way it was set up meant that it felt totally safe.
We plastered the kids in sunscreen and let them off the leash, bumping into them every couple of hours (usually when they were hungry).
They hit the sack round about midnight on Friday night.
And woke at 4.30am!
After growling, 'Get back in your bags' at regular intervals, I finally gave up and they were off again fueled, I suspect, by copious amounts of Red Bull.
I'm sure the organisers and performers would have preferred the place to be heaving, but from a punter's point of view, not being packed was a huge plus and added to the feeling that we were in a space so laid back and easy going it had none of the negativity you can sometimes encounter at larger events.
I have a suggestion for next year ...
The food consisted of a van selling burgers, chips and tannine stew and another doing healthier options of salads and soups.
If there had been a real coffee and cakes option, I reckon it would have done a roaring trade. (With us anyway ...)
Alcohol drinkers were more than well-catered for;
a gigantic beer tent with stacked barrels offering a bewildering array of choices;
a converted VW van which opened out to reveal a fully-stocked cocktail bar;
and (my personal fave) The Bimble Inn - a massive tipi with a champagne bar down one side and a stage at the far end.
The floor was covered in rush matting, blankets and cushions and the wooden tent poles were festooned with twisted muslin and fairy lights, creating the ultimate chill-out zone (esp after the sun went down and the temperature plummeted).
Younger children were also more than well-catered for with some wonderful imaginative entertainments.
So on to our personal musical highlights - bearing in mind there were 4 stages running concurrently - a veritable smörgåsbord of audio treats:
Middleman (thumping bass)
Alf (gorgeous voice from the lead singer who wrote Ray of Light recorded by Madonna)
The Moon Music Orchestra (see pic)
Ralfe Band (guitar riff reminiscent of a Ry Cooder and Pink Floyd mix)
James Yuill (man with laptop)
and Alberta Cross (kids bought cd)
The undoubted ultimate highlight for the kids was making friends with Seamus from Any Dream Will Do.
There were the inevitable glitches, as with any event this size, the most obvious being the delay in the arrival of diesel for the generator on Saturday morning, with the result that it took some time before any of the acts could perform on the main stage and several had to be bumped sideways onto the smaller stages.
Further evidence of the chilled-out vibe - I saw no aggression, no prima donna tantrums - only laid-back spontaneity and good humour.
The organisers say this about themselves and their aim:
'Wye Fayre is brought to you by people who love music festivals the way they used to be - high standards, non-commercialised, good value for money, family support, great food, great creativity and bulging imagination.'
As far as we're concerned, they fulfilled this on every level.
Want further evidence?
I don't usually post pix of the kids here, but couldn't resist this, taken on the journey home.
Forgot to mention we were delighted to see Dan Maitland perform on one of the stages.Dan's a member of EDWG - a talented writer as well as accomplished musician.