Room to roam
- Sara McMillan
- 23 August 2007
There’s more to this festival than soggy sleeping bags and leaky roofs. Stay over in style at Connect. Sara McMillan takes a tour of the overnight options and indulges in some spa life
Summer festivals are attended by two kinds of people. Those who think camping is fun and those who think it is a near manifestation of hell on earth. If you’re the former, you revel in every muddy, messy moment. If you’re the latter, you are conflicted from the moment you realise every band you’ve ever liked will be at the same, three-day outdoor festival.
But despite uncertain weather and memories of childhood camping disasters, the messy business of camping has undergone a revival in recent years. For starters, it’s cheap. It’s (theoretically, at least) fun. It’s eco-friendly. It’s an escape from the microwavable, ready-meal version of modern life. And when it’s combined with three days of live music, activities designed to reconnect you with life, and an awe inspiring highland view over Loch Fyne, it’s unmissable.
All but the most hardened camping aficionados find camping at least a little bit challenging. Praise be then for Tangerine Fields who may be the solution (read: saving grace), offering eveything from a basic two-to-six person pitched dome tent, to tipis and podpads, camping really couldn’t be much easier.
Pitched tent packages come complete with a spacious dome tent, airbed, and new sleeping bags. Podpads offer solid protection from the elements with a 8’ by 6’ wooden hut with raised double or twin beds, carpet, interior light, shelves with mirror, and optional 12V socket for those unwilling to accept a dying mobile phone battery. Quirky, cosy and secure, podpads are a welcome solution for reluctant campers.
Spacious tipi accommodation can, by comparison, feel like a luxurious suite in a top hotel. The unmistakable appeal of a tipi isn’t just that it sleeps five to seven people comfortably. Somehow, its association with Native American Plains Indians makes tipi camping civilised, spiritual and connected to a nomadic, poetic life. Or maybe it’s just the optional furnishings, like sheepskins, tables, chairs and Moroccan lanterns that make the lure of the tipi irresistible. It’s hard to tell.
The line between luxury and spiritual connectedness is increasingly blurred. So much so that Connect also boasts its own spa. The Rest and Be Thankful Spa is a cluster of tipis, together with a cosy garden, picnic tables and some garden swings. Therapists will offer on-site Swedish, sports and Indian head massage, reiki, reflexology and hot stone therapy. A salon tipi will keep the well groomed fresh-faced (and toed) with hairstyling, manicures, pedicures, makeovers and mini-facials. A chillout tipi will be decked out with comfy cushions; perfect for quiet conversation, blissed out naps, or even, perhaps, to erase the scars of your past camping disasters forever.
• Pitched two, four and six person tents, £45–£180
• Tent packages, with airbeds and sleeping bags, £95–£320
• Tipis, sleeping five-seven people from £450
• Optional tipi furnishings – £170
• Podpads – £345
Rest and Be Thankful Spa
• Spa treatments, £8–£30
• Opening Hours: Friday 2–8pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am–8pm.
• Bookings taken at the spa reception