On 9th August 2014 I went to the first Blogstock in Elstree for three main reasons.
1. To be in there from the start
I want to be one of those talking heads on TV in 50 years’ time saying ‘Oo I was there at the start, I remember the Mail Chimp hats and the Blogstock DJ mix from Matt Preston’. Just like the ones you see on the Woodstock revivals and Glastonbury nostalgia films.
2. To see old friends and maybe find some new ones
I’ve written before about how awesome the travel blogging community is, and a lot of my blogger friends were going so it was a rare and great opportunity to spend a whole weekend with them before I go off on my adventures.
Blogstock was also a unique opportunity to meet bloggers from other arts though, to learn from them and how they roll with blogging in the mummy world, the fashion world or the craft world for example.
3. Because I’m a festival blogger
I love festivals, and I love blogging. A blogger festival just makes sense.
Blogstock was organised by Micheal Ball, Paul Dow and Ruth Haffenden of Traverse fame. I went to Traverse in Brighton and had a brilliant time so I knew Blogstock would be cool, but there were a few moments under the Saturday sunshine where I just felt overwhelmed at how awesome it actually was.
Here’s Macca Sherifi and Alicia Drewnicki – two of my favourites – after achieving erect tent status.
I loved the camping part, although I know the idea frightened some people. I was shocked that some people had never camped before – camping was the basis of my childhood holidays. I’ll admit that it helped that I had a Hertz car hire tipi, especially when Hurricane Bertha came to town on Saturday night. The tipis were absolutely brilliant and I can’t thank #CampWithHertz enough for keeping me dry and safe for the weekend. A part of me just wants to live in a tipi and play a harmonica now.
You don’t have to camp at Blogstock though, there are plenty of accommodation options around if you don’t fancy slumming it with the rest of us. Don’t let that put you off.
Even if you have the slightest interest in video, photography, writing or blogging it’s well worth keeping an eye out for Ruth, Micheal (pictured) and Paul to announce next year’s for three main reasons.
1. It’ll be bigger and better
There were around 200 people this year, but I could see on Twitter word was getting around quick so I expect more next year. More people = more fun.
2. You can learn a lot
I went to talks by ReeRee Rockette on the power of niche, Monica Travel Hack on creating partnerships, Sarah Betty Andrews on setting up your own business, and Tom from Gandy’s flip flops who had done just that. They were all very interesting and certainly gave me a lot to think about, just need to find the time to act on them now.
I spoke on a panel with Belen from Generator Hostels, Hayley from Trek America and Sophie from sophontrack.com. We had an interesting chat about the ethics involved in blogging – it may not seem like it, but there’s a lot to discuss, and a lot of opposing views.
3. It’s just so cool
The sponsors had gone all out to show us the best of their brands.
- Contiki took us there and back on a big Contiki bus. Now I can say I’ve been on a Contiki tour, to Elstree.
- Mail Chimp gave us some hats which I thoroughly enjoyed all weekend.
- Expedia had a VIP section set up where you could find out about their new app while chilling with a few beers and getting your photo taken on the famous Expedia plane chairs.
- Generator Hostels had a well cool village fete type section set up. They had a coconut shy – I knocked them all off and got a free bag, which I had to give away as there was no space in my backpack! They also had a dress up box, an ice cream truck and popcorn too. Their bouncy castle was brilliant. I hadn’t been on one for years and I’m glad to report I can still do rollie pollies but bouncy castles are knackering.
On the first night there was a really fun welcome party – thanks to the torrential weather it became a rain dance – and on the second night we had a really fun pub quiz, which my team failed at miserably. Then it was the after party where we jumped around dancing to any tune that started spinning.
The whole weekend was really fun and it was so good to catch up with friends old and new for a whole three days rather than just an hour or two after work in London.
Thanks Micheal, Paul and Ruth, bring on Blogstock2015!