Each year on the last bank holiday of May is The Big Church Day (BCDO) – a music festival held at Wiston House, West Sussex. Previous years The Wave Youth went for one day, however this year we decided that we would go all out and camp for the weekend!
When you think music festival and camping you can probably imagine thousands of wellie wearing festival goers wading through the mud. Thankfully this wasn’t the case at BCDO! We arrived the Friday evening in beautiful warm sunshine, and the only moisture visible was the sweat dripping off our faces as we pulled trolleys stacked with our camping gear. Once we found a suitable pitch everyone chipped in to get tents up, cook dinner and making plenty of tea to keep Dave Brock happy. All the excitement and hard work was enough to tire everyone out for a good night’s sleep until the following day’s expected sunshine would bake us out of our tents.
The following morning however wasn’t sunshine that got us up. At 5am the sound of thunder and lightning was crashing all around us, followed by a torrential downpour! Berno scrambled out of his tent to cover everything outside with a ground sheet, to prevent food and utensils from floating around in plastic boxes. Once the rain died down, mostly everyone had given into the adrenaline rush from the storm and emerged from their tents, hoping they weren’t about to step out into a river. Instead they were greeted with stunning cloud formations and the promise of breakfast.
The festival properly kicked off at midday Saturday. By 10am we were itching for it all to start due to the early nature alarm going off. Once we stuffed ourselves with lunch and had a packed dinner ready, we set off to be part of the action. There were loads going on; five different stages with bands; free activities including bushcraft, mountain biking and a climbing wall; loads of tasty food venders; a huge marquee filled with different Christian organisations making a difference around the world; all based around the impressive Wiston House. When all the bands finished playing late at night, there was a campfire going with someone playing an acoustic set. Despite the long day some of us went to see Tim Vine and John Archer in action for a bit of comedy, which seemed the popular choice as the tent was bursting at its seams, stuffed with people.
On Sunday morning, after a great night’s sleep and no thundering alarms going off, we started emerging from our tents at 8:30am. We had another long day ahead of us and needed to be back in Swanage for 12:30am, so after breakfast we spent the rest of the morning packing up the camp. Once again our little trollies were packed high with all the gear as we scurried to and fro putting everything away before the music started. During that time we also managed to have a cooked lunch thanks to our ‘Expert Rookie Camping Chef’ Rich. Once everything was all packed away we headed straight for the main stage.
We spent the rest of the day watching bands, bumping into random friends, eating churros, and enjoying a rain shower or two. As the day went on we realised that there was so much more that we could have done, and despite missing out on some of the activities, everyone had a great time, until it come to driving home that evening.
Due to the heavy showers during the course if the day it made the grass where the minibus was parked very slick. Before even attempting to leave, ‘Expert Rookie Camping Chef’ Rich helped push three cars out of the slick grass to clear the way for the minibus. When it came to our turn the bus decided to follow the trend of getting stuck. Thankfully there were other people waiting for us to get out of their way and so they were obliged to help push the heavy minibus onto some more stable terrain. This little delay meant that everyone could enjoy BCDO a little longer as they arrived back in Swanage in the early hours of Monday morning.