A riverbed community of amazing people living in vans and old buses, a doula school, wild children, a heart shaped swimming pool, music, pony rides, crafting, dance and the most spectacular home cooked vegetarian food all packed into one beautiful weekend of freedom, fun and sunshine in Órgiva, Spain.
We have already decided we are going back next year! It is a beautiful place, with a welcoming community of easy going, talented and kind people right at the heart of it.
The festival is organised by Vanessa who has founded Da-a-luz, Europe’s first holistic midwifery school.
We met up in a little village bar, near Órgiva on the Thursday evening and followed a convoy of vans excitedly along a dusty stone track leading along the river bed.
We parked up on the edge of the track by the river that flows down from the surrounding mountains, jumped in to cool off and waved goodbye to the kids as they ran off to hang out with the neighbours, collecting stones and running around with bamboo swords.
We had arrived! It was beautiful hanging out in the balmy evening sun with our new friends, listening to the babble of the river over rocks, staring up at the pink and gold mountains of the sinking sun.
Over the weekend the children had a chance to get involved in beating their own copper jewellery with the wonderful Kai, who only meant to do a morning session but ended up doing five back to back sessions as she didn’t want any child to leave the festival without having had a chance to have a turn!
There was spoon carving, graffiti, arts and crafts, film nights, drumming circle, punk aerobics, storytelling, board games, swimming, hair braiding, children’s yoga, wacky races, archery, kids disco and a huge science explosion… All for free!
We even got the chance to learn some horse care and try a pony ride for 3 euros courtesy of the local Pegasus Riding Centre (who also offer amazing kids treks & tapas ride outs!)
The Arc Cafe served beautiful dishes of curry, dhal, bhajis, veggie burgers, crepes, toasties, vegan cake and raw energy balls. Most of the snacks and sweet treats were only 1 euro, the meals were all really good value unlike most festivals.
The kids could even buy homemade lemonade and freshly squeezed orange juice for 50¢ a cup (the guy on the lemonade stall said they’d been up till 1am actually squeezing the oranges themselves fresh for the morning, so 50¢ seemed like an absolute steal at that point!)
If you need a cash point en-route, stop off in Órgiva. I promise you will regret not buying every meal in the cafe once there…so bring all the extra cash you can!
You also need to pack as much drinking water as you can, there is a spring nearby but it’s a 15 minute walk.
Water for washing can easily be taken from the river that runs straight past your van. Or you can opt for the much braver option of a quick skinny dip in the glacial waters with the locals first thing in the morning.
The whole festival felt like family for a weekend, it was a beautiful insight into how harmonious community living can be in the spanish mountains.
Kids fest is like stepping into an alternative universe of openness, happy hearts and little winding paths that lead you through the many bamboo groves past a veggie garden or the scattered outdoor seating areas of pallets and colourful rugs, dotted amongst the old school buses, horse boxes and the occasional geodesic dome.
The whole place felt personable, it has character and soul. It’s not just an another pop up festival in a field. There are hand-built stone structures, permanent compost loos and community spaces to hang out in.
The workshops are small and friendly. We met lots of families who were visiting da-a-luz for the first time.
Definitely a festival to recommend, if you are travelling with children. We had such a great time trying out the workshops, lazing by the river and hanging out with all our new friends.
Might even see you there next year!