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How to throw a festival-themed garden party

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With music festivals and other events cancelled for the foreseeable future, many of us are looking for new ways to create our own fun at home. Here, David Boultbee, from Ultra LEDs, shares his tips for throwing a festival-themed party in the garden.

We might not be able to invite friends and family over just yet, but a festival-themed garden party with everyone from your household is a fun way to spend a sunny day — especially if you have a birthday or other special occasion to celebrate. Weather forecasters say that brighter weather is just around the corner, so here are my tips for making it an event to remember.

Create the ultimate playlist

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To keep the atmosphere going and avoid any hassle, you'll want to create a playlist that will last the whole day. There are a few ways you could go about this:

  • Ask everyone in your household to pick a certain amount of songs each. Shuffling should help ensure that everyone's happy.

  • Take inspiration from a real music festival by looking at previous or planned line-ups and set lists. For example, if your Glastonbury 2020 plans have been thwarted, why not listen to headliners Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, and Taylor Swift at home?

  • Choose pre-existing playlists from services like Spotify.

  • Why not set up a TV and watch old festival footage on YouTube? Coachella, Reading and Leeds Festival, and lots more have channels packed with videos.

For an extra bit of fun, design and display your own festival line-up poster. There are lots of free templates available online.

Get your garden ready

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Firstly, you'll want to conduct a bit of garden maintenance. After all, you don't want to be dancing through weeds!

The UK Government is allowing us to visit garden centres, and professional gardeners are encouraged to work as long as they comply with COVID-19 Secure guidelines. So, you should be able to go the DIY route or employ the services of a company like Grasshopper. However, the rules are liable to change so it's worth keeping an eye on the Government's coronavirus FAQ.

Once your garden is spick and span, it's time to get decorating.

Colourful bunting offers an easy way to brighten up walls, fences, tables, and gazebos, and can easily be crafted from unwanted materials — it's a great way to keep the kids occupied.

Outdoor festoon lights are another must-have (check out our festoon lighting buying guide for advice), especially if the party will continue after dark. For maximum impact, try zig-zagging them across your garden or draping between fence posts. Wrapping strings of fairy lights around trees or popping them inside mason jars is another great way to give your party some sparkle.

If you have one, make sure to clean out your chiminea and get fuel prepped. This will look great as well as helping to keep everyone warm.

Prepare food and drink

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When the festival's in your garden, you can enjoy a nice cold beer or cider (or soft drink, of course) without any of the queues! To avoid the need for everyone to keep heading in and out of the house, set up an outdoor ice bucket filled with everyone's favourite bottles or cans.

A BBQ is a natural choice when it comes to the food, but other street food offerings like burritos or mac and cheese will fit the theme, too. Just make sure to serve and enjoy informally — fancy table settings don't really suit the vibe.

The lockdown might be stopping us from attending real festivals or inviting lots of friends over, but we can still enjoy a day of music and fun in our gardens. I hope these tips help you create some happy memories this spring/summer.

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Guest Tuesday, 24 November 2020