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What is Nestival?

The Legacy of Nestival 2023!
November 7th 2023
Written by Jack Connor

With the launch of our new website, it only feels right to relaunch our blogs, something that you Cuckoo/Brindle Distillery fans have enjoyed reading since the first blog post back in June 2017. The first blog was named Crafting Cuckoo. Now in this blog, I feel it is only right to celebrate something that the Brindle Distillery team have crafted in 2023. On this occasion it’s not in celebration of crafting Lancashire’s finest spirits but more a celebration of crafting Nestival 2023… an event built for our wonderful community to enjoy.

Let me set the scene for you! September 1st 2022, just short of a month after starting full time at Brindle Distillery I attended a fantastic local beer festival over at our good friends Rivington Brewery, many of you may have heard of these guys as we serve their ales at the nest and they also joined us at Nestival! They also put on a great beer festival named Farm Trip, an annual event for you beer lovers. They kindly asked us to attend to serve our spirits for the punters, 3 full days with beer flowing, spirits pouring and people gathering… This started the inspiration for what we could only dream of achieving at the Nest. I recall after a very busy Saturday evening texting Mark and the team declaring that a festival at the Nest needed to happen, with the fantastic community we have at the Nest, our loyal local Cuckoo Gin lovers and our incredibly hard-working team the foundations were apparent to create a real spectacle! So, from there the conversation rolled into ideas, the ideas rolled into plans and the plans rolled into reality. Reflecting back 3 months later, reading all the fantastic feedback and seeing the incredible demand for a Nestival 2024, it’s a massive credit to the team for the precise planning over the 159 days. Our first meeting was on the 28th February 2023, meaning that we aimed to plan a festival for over 1,200 attendees in just over 5 months… absolutely crazy we know! Obviously the first thing that we had to decide on was a date, key parts to factor in for us back to school timings, weather and other events in the calendar. We opted for the 4th, 5th and 6th August. With the full team in attendance, it was quickly apparent that with myself and Mark had never actually attended a music festival… therefore we required the expertise of frequent festival attendees Chloe and Big Tom, this was key to gaining insight into what we needed to make our community event a resounding success! With the date set, the next part was settling on a name for our festival, the initial front runners of Brindlebury and Distillery Fest slowly dwindled away as we simplified things down to what we are actually aiming to plan. With that said, a festival at the Nest was born, creating the name Nestival, this is now a word that has many fond memories for our team and community alike. Admittedly Nestival was the biggest achievement and learning process that myself, Mark and the team have ever been through. On reflection we had spent far too much time in meticulously planning each step of Nestival, but this had to happen to ensure that the anticipation for the event was met with an unforgettable experience for all. Creating an event in Nestival certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but the dedication from a team that was passionate about bringing the community together over a 3-day event shone through! Decisions from the music line up to the car parking arrangements, from the wristband colours to the cocktails on offer on the day, we ensured that every single detail counted. From the colour of the Nestival logo, to the colour of the staff t-shirts, to the security briefings and the gazebo setups, the behind-the-scenes stock ordering, sign post drilling, electricity connections and the wristband’s counted, the preparation, planning and dedication to ensuring this event went smoothly was at the forefront on a daily basis!

Now onto the actual days and the lineups, we were joined by a fantastic selection of local artists! Supporting local is something that we strive for and to be able to this both with our spirits, distillery experiences and now Nestival is definitely something we should be proud about! Nestival 2023 was kicked off by local lad Danny Bretherton as he opened Nestival at just 14 years of age, he got a fantastic reception from the crowd that had gathered in anticipation ready for the gates to open at 3pm on the first day of Nestival! Danny had recently been on the voice kids and got through to the finals, so it was great to have him showcase his talents at Nestival! Followed by the fantastic talent of Lee Richards, as the evening went on the crowd would build, we were joined by a local band named the Symbolics who provided a fantastic selection of Americana and Country music. The final act of the evening was our headliner! The Country Club provided an incredible set of country classics which lead into my favourite part of the Friday as the dance floor descended into a country line dance frenzy. As the Friday closed the team ensured that the venue and rest of the distillery was cleaned, tidy and ready for Day 2 of Nestival!

The Saturday was by far my personal favourite day of the whole event, a particular highlight was the queue of ticket holders who eagerly waited at the front gate patiently waiting to gain access to the event, although the weather was slightly wet, this did not dampen the spirit of the punters! Ready for an afternoon and evening of musical entertainment over 450 people entered the event smiling, happy and ready to party the night away. Saturday was opened with our house Vocalist Liz Long who got the chilled vibes started at 3pm, we were then joined by the incredible Steve Walton who smashed an incredible set once again! This was followed by an incredible jam session on the vinyl decs by Steven Nicolson-Wrigley. Now this next act is possibly was probably my favourite as Kevin Simm took to the Brindle Distillery Nestival stage, current Wet Wet Wet frontman, former Liberty X and The Voice Winner 2016! From a festival that was only a concept 159 days earlier to secure a set from Kevin Simm felt surreal, so big thanks to Kev for headlining our Saturday night! This followed with an incredible 80’s and 90’s party night. The tunes kept rolling, the people kept dancing and the bar team kept serving. This was an evening we took a lot of time to think about as selecting the correct music for the correct spectrum of guests was so important! In my opinion we absolutely nailed it… the key memory from this evening was the bar team closing the bar down for 15 minutes as we all enjoyed a dance for the last few songs of the night… a surreal achievement that so many happy faces were together in one room.

The Sunday morning reset was an early one for the team and was key to ensuring that our guests enjoyed the Sunday afternoon which was our ‘Family Day’… a 9am Batleys run started the day in which we had to restock ready for the arrival of our guests at 1pm. The Sunday was undoubtedly Marks favourite day, the vibes were incredible, there was a real buzz around the place with everyone ready for another afternoon of live music. Steven Nicolson-Wrigley kicked us off with another Vinyl set, followed by an acoustic phenomenon in Dan Warbrick, then followed again by the incredible Steve Walton, the afternoon closed with a real soulful trio and Liz Long entertaining with some Disney classics and kiddie singalong tunes! The afternoon closed and the team enjoyed a much-needed rest as the adrenaline wore off and the achievement sunk in.

There are a lot of thank you’ s that are required and they are what undoubtedly made the event such an incredible experience. First of all, its a massive shout to the incredible part time team that helped at Nestival, from start to finish they were phenomenal and made themselves a real credit to Brindle Distillery. The commitment and dedication to ensure that the event was as organised as possible goes out to the full-time team, after a successful 3 days the team could only reflect on what we had achieved once all event attendees had left an overwhelming pride for all involved. Second has to go out to all of our Sponsors that helped support the event! Haley’s Accountants, The Flying Pig Pizza Company, Double Dutch, Booths Supermarket, Filberts, Coopers Taxis, The Whalley Wine Shop, Lanx Shoes, Three B’s Brewery, UTC Events, The Print Quarter, Zest Co, Fevertree, Design by Gray! Massively appreciate the support from all of these fantastic businesses, this was also the hardest sell from our part as we had never organised an event to this scale and had no background data to prove the visibility that it would have. And last but definitely not least! The biggest shoutout and thank you goes out to you! The supporters, friends and family of both Brindle Distillery and Cuckoo Gin, the attendees of Nestival 2023! You are the reason we aim to provide the best experience, the smile and happiness on all of your faces was overwhelming and something that we will aim to deliver with every single event we put on. We hope to host you at further Nestivals in the years to come. All the best Team Cuckoo