Mt. Ephraim Gardens, with its large house and 800 acre estate is situated in Herne Hill in the center of Kent’s rolling valleys, just forty-eight miles from London and ten miles from Canterbury in southern England. The estate has been cared and attended for by the Dawes family for the last 300 years it. Herne Hill itself is just outside Faversham, an old English settlement that can be dated back since pre-Roman times.
Once a year in the first week in August, Mt. Ephraim opens its gates to The New Day Festival, and what a wonderful musical event it is too. Three days of sitting about making new friends, reacquainting with old ones and seeing people from previous years. The two stages are set out at the bottom of two fields, nicely close but far enough apart to be just right. About a two minute walk between each, the Spitfire and Shindig stages have bands following each other with military precision.
As you walk back up the fields, each side is lined with stalls selling everything your heart could desire in terms of cuisine and refreshments, including a marvelous shop selling all sorts of local cheeses. Clothes, records (vinyl) and CD’s are also for sale in abundance, mostly of the artists appearing at the festival and there is also a fabulous tent in between the stages where after each band finishes they congregate and sign any merchandise bought by the patrons.
At the top of each field are the beer tents with over sixty professional stewards in attendance while the cricket pitch is transformed into a camping/glamping site for the duration of the event. There is plenty of parking space and the amenities are abundant and impeccably clean. There are also plenty of nearby hotels and inns nearby in cast camping is not for you.
With all this, there are some Rock & Roll bands too to enjoy. Last year the line-up was amazing and for 2019 the organizers have gone all out to better it. Each day has a band that could easily headline at any other festival playing in mid-afternoon: on Friday we have Thunderstick, Saturday Kingdom of Madness: Classic Magnum, and Sunday sees Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash take to the stage. In fact, Sunday is headliners all day long.
The New Day Festival is a very special event in the musical calendar.
Note: Written by Mott the Dog of Fletchers’ Folly on Siam Country Club Road, the Dark Side of Pattaya.