This blog got a little long, but was fun to write given that almost everything to do with my time at Nudefest has been a brilliant life experience :)
The Event(images ©Newperran 2014)
Newperran Holiday Park near Newquay, Cornwall in July (5-12 July in 2015). Newperran is a regular caravan and camping park, 40 acres in size. For comparison, if Newperran were a fully clothes-optional venue it would be the second biggest such venue in the UK after the Naturist Foundation in Kent. Newperran has all the facilities you would expect of a large holiday park: a large bar that can be converted to include a dance floor and live music, restaurant, shop, large indoor swimming pool, children's play area, multiple bathroom-shower-washing facilities, greens for picnics/games, and static caravans available for rent as well as room for 400+ guests with vans or tents.
The ExperienceI've previously blogged about my trip to Clover Spa in 2011, my seminal social clothes-free experience. That was an experiment to see if it was for me. Once over I was ready to try something a little bigger. Nudefest in the same year was it. I thought I was under no illusions what I was going to. I was ready for a camping trip with a different dress code, but I hadn't realised how different the experience would be...how much better than a run-of-the-mill camp at your average campsite.
Despite Nudefest being a week-long event, the first year I just went for a couple of nights to see what it was like. Upon driving in, the first thing that struck me was that in relation to regular camping, nothing much was visibly different. A banner was placed at the entrance and a marquee had been erected on the central green area but otherwise everything was very 'normal'. I don't know what I expected to be different...high security fences?...rules everywhere telling you to take your clothes off?...'nudist police' patrolling? Nothing of the sort. The upshot of this was an immediate feeling that the 'pressure' surrounding nudity was definitely off. Common sense presides over the week. The majority walked about nude without a care, but dressed or not I would have felt comfortable. There's certainly enough space so as to not feel like you're surrounded by constant nudity! This put me at ease straight away. There's nothing different about living without clothes except the lack of clothes!
I've written before some reasons why I've fallen into a clothes-free way of life. It makes sense to me when the environment is suitable, so it was no surprise that once pitched and ready to explore the site a bit I quickly decided to strip off and wander without clothing. The sun was out and it was warm. An all-over tan simply from walking around! It goes without saying that swimming and sunbathing are two great reasons for stripping off...convenient, comfortable, common sense, but strangely I got more happiness and well-being from doing more day-to-day things such as going to the shop, having a drink at the bar, sorting out my tent, fixing something to eat or washing up afterwards. This is where simply being nude becomes a true way of life. Some folks would get dressed again after topping up the tan or climbing out of the pool. Horses for courses. For me not having to worry about clothes has become natural.
Then of course there's the issue of the shower block. I can't emphasise enough how brilliant it is not to have to faff with clothes going to take a shower at a campsite! Every time I've been 'regular camping' going to the shower block is a right pain. The cubicles are so small that trying to keep clothing completely clean and dry is nigh-on impossible. The air is always slightly damp so it feels yucky trying to get dry and dressed and clothes feel sticky. Then you need to do a magical 'hop-dance' in order to get the clothes on without them touching the wet floor. Just carrying and keeping your stuff together feels awkward. The whole process feels farcical and....it's completely unnecessary. At Nudefest, take one wash bag...go and shower...and walk outside to dry off in the breeze. Done. Amazing. No faffing...no frustration. This is the kind of common sense thing that makes clothes-free camping so much better. If the weather's just right you don't even need a towel :)
The other big thing I need to write about is the community. Regular camping in the UK with the common stand-offish attitude permeating through our society means everyone stays regimental in their little space. Little or no cross border communication. Isolation. Maybe it's just me! It does seem to be the British way though and it's very sad. Nudefest was a revelation. I don't usually feel confident enough to walk around randomly striking up conversations but for the clear reason that everyone immediately has something in common, at Nudefest this felt less of a problem. The friendliness and approachability of others was strides ahead of any other camping experience I'd had. Within half an hour I felt like I'd made several new friends. There's no sense of isolation. You're immediately welcome and part of a community enjoying a joint holiday. Yet at the same time I felt a kind of over-arching respect; a respect that allowed me to join in or go apart with absolutely no pressure. The festival and the events, trips, activities, games, and music that goes with it is worth the money for sure, but the community and atmosphere is something that felt almost priceless. Very similar to any festival then really!
This leads me on to write about the festival 'bit' itself. A clear reason why Nudefest is definitely worth at least one visit to.
Get InvolvedThe fantastic thing about the week is that it really is a festival. There's always something going on, whether it be at Newperran itself or a trip to some of the great places to go in Cornwall. External venues have warmed to Nudefest attendees following extremely positive press coverage so it isn't just the small attractions inviting us over for a clothes-free wander. Here's a list of trips around Cornwall from the last four years. Some are annual trips whereas others are booked every few years to keep things fresh and interesting.
Poppy Cottage Gardens Bodmin Moor Hike Coastal Walk Perranporth Beach Day
|Maritime Museum, Falmouth (2013)|
|Sitting on top of Bodmin Moor (2012)|
My favourite annual trip outside of Newperran is walking on Bodmin Moor. I've done this for the last three years and look forward to as a keen hill walker. There's nothing quite like walking free of clothes in the countryside, made even more satisfying being in a group of like-minded people. Walks are generally 8 to 10 miles with short cuts for those who would like a more gentle stroll. The biggest gotcha in recent walks has been protecting against the sun. Yes there have been moments when Joe Public has seen us, but never a bad word said.
The choice of live music caters for everyone whether it be acoustic or classical to accompany a picnic in the sunshine, to folk, pop or even a bit of rock and roll in the evening. Returning visitors to Nudefest include the now famous Billy Bottle and Martine....as seen on BBC's The Voice! A bit of modern dance music in the early hours after the cheesy classics have worn some folks out. A popular finale to the holiday is the final night disco including (optional) body painting. This always turns the bar into a spectacular scene with colour lighting and glow sticks.
Go for itIf you've read down this far and from the UK, then chances are you're already an attendee or would consider coming along. I wholeheartedly recommend it. It was absolutely one of the best decisions I've taken in life. This blog might make it sound a little daunting. It's really not. If you're a single then the community feel to the week will make meeting people and making friends ridiculously easy...probably within minutes of arriving! For couples it's the ideal trip to get used to a clothes-optional environment, particularly where one partner is keen and the other hesitant. The balance of women to men as always close to 50:50 so there's no danger of being outnumbered.
The pricing system means that joining BN is worthwhile if you want to stay for 3 or more nights out of the 7. The cost (except if staying in a static caravan) is pretty much the same as regular camping at a venue of Newperran's size and amount of facilities. Perhaps a little higher...but then you get the benefit of all the trips and activities too! Day visits are also available if you just want to come along for a few hours.
Nudefest in 2015 is 5-12 July and I've included the flier below. Here's to another great week. You coming?