Creatures of Castlefest: Cindy & Chantal

In Creatures of Castlefest, we want to put the wondrous creatures, that are part of the world of Castlefest, in the spotlight. From visitor to entertainer, from exhibitor to volunteer. What moves them and which role does Castlefest play in their lives? This time: Cindy, who visits Castlefest for over twelve years already and brought her niece with her, who visits the festival for the first time.

Cindy (right in the photo): I first came into contact with Castlefest more than twelve years ago. My husband and I visited our first edition together and within the first thirty minutes upon entering, we were sold by the atmosphere. Of course, it was a lot smaller back then, but everyone was talking to each other en greeted each other. It was a warm welcome. That warm feeling is still there now that the festival has grown. You have to feel that atmosphere yourself. Words really don’t do the festival justice in its awesomeness.

The warmth, the fires, the Wicker, the complete picture, it all brings a family feeling even though you don't know a lot of people. When the festival is over, we (my husband and I) always need a moment to get our feet back on the ground again at home. By then we are already looking forward to Keltfest.

The Castlefest feeling is just very nice and warm. I don't know how to explain that.

Our little one has been at Castlefest since he was only 11 months old and has approached the largest monsters and creations as if it were nothing. He’s really grown up with Castlefest so here I dare to let him go more easily. There is kindness here, there is trust and there is always someone who can take care of him if I lose him. That's Castlefest.

After visiting the festival for so long and seeing all the beautiful creations, I finally sat down to create something myself. Before this, I always did something with make-up and hair, but my clothing remained fairly 'ordinary'. For this Winter Edition, I made my own design, a skirt, cape with hood, sweater and hand warmers. The design is inspired by dragons and Danaerys, the dragon queen from Game of Thrones. In the photo, you can see the cape with "scales". This morning I finished putting on the final touches and so I finished everything just in time for this interview. I am very proud of it and it is nice and warm for the Winter Edition!

Dragons symbolize strength and staying upright to me, so when I have this on, I kind of have my own dragon skin. When looking at dragons, I don't see something scary and big but I see something like what I'm wearing; it's warm and protects me and my family.

The love and warmth of Castlefest also help me a lot in this. Nobody judges or condemns and that also brings a great sense of security. In those years I've been here, I can't say there has been much drama or big arguments.

Physically I am completely wrecked at the end of a festival day with walking, dancing and shopping, but mentally I am fully charged again.

Castlefest is really our thing for my family. We really let each other do our thing, but getting together at night and visiting the festival is really our annual family holiday.

Chantal (left in the picture): Castlefest has always appealed to me, but I never had a partner who was interested in that. I didn’t have an issue with that for a long time, but I was getting more curious. Then I found out that Cindy is also going to Castlefest and so we started planning so that I could join.

My first impression of the festival is really nice. I think there is a peaceful atmosphere. We went there yesterday, and the stories of Cindy made me very curious about the Yule story, I really enjoyed it. Everyone is moving in their own way or listens, cuddles and yet everyone is one again. As soon as the music comes everyone is dancing like a crowd.

I can't imagine anyone wouldn't like it here.

Someone started singing at a campfire, and in no time everyone sang along, nobody cares, because everyone is doing their best to make it fun and keep it like that for everyone!

After everything I've seen today, I have enough inspiration to create a summer costume. I’ll take elements of everything I have seen that I think is cool and I create my own look with that.

It is nice that nothing is mandatory here. At work, you have to do things and meet deadlines, but here you can do what you want what you feel like, if someone wants to shop you go shopping and the rest of the group stays with the performance for example, which is why going to Castlefest works so well for us. Because we also give each other that space and freedom.

Cindy adds: When my son was little, I used to sit by the tent with him at seven in the evening to keep the structure and routine. No way I would leave him alone. My husband continued on the festival grounds. I had no problem with that, certainly not. I talked with the people around me and had plenty of fun. Now that my son is older and more independent (as he's nine years old), we go to the tent at a later time, he walks the festival grounds by himself and I also go my own way. It is also a holiday for him, so everything is less time-restricted. That gives me time to discover the bands that I didn't know before.

Next summer edition I'm going to try out the Silent Disco, and my hubby can watch our kid.

In that sense, the campsite is almost as cosy as the festival itself. Small clubs, people with a guitar who are still playing, that atmosphere is wonderful.

The growth of the campsite, to see it getting bigger and bigger, gives me almost a sense of pride, because I have been there since the start (almost). I very much share that pride of Mark and Natasja.

I can enjoy it very much when I see how VANA takes care of her volunteers and how it shines through. There is great transparency from the organisation to the visitors. This care; everything is thought of and if it is within their power, feedback is always listened to. That also helps in the Castlefest feeling. Now that I'm talking about it and reflecting on it through this conversation and reflecting with now, that sense of pride only grows stronger.

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