About Cloudspotting...


Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival is a long summer weekend retreat for a few hundred people organised by a bunch of friends and festival enthusiasts. This year is our 7th event and the fifth at Gisburn Forest. We are family friendly – but by no means family exclusive – our kids bring a magical spirit to the festival, encouraging an inclusive atmosphere that all our audience members get a buzz from. Moving to our remote forested location in 2013 enabled the festival to stretch its limbs a little. It encouraged us to develop creative partnerships with other like-minded organisations, helping us deliver a much wider programme of Arts in addition to the eclectic live music schedule that the event has prided itself on. Approaching our 7th year, we have brought together our most exciting programme yet. Alongside two stages of emerging and established alternative music, we will present touring family theatre, interactive arts, music workshops, themed arts and crafts, fine food and a fabulous selection of ales and entertainment in our Beer Tent.  New for 2016 is The Cabin in The Woods where our late night DJ sessions will satisfy the nightclubber in all of us. We try not to overface you with masses of stuff going on at once. We let the programme breathe and encourage a strong audience for all our performances, allowing our visitors valuable time to hang out and party together! That’s not to say there won’t be early starts and late finishes! At Cloudspotting you choose which end of the candle you’d like to burn down.

 The high proportion of returning attendees has made for an intimate and extremely friendly festival. 

We hope you enjoy our site and find enough information to make the choice to join us an easy one. If you do want to hit us up for more information., please contact spottingclouds@gmail.com or sign up with your email address for regular e-bulletins.


Cloudspotting reaches the milestone of its 7th year in 2017 (July 28th-30th, 2017).

The story began at a legendary riverside boozer in the Ribble Valley (The Aspinall Arms, Mitton) in the summer of 2011.

We threw the first one together on a wave of momentum and the back of a fag packet; begging bands, borrowing equipment, blagging local farmers for camping ground.

One thing we didn’t skimp on was a crystal sounding PA, provision of good beer and a beautiful setting.  A couple of hundred friends and locals joined the throng. In the space of three months, Cloudspotting was born.

With a bit more time to think about what we were doing, 2012 took shape with a little better planning.   Most of the Cloudspotting family members have children of their own, so consideration into providing a wider offering of activities became a focus.

Regretfully, the Aspinall’s lease was up and in 2013, the rustic and much loved venue was taken over by a pub chain who have since undergone a pretty extensive redevelopment.

Cloudspotting needed to find a new venue and a lucky break came when we discovered our woodland location at Gisburn Forest.

On land managed by the Forestry Commission, we have been able to develop and create an event that encourages a larger family audience, providing a more detailed programme of live music, artistic activities and outdoor pursuits.

Food & Other Stalls

Don’t bother with just add water, long life or “it tastes better when it’s warm/sweaty/flat” (delete as appropriate) food and drink.  There’s so mucn to do and enjoy at Cloudspotting this year, you don’t want cooking and washing clogging up your time when you should be doing some real Clogging….dancing!

With returning favourites and some new additions, we have food to meet every craving, special diets and pockets.  Hot and spicy, carb-tastic, quick bite, Lancashire treats, fresh and healthy, veggie, gluten free…..you’ll find what ever tickles your tastebud at Cloudspotting this year. Don’t forget, we also provide dining facilities so you can enjoy your food in the outdoors whatever the weather!

Chomp your way round the festival!

Extreme Coffee, a family run business from South Manchester are here to start your day with a BANG!  Operating form their vehicle based in the main field, they offer a full range of hot drinks and tasty tray bakes.  If you like your drinks with a bit more slurp, Clitheroe based Shake Magic produce to order the most deliciously refreshing milk-shakes using locally produced milk and a variety of innovative flavours to suit every drinking taste.

Cloudspotting food would be incomplete without Honest Crust Pizza.  Now back for their 5th year at Cloudspotting and nationally applauded for their award winning wood-fired sourdough pizzas, hand-stretched and cooked to order in 90 secs, what’s not to love?

Following a storming debut in 2016, Luke and the Green Canteen is back with his delicious vegetarian and vegan treats.  If you didn’t try his coeliac-friendly falafel in 2016 you better make it your mission this year….before he sells out.

But if meat flicks your switch, we got everything you need.  Spicy Jack Deli are back with their Mexican menu including nachos and burritos, BBQ pulled pork, spicy chicken and chilli mexx all topped with salsa, cheese and sour cream.  They also offer the tastiest of Punjabi street eats for extra spice.  The Little Dinner is all about fresh Soil Association certificed organic natural produce from local British farms.  From morning bacon butties to their signature Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and all sausage and veggie alternatives in between.

I know where Vic will be!

This year we have the ultimate in Lancashire fayre.  An army was grown on them and we will party on them – PIES!  Locally based, and fresh from the oven, Pies The Limit join us as a welcome addition in 2017.  With a full menu of delicious meat and vegetable pies, you design your own plate from their menu – pie, mash, peas, gravy, and new for Lancastrians…..liquor!

Angela and her team offer a friendly welcome at the Gisburn Forest Hub Café. On site and open for breakfasts and lite-bites throughout the day.  Home to locally prepared fresh cakes, handmade sandwiches and delicious ice-cream, you can also buy camping supplies such as milk, eggs and other essentials here.  Bike hire is also available here.


Other traders

Operating from the Village Green for an alternative high-street feel we have traders to browse, chat and relax with.

Our resident face painting and glitter tattoo specialist Maisy will be adding a bit of sparkle all weekend from Cloud Cuckoo Land so we can all work that festival look.  for the more sophisticated, Rossie in Henna Hut creates beautiful and unique henna designs.  Heilsa Therapies return with their striking airstream trailer for head, neck and body massages as well as a wide range of other alternative therapies.  The I love You gift stall is back with a full marquee of pocket money gifts and trinkets and new for 2017 Sai Handicrafts offer the brightest in ethic homewares and clothing.

Also featuring in the Village Green will be the Forestry Commission who will be on site all weekend to talk about the exciting work they do at our forest and host Gruffallo based activities and trails.  Our programme partners, the RSPB will be on site with activities for the Bird of Bowland Project and also to promote their Give Nature a Home initiative.

The Cloudspotting Shop is open each day until the main stage closes offering all things Cloudspotting.  This includes our exciting new merch range featuring our majestic Bo, programmes, bags, festival essentials and just a general good mooch and chat!  Don’t forget you can also pick up music and other merch of your favourite artists throughout the weekend and if you’re lucky they might be there for a chat!

On Site Bars and Drinks

you know, Cloudspotting always features a mini-beer festival as part of it’s programming.  Lovingly stored and served to you our master-bar crew ensure that all your favourite tipples are refreshing leaving you fully satisfied.  This year we have more local craft ale breweries to offer and more locations to enjoy them in and all at an affordable price which means you can leave your warm beers in the tent to enjoy at home.  To support the environmental policy and sustainability pledge of Cloudspotting we are introducing a reusable cup scheme in our bar outlets.  Full details can be found here.

The Bitter Suite

Your festival local, The Bitter Suite, is back with an East Lancashire Beer Festival, a bigger selection from award winning local breweries all within easy distance to our festival site.  We have Hopstar from Darwen, Three B’s from Blackburn, Accrington’s The Big Clock and sponsor and partner of the festival, Bowland Brewery.  In addition we have Cross Bay from sunny Morecombe on the Lancashire coast and festival favourite, Dove Syke cider from the other side of the hill.  During the day and into the night, our Cloudpsotting DJ’s will play a selection of fine chilled tunes to accompany your favourite tipple – please check line-up boards daily for full details.

Never be without fizz

In addition to our award winning ales and ciders we also offer lager, stout, spirits and cool Pinot and bubbly Prosecco…….on tap!

Bo’s Bar

New to 2017 we are proud to introduce in association with Bowland Brewery and Holmes Mill, Clitheroe, Bo’s Bar to the main festival field.  Featuring the finest selection of ales from Bowland Brewery and delicious traditional Lancashire temperance softs you can enjoy a drinky whilst watching your favourite acts on the main stage.  Cheers!






At Cloudspotting, we take pride in the fact that you can hang outside the tent, put your feet up and listen to the music drifting up the field from our main stage. It’s part of the joy of being micro-size and one of the few festivals left where you can camp in the same field as the music.

Our main festival camping field is well stocked with toilets, has good signage, water points, waste disposal units, festoon lighting and this year, will be a quieter place after main stage curfew.

We have responded to previous years feedback by introducing flushing toilets and hot showers available all weekend to all campers and included in your festival ticket price.  We also want to play our part to support the eco-system of our planet by making sure all waste is split for recycling as much as possible and hope you will help us make that possible.

We have various glamping packages which include bell tents, tipis and mini-yurts which start at under £15 per person per night.  Please email Helen for more information and prices.

The campsite will be open from 12 noon on Friday July 28. We ask that attendees please vacate the site and take ALL belongings with them before noon on Monday July 31.

Live-in Vehicles

We have a limited number of live-in spaces around the perimeter of the main festival field.

Tickets for live-in vehicles will sell out in advance so do not delay if you plan on bringing a live-in. There are no electric hook-ups but you are close to all our usual on site facilities. You are allowed to arrive from 12pm Friday 28 July and must be off site by 12pm Monday 31 July.


Year on year we increase off site activities and link the forest as your playground and although The Village Green is the hubbub of activity, you will be encouraged to explore the surroundings and venture deep into the forest for excitement and adventure more than ever before.

Our activity tent, Cloud-Cuckoo-Land will include interactive and creative activities throughout the weekend and we are pleased to be working with some innovative and exciting artists and organisations exploring art, wildlife and self expression.

Little Fluffy Clouds is an area specifically for babies and nursing families to relax and chill, art and creative workshops using many mediums suitable from babies to grannies, nature trails and hunts, performance and dance, and creative play.

More details to follow soon.

For more detailed information, please look at our specific Family Activities page from the main menu.

Car Parking

We are encouraging people to car share where necessary as car parking is limited in this part of the world. The purchase of a car parking pass (£10) is essential in advance of arrival at the site. Please register your car when purchasing your festival ticket. Those attending the festival on day tickets only will also require parking tickets for their particular day (£5) available in advance from our ticket shop.

Please don’t forget to purchase your parking ticket as you will be charged more on the door.


On arrival at the festival car park you will have the opportunity to register and receive your festival wristbands. Nobody will be allowed on site without a wristband.

This year we have 2 under 18 ticket bands:

Kids (2-12 years)

Teens (13-17 years)

Many of you will have bought tickets via our on-line ticket shop. If this is the case we will have your details, you will need to have some valid ID and potentially some proof of age if you have a teenage son or daughter to support their ticket purchase. Please note that young people aged 18 and over must pay an adult ticket for Cloudspotting.

Anyone under the age of 18 will only be allowed entry to the festival with a ‘Responsible Adult’ (who has to be over the age of 21).


Cloudspotting relies on volunteers to make the festival happen and we are in awe of our fantastic team.

The festival takes place from the 28th July but we need volunteers in place from the 27th at the latest to support us with the festival set-up.  We would also be grateful if you could stay to support the clear-up on Monday 31st July.

We have plenty of opportunities available to get involved in all areas of festival delivery from artist liaison to litter picking.  If you have previous experience, specific skills or just want to try something new, please let us know.

All we ask of you is 20 hours minimum of volunteer support throughout the festival weekend and in return you get access to our fantastic festival, free breakfast and home-made hot meal each day you volunteer, volunteer camping area plus other volunteer benefits throughout the weekend.

 If you are interested in volunteering do contact us for more details at spottingclouds@gmail.com or fill in our contact form here.

Do's and Don'ts

Do behave responsibly – don’t be a crazy fool. Do look out for each other, do let your hair down and have a belting time. Don’t have any fires – anywhere.

Don’t bring any pets with you.  This is a dog free festival and they will not be allowed within the festival site.  Any persons with a pet will be asked to leave immediately.

Please do not leave any litter and leave the site as you found it.

Do have a fantastic weekend and lots of fun xxx

Glamping Accommodation

Don’t just chill-out at Cloudspotting…..stretch-out!  Festival Glamping Accommodation available from £15 per head per night!

At Cloudspotting we want to make your stay as comfortable as possible and have limited availability of some special glamping accommodation at 2016 rates.

4m Canvas Bell tent accommodation – sleeps up to 4 adults available for £180 = £15 hd/night

The above is based on a 3 night hire (Friday – Sunday), fully constructed and carpeted for your arrival and include unlimited access to hot showers and flushing toilets all weekend.

Additional camping equipment available and set-up for your arrival on request include:

Vango Atlas 250 single sleeping bag £23.00

Campingaz Quickbed Compact Airbed Single £15 / Double £23.00

Vango Adult Venice Camping Chair £20.00

Vango Childrens Little Venice Camping Chair £14.00

50% deposit for all glamping accommodation required at time of booking with remaining payment requested 4 weeks before the festival (Friday 30th June). 

If the Bell Tent is not right for your group, please contact Helen directly to discuss bespoke accommodation options.  To book and confirm, please contact helen@cloudspotting-festival.co.uk.

Environmental Policy

What we’re about:

Cloudspotting Music and Arts Festival is an annual 3 day family friendly festival in Gisburn Forest.  With limited mobile phone and internet coverage, attendees have no choice but to relax in the great outdoors and enjoy music, arts, great food, drink and each other’s company.  Our beautiful site is in the Forest of Bowland, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty.  The Cloudspotting team are committed to creating a culture where everyone involved, from audience to suppliers, can work and live more sustainably and in respect of our environment. We hope to create a space where you can experience and be inspired by our music, arts and environmental programme so that you can learn how we can support wildlife and nature to live together in a world sustainable for the future.

Our environmental commitment

The Cloudspotting team recognises that climate change poses a serious risk to the quality of life now and in the future, and that reckless resource use, pollution of the natural environment, and wastefulness are issues which should be addressed by the festival.

We are committed to taking steps to reduce the festival’s environmental impact:

  • Protect the natural world and environment for the future generations: The site the event takes place on and the wider world
  • To minimise our contribution to climate change by limiting landfill waste: Reducing the festival’s carbon footprint, and working with audience and our suppliers to manage our festival waste more effectively.
  • To become a role model for contractors and audience to inspire more sustainable living: Keeping environmental issues at the forefront of our onsite activities and inspiring others to make positive changes.

Taking action

Cloudspotting Festival has initiatives in place to help us reduce impacts:

Reduce energy use and adopt more sustainable methods to tackle our carbon footprint

We have introduced energy efficient LED lighting throughout the site for stage and public footpath lighting.  Use mains electricity during stage build and set-up to reduce the amount of diesel use of event generators. We are using local suppliers wherever possible to reduce transport and food miles.

Reducing waste and recycling

To minimise litter and improve recycling in this area of outstanding natural beauty we operate a cup deposit scheme, decant all bottled drinks at the bar and avoid single-use mixers.

Our aim is to reduce waste, reduce landfill and increase recycling, and we need your help to achieve this – please use the recycling bins and recycling bins provided onsite.  These will be clearly identified into waste streams.

We also want to encourage our attendees to reduce their waste by trading direct with our food outlets on site who are local using locally produced ingredients to keep food production and miles as green as possible.  We also encourage the use of sustainable and bio-degradable materials in their crockery/cutlery.

Protecting the natural environment

Cloudspotting support environmental organisations and their essential work protecting the UK’s landscape and wildlife. These include our hosts, The Forestry Commission and our workshop partners Forest of Bowland AONB and the RSPB.  They will all be at the festival co-ordinating activities that include talks, creative arts, trails and much, much more.

How do we know if we are being successful?

In 2016 as a member of the Northern Festival Network we undertook an audit of the festival to measure our environmental performance.  Our results enabled us to analyse our practices and plan how we can adopt new strategies to reach our targets for the future for the following

  • Recycling and waste
  • Energy
  • Audience and supplier travel and transport
  • Plastic use onsite

Our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by 20% in three years.

Working Together

The Cloudspotting Festival team are committed to creating a culture where contractors and you, our audience, can work and live more sustainably.

Please help us to maintain the natural beauty of Gisburn Forest, keep our festival site tidy and beautiful, reduce our impacts and make a positive contribution to the world. If you have any ideas, get in touch here.



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