When the organisers of Gisburne Park Pop-Up festival announced they were hosting the UKs first socially distanced festival, I let out a groan.

I'd secured tickets to Glastonbury in October 2019 but with Covid sending my best laid plans to the dogs, I was in no way wanting to attend a festival where mixing with others would be prohibited, queuing for the bar was unheard of, and dancing with strangers was against the rules.

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I want crowd surfing, (minimal) mud, and random conversations from my festival experience; not a load of 'can't do', 'must do' rules and regulations.

So when a set of tickets for the Groove Armada DJ set on Saturday August 15 landed in my lap, I was reluctant to attend, feeling as though any restrictions on my flailing limb movements would be like trying to keep a tight reign on a caged animal.

However, I relented and along with three of my pals, made my way to the festival site, nestled in the grounds of the Gisburne Estate in the idyllic Ribble Valley.

And what I found pleasantly surprised my overly cynical mind.

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Security was tight, as you would expect from any music festival, but after some jovial banter with the door staff, a collection of our wristbands, and a ticking-off the guest list, we were guided to our own little 'pitch', complete with umbrella, deck chairs and a table for our drinks - which were brought to us in an ice bucket by a delightful member of bar staff, who said she'd be our waitress for the evening.

Well, table service at a festival was a first, but we took advantage and ordered some more beers and wine, and waited for the music to begin.

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Situated at the back of the site, we could just make out the DJ booth from across the river - no chance of any opportunity to storm the stage or crowd surf here; not unless we were willing to wade across the Ribble, which was a little too much even by my standards.

Nevertheless, the music began and before long we were dancing in our little hexagon, bopping along to classics such as 'I see you Baby' and 'Superstylin' as we sipped on our cold drinks (no luke warm beers here).

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Before long, the alcohol kicked-in, and an effort to dance outside of our designated pitch was made, but we were quickly reprimanded by both bar staff and security, and scurried back underneath our umbrella, tails between our legs.

With the only opportunity to chat, mingle and have a laugh with randoms being in the queue for the toilets, the fun of a 'normal' festival was slightly lost; however, the stringent rules did not detract from our enjoyment as the music and the booze more than made up for it. And not having to queue for a bevvy was pretty novel too.

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My friend, Ste - the lead singer in a band and a festival veteran, and the only one of my mates who argued that he'd 'rather sit in his house listening to vinyl with a few tins of warm cider', than attend a 'socially distanced music festival' was forced to eat his own words as he mouthed to me 'it's actually alright innit?'.

As the sun set and the impressive light show kicked in, we found we were quite happy in our little bubble - the atmosphere wasn't quite the same but we had each other, we had good conversation, we had booze, and most importantly we had LIVE outdoor music.

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While not quite Glastonbury, and in no way comparable to a 'normal' music festival, if these strange Covid-times are going to continue, Gisburne Park Pop-Up might just be the next best thing.