Yestival 2017 – Festival Review

“Plant yourself in the world you want to be a part of.” ~ Bex Band, the Ordinary Adventurer.

For this reason, I drove to West Sussex alone, to camp in a field for 3 days during Storm Brian.

Yestival is the brainchild of adventurer Dave Cornthwaite.  This “self-propelled” man has completed fourteen 1,000-mile human powered expeditions all over the world and is the founder of Say Yes More and The Yes Tribe.

Yestival brings together a community of people with a positive mindset and adventurous spirit, for a weekend of over 40 speakers, workshops, food and an awesome campfire. It began 3 years ago when Dave was curious how many of his Facebook ‘fans’ could turn into real friends. He invited these virtual friends for a campout in October 2015 and Yestival was born.

I want to become a paid adventurer and blogger, a career most of my friends say is unrealistic. I believe otherwise, so attended the muddy festival by myself, to mingle with people who are doing what I want to do.

Keen to get in on the action, I volunteered my services which lead me to my job role of ‘Audio Recorder’ in one of the 4 speaker tents. I know! Posh, right? The truth was, all I had to do was press a button on a dictaphone-sized machine at the start of every talk and press it again at the end. Bob’s your uncle, the Yestival podcast will happen because of me!

My volunteer role required me to stay in the same tent for the whole weekend, meaning I saw speakers I wouldn’t have usually seen through my own choice.

Here is who I met and what I learned:

Red Bull Adventure Editor Pip Stewart & Extreme Sleeper Phoebe Smith spoke about how to turn writing, blogging and journalism into a career. These were the things that stuck in my mind.

“So what? And why now?”
“What can I offer?”
“Talk and write about what you’re passionate about.”
“What do they need? What do they want to read? Write it.”

These are the factors I should be considering when creating content, for me and anyone else.


One camera, no idea man Ed March is someone I wouldn’t have normally seen because his adventures are engine-powered, but boy, I’m pleased I watched him!

Ed is an internet sensation with over 31,000 YouTube subscribers.
He has circumnavigated the world several times visiting 43 countries, looped the Arctic Circle and been on a 3 year trip from Alaska to Argentina experiencing temperatures of -33 degrees all on his pizza delivery bike. A bike worth £150 with the same engine capacity as a lawnmower!

People told him his adventures weren’t possible. He proved they were possible.


My adventure girl crush Anna McNuff is an adventurer, speaker, storyteller and self-proclaimed mischief maker. Having seen her on my social media feeds I was thrilled she was speaking in my tent.

Keen to improve my skills as a public speaker, I was really excited to hear her advice on “telling stories in richer detail.” My recent research suggests storytelling plays a huge part in the success of a talk.

Anna gave tips such as:

– Put the best part of your story at the start
– Concentrate on the 5 senses and focus on one of the senses
– Describe the character’s unique traits, personality and appearance
– Resist the urge to tell the meaning of the story at the end. Let the audience make their own interpretation
– Don’t always tell stories in chronological order
– Use dialogue

I saw talks from Michelle Ellison who has climbed 46 of the 48 highest points in every country in Europe. She explained, “taking the biggest risk gives the highest reward.”

The hilarious Jon Doolan spoke about how easy it is to publish your own book.

Lindsay Cole talked about falling in love with a fence and how she made friends with a trolley whilst walking 1,500 miles along the length of the Rabbit Proof Fence in Australia.

I learned about kizen, JFDI, watched my adventure bestie deliver the talk of her life, had a secret cry when I thought no one could see and then the festival ended with the story of all stories.

Emma Lawson. The girl in the sequin dress. What can I say? She ended the festival with a bang! I’ll leave you to visit her website and learn more about her story.   If you need a kick up the backside to sort yourself out and set about making your dreams happen, then this girl is the one to raise your spirit.

I left Yestival feeling inspired, motivated and even more determined to make my goals happen. In fact, it is because of the festival that I am writing my blogs again.

A 3-day Yestival ticket costs £150 and includes camping, all talks, food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and activities.

Some say this is expensive, however, I beg to differ. The cost to hear a motivational speaker is between £15-£40.  I saw 15+ talks, had 6 meals and took part in 2 yoga classes over 3 days. I think that’s incredible value. Plus I came away with a notebook full of advice, new knowledge and a phonebook of new friends who will continue to inspire and support me.


I started this blog with a quote by Bex Band, so I will end with another by her:

“Do not wait for people to ask.”
Go and get what you want!