THERE'S neither a deer or a shed in sight, but the eighth running of the Deer Shed Festival saw it stick to the principles of when it was first staged.

While the sold-out event at Baldersby Park, near Thirsk, attracted some couples and groups of teenagers, it remains overwhelmingly aimed at families.

For a number of the performers, the audience featuring legions of children is a shock, a daunting prospect. Had they been told what to expect by the organisers? Had they not done their research?

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While some appeared to struggle to regain their composure, comedy headliners Hal Cruttenden and John Shuttleworth worked the youngsters into their routines, as well as the crowd's apparent middle class background.

Shuttleworth, kicking off with a song about having two margarines on the go, loves to appear surrounded by chaos and his well-oiled routine fitted like a glove with those packing the tent, in a very civilised, orderly manner.

Amid the top class comedy, any moment, you expect to hear Oliver and Georgiana being asked if they would like to visit the Tibetan cuisine stall or just have another organic gooseberry and cinnamon yoghurt.

Cruttenden said: "If there are any posh people here and you ever get into a scrap, don't try to act tough - stay posh, think Bond villain. If someone in a bar says 'you spilt my pint', reply 'I hardly can. By midnight the world will be mine."

While it would appear the lion's share of the non-fixed costs are ploughed into the various music stages, for many Deer Shed's main attraction isn't really the music.

Acts performing at the smaller venues - generally of a good quality - commanded the attention of their audiences, but many of the main stage performances proved to be simply loud background music while people sat sipping sloe gin prosecco or artisan-crafted cider.

Enter King Creosote and Ibibio Sound Machine. Both had the Deer Shed sussed. The acts contrasted - one featured a three-piece string section and the other a three-piece brass section - but a sea of revellers with their arms in the air suddenly appeared as they rolled out a series of upbeat and party-style songs. The energetic performances were just what Oliver and Georgiana's homeopathic doctor father ordered. Ahead of performance poet Kate Tempest's rain-hit headline slot, some in the audience questioned why Ibibio hadn't been handed the climax to the Saturday night.

It's really the spectrum of children's activities on offer that sets Deer Shed apart. Children are enthralled making fairy houses and dream-catchers in the craft section while others faces show glee as they get to investigate the properties of slime in the science tent.

This years's festival was themed Wilderwild, where the organisers encouraged those attending to “leave behind the trappings of modern life”.

As festival-goers were faced with the reality of muddy paths, one trapping of modern life - green wellies - came to the fore as people trooped through the grounds of Queen Mary's private school to the Wilderwild area, a wooded glade next to Baldersby Park featuring 32 activities, ranging from pyrography (the art of decorating wood) to a theatrical production.

Clearly, organisers give huge attention to detail, including providing more toilets per head than other festivals. The result is tangible. Oliver, Georgiana and their parents have a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable weekend.