|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2008)|
HESFES (Home Educators' Summer Festival) is an annual festival aimed at home-educators and their families. Organised annually since 1998 by 'a cooperative of volunteers' headed by Andy Blewett, the festival offers music, entertainment, crafts, life skills, technology, discussion, conferences and many other activities. HESFES is friendly and cooperative and most of the entertainment is family focused.
HESFES has grown from a small camp at Monkton Wylde farm, Charmouth, Dorset (1998, 1999) - advertised in the Education Otherwise newsletter December 1997 as an EO-By-The-Seaside-Weekend-Camp; moving onto a larger site at Manor Farm Charmouth, Dorset, (2000–2005)). Between 2006-8 HESFES was hosted on Mersea Island, near Colchester. In 2009 the Event was moved again, this time to The Hop Farm Family Park, since it was considered that the festival had outgrown campsite venues (since the festival has grown from around 50 families in 1998 to around 1500 families in 2006).
This year, 2011, HESFES is moving to a more central site in South Cambridgeshire.
There is a focus on kids, but with a comfortable intermingling of all age-groups. At each HESFES there is the "Kids Cabaret" where any child can sign up to do a performance of their own making, either on their own or in a group.
Most activities take place in marquees. The Festival offers various children's activities, which are almost exclusively designed to be educational or beneficial in some way (e.g. Circus skills, Weaving, Football, fabric painting, and music workshops). Another major part of the festival is live, and recorded, musical entertainment; including a kid's disco.