Sunday, 11 September 2011

Beautiful Days

After the Big Chill, had a few days to get our breath back, and pack up a less monster-filled and more craft based pack, and then it was time to be off for the Beautiful Days! This time there was storytelling gear to take as we were booked for storytelling and then the whole group (us and Andy and Mandy etc. of the Collective) for craft workshops; a couple of monsters, smaller ones generally for storytelling, a giant unicorn head (for the parade) and a heap of willow and fabric and leather for the workshops. Plus of course signs including our lovely new hand-painted ones (thanks Steve!) and book stock. It was really nice not to have to pitch a marquee, and we managed to negotiate space in Crew Camping at the top of the hill so that we were parked right by Andi and Mandy's big truck and they had space to put up their big awning as a chill out zone for all of us, which was good. The weather on Friday? morning was terrible - the rain poured down and found every tiny hole in the tarpaulins or joins, and every channel in the floor to make streams in! But with a mixture of desperation and ingenuity, they found ways of securing it to keep us all dry. And thankfully, that was pretty much all it did! So like the Big Chill, while it did rain, it soon dried up and I didn't even have to wear wellies, as it drained so well... The moon rises and sunset were (like the Big Chill) beautiful as the site is Escot Park, and like Eastnor Deer Park, it's rolling countryside with views across the bowl of the main site in the vale below, echoing Glastonbury.
   The storytelling part (6-9pm daily) went down well, thanks to Ruth for hosting the sessions! We built audiences and some people (to my amazement) came to every single session!! And we got lots of applause and some lovely comments including 'Your badinage is wonderful.' Deor was part of the Majical Youth parade to open the attractions as the giant unicorn, accompanied by an old friend dressed and masked as Mr. Punch (one of the 'monsters' from our Monster Carnival). And the craft workshops were rammed most of the time, Andy and Mandy's lovely driftwood mobiles and dreamcatchers going down brilliantly, Deor overwhelmed with folks wanting wristbands, headbands, hair plaits and a host of other things that can be made with leather, and to my faint surprise and relief, I remembered what Andy had taught me the night before and showed folks how to make willow dreamcatchers! As well as willow and fabric mobiles and headdresses. Ages ago Sonia (of the original Collective) taught me how to make dreamcatchers, but I had totally forgotten how! - Only retaining the all-important knowledge that I knew I could do it. Always vital.
    The festival was (oddly, as the bands last year were more to my taste!) better this year, I felt, with more visuals etc.. But perhaps it was partly because we were properly booked for performing first and not craft, and knew what to expect... However, it is a danger with festivals (as with anything) - although I remember when I first spoke to folks who worked habitually at 'the festivals' it was so, and could hardly believe them! - that one gets jaded as there are definitely similarities, not least as in a summer many of the same acts or attractions tour, like oneself. So what was amazing the first time, novel the second time, can become 'oh it's those again' the third time. (I recollect last year thinking that if I saw those red lotus street lamps one more time...!) But actually they've all been great, and all different. So to still be fun (with us working four hours each day not including lugging, set up and take down time), after the larger festivals we'd been to, all I can say is, it must have been good!
   Thanks to Andi, Mandy, Sam and Alex for being such a great team! And to Majical Youth for booking us yet again.

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