Thursday, 28 July 2011

Festival Babies!

Five blissful days to forget about time, elongate what we know as time, be present, experience, live, learn, love and grow.
Only half an hours drive from where we live in Cambridge is a village called Abbots Ripton, we drove through it often as children on the way to visit my maternal grandparents.  Little did I know I'd return year after year as an adult to the ....shhhhhh...... Secret Garden Party!  An eclectic mix of folks from around and about with the emphasis on participation. I've wondered weather this is not simply just turning up and having a good time whilst taking things for granted, I get more of a sense of contributing something to the festival.  Some contribute art, others run workshops and stalls.  Difficult to define and as we are not able to contribute much other than our pressence and positive vibes, what with two young boisterous children, I feel that maybe that is enough, for now anyway.
I am sensitive to shifts of energy Earthside.  Whenever a large gathering occurs that I am part of I feel a big shock chill of energy corse through my body and I  tingle all over.  Sometimes I get choked up by it and tears have sprung some occasions (sunrise standing with 30'000 people at Stonehenge). When I was a kid I got this too but never understood it wasn't just me being emotional and overwhelmed by the occasions.  It was feeling that surge of energy as likeminded people met.  Within moments of being on site this now familiar exciting feeling melted it's way into my mind.
Festivals are special.  Temporary communities spring up as if out of nowhere from the dust of the land.  Barriers drop, prejudices forgot.  Tribes gather to form one Zeplin tribe of those who know inately that there is a little something more to life than meets the eye!


Getting creative with dinner ideas!  Carbahydrates seem to sneak their way into each meal with a smug smile and I shrug my metaphoricl shoulders because I know if it's easy I gget a  bit of a break.

The Marvellous Tea Rooms.  Not only did the walls covered in old mirrors provide entertainment for monkeys up way past bed time, but they served the best darn cake in the whole world, vegan too!  Moist, rich Cardamon and Coconut, I'm sure some dairy must have snuck in, it tasted way too good!

The art insallations were exceptional.  This made me think South American Dream Catchers off set by the blue sky and pleasingly on closer inspection the trinkets you see are all recycled materials - tin cans squished into squares - round tops and bottoms not going to waste either, champagne corks and silver chain.  

Ah the Accelerated Cognac Condenser!  We hurtled towards it mistaking it for a pirate ship, only to find an elaborate Steampunk-esque coctail bar which appeared to be powered by several built in bikes, not sure if it acctually functioned but looks awesome huh?!
Now this is what taking the kids to festivals is really about for me.  Watching them grow and bloom.  Watching them forge friendships, watching their confidence grow, watching them learn from older children, watching them imitate and participate.  Watching them love, respect, look up to.  Nothing makes me happier than watching my children make friends and hang out with others they barely knew before, honestly.  There is a lot they willingly learn from other children that I have been banging on about for years. 

I couldn't work out if these trees were made completely from wooden dowl or only in part but the little glade of them huddled together branches bare in the summer, looked awesome.


Devil sticks and all sorts of other Circus tomfoolery.  Zander liked the tightwire, stilts and massive bubble play.


The craft tent is hours of entertainment guaranteed, Daddy even got creative too.

Then an industry sprang up back at the tents .... older ones inspired younger ones...

Lucky Bugs!  Reuse, recycle, re-create.  They sold these for 10 pence each around the campsite and made themselves a fair few pounds of spending money.  Zander is very proud of his earnings and I think he'll remember the experience always.

In the spirit of Burning man, they burn a construction on the lake each year on the Saturday night.  I thought the Dragonfly was poignant seeing as its beauty and magic only graces the world for a short period before it moves on.  So the festival arrives suddenly, lives a colourful life and is packed away until the next time.

In a surreal moment at the Great Stage we learned, unbelievingly, of Amy Winehouse's passing. Tragic, gutting.  She joins the other great 27's sittin' up there or wherever they are.  Died way too young.

Churros & Chocolate sauce ... the best £3.50 we spent!  They are traditional spanish doughnuts, yum!!

This is the actual colour of the sky, no filter no effects!  Needless to say, the next day was a scorcher.

The Fire Ceremony begins with Poi spinners spinning fire all round the lake.  Then the Dragonfly was set alight and the firework display started in a joyfully random, unchoreographed way as they had been stuffed inside the dragonfly earlier.

Co-operation in motion!

Dinosaurs were made by children at a local primary school for the kids field.

I felt sorry for these Swans, their peaceful humble home turned into a vibrant Melle, the earth pounding with baselines till 5 or 6 a.m.  Daddy swan, who is turning round in the picture, was not at all happy, hissing and jerking his long, thick neck about.  In the end stewards came to guard them, apparantly they'd been moving about across the lake trying to find peaceful spots where they wouldn't be bothered.  I am glad for their sakes the festival is over.

Snug as a bug in a rug!

I love the infinite soundscape of flags rippling in the breeze.  It goes on and on - like the waves of the sea.  Soothing, elemental, not to mention pleasing on the eyes. 

And this photo, taken right at the end, captures the general mood of the whole festival perfectly.

We grew, all of us - individually and as a family unit.  It strengthened us, we laughed lots, we loved lots and most of all we lived right here, right now, in the present.
I love the simplicity of camping, going back to basics, back to nature.  I love waking up breathing in fresh air first thing.  Treading the grass, dew between toes.  It also makes me reflect on the things we take for granted - hot water, running water, fridges and cookers and I feel it's important to take a minute to talk about this with the kids.  I explained to Zander that children in places like parts of Africa have to walk miles to fetch water everyday and we walked the couple of hundred yards to the tap together to collect our water.

And when the temporary community that arose from the dust starts to disband, decamp some are conscious of the footprint they leave ....

(family camping field where almost everyone not only bagged all their litter but took their bags to the central rubbish point.  Some of us even went round collecting up any little bits that others had left)

Whereas sadly some seem not to care less ...

(This was the scene across the general camping area ...!!??)

So for another year we reluctantly slink back to the (un)real world.  Reagrdless of how much I like the outdoors, that first sleep back in your own bed is nothing short of delicious!

Peace, love and happiness X

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing festival, your photos capture the energy of it all beautifully :)
    Blessings Gina xxx