…which could almost also be entitled as ‘Tales of the City’ (After Armistead Maupin’s Tales) since it was discovered this week that the entire festival site fits snugly over the map of Brighton; a city! Which explains in part why my legs felt a tad tired afterwards; since I must have clocked up an average 10 miles per day minimum & approx 70 miles during the week. aka 3 marathons… If you’re not feeling fit before you go out there (which should be a pre-requisite, I feel), then you are when you get back!😉
This week I went to the festival I made my old list fresh for the field, of what to pack, since I was travelling on foot & transport (train) was limited to what I could take. It has now been updated with additional items to include fairy lights, batteries (both torches x 2 broke..) I’d recommend packing a selection of items for festivals such as this (to follow).
For those unused to hearing about it, this is the world’s largest music & performing arts festival, which means that anything goes, really! It is a massive-scale combination of educational theme-park activities, several music stadiums and dozens of smaller venues, stalls, shows, circus big top and it covers the volume of an area the size of Brighton ie an entire city… which explains why my legs have felt *slightly* tired since my return. Crossing the fields each day was a round trip of anything from 10-15 miles on the uneven, countryside grassy & sometimes highly muddy fields!😉
My line-up wish list included: George Ezra, Lionel Richie, Fatboy Slim, The Proclaimers, The Waterboys and a rumor that the Dalai Lama would speak, somewhere, during the 5 days.
I went out for a week Monday-Monday to assist with the ‘Young Greens’ the cream-of-the-crop of Green Party younger members. The aim was to assist in managing their clear-up programme for the fields (have you seen the news?) The annual clear-up bill for the fields (the area of Brighton, remember) in 2014 was approaching £750,000. That’s almost £1.million on cleaning up – what a waste!😦 My role was in providing Permaculture support with my friend Lola at one of the 6 ‘village greens’ Wat
However it was all worth it as the latest report shows that this year, the waste volume was down considerably “Less waste that over the last 5 years…” A result! :)
Highlights to come… A visit by Natalie Bennett – we cleared up camp in advance of the rain; it was all hands on deck as the YGs and I transformed the kitchen & tent ‘larder’ (storage) areas into a weather-proof area. NB approved, meanwhile I’d lef camp to travel to the shower and an hr later, having met in deep discussion with some delightful folks at ‘Pants to Poverty, was also caught out in a shower of another kind, a rain deluge, which stopped play in the green futures field immediately as everyone dove for cover. Fortunately, I hid out next door with the Legs 4 Africa T-shirt appeal charity, who kindly offered me a slice of their fresh watermelon. Yum! A nice karmic turnaround. Not 3 days earlier, I had given out free glasses of Elderflower cordial (freshly pressed) & now likewise I graciously accepted the refreshing fruit.🙂 Meanwhile, NB gave our campsites the thumbs up🙂
Our favourite clear-up slogans from the field:
1. ‘Glitter not Litter’! We❤ The Magaphone Man aka Adam ‘Amster, who strode around camp delivering great ditties to keep us amused throughout the week…
2. “How much fun are you having? Expressed as a percentage..?!” This was Adam’s ongoing question to anyone in the nearest vicinity, which had a response of 74% on the Thursday, which was met with derision, so by the penultimate day it had risen significantly up to 283% …
3. “Has anyone a birthday?” What can you say?! Everyone has a birthday…!😉
Then there is the bus, not just any bus, but … its
All about the Bendy Bus; which we created out of bendy foam materials on the first few days to take people to and fro, from the site, collecting rubbish, handing out bin liners and generally exchanging rides for a bag collection of rubbish… I spent my first few hrs onsite, tying ‘tassels’ onto the sides of the ‘bus’ canopy to make it look further bus like & attractive (it’s hard to describe but just imagine a 7 yr olds greatest outdoor toy; something like this.) All credit to Adam and Emma Willow for their incredible creation!🙂
Friday night and I went out on a Walkabout down to the East side, the highlight of which was stopping off at the Latin Bar, to do a spot of Salsa dancing and meeting Michael Eavis, himself, in the audience! Must have been approx 5 paces away, having photos with audience members, so I stood back and let them go, cos it doesn’t do to make a scene😉
Sunday, I awoke at the sound of “he’s on at the Stone Circle, in 15 minutes!” I’d like to say that I’d sat up, bolt upright at 90 degrees and proceeded to hurry. What actually happened was that I rolled over, lay on my back staring up at the roof of my tent and wished for all the days that I had gone to bed anytime prior to 5am, that day and I slowly came to, dressed, pulled on wellies (it was raining..) and headed out to join the masses heading out towards the sacred site. My friend called out ” off to see her spiritual leader!” To which I retorted, “he’s not my spiritual leader; he’s everybody’s!” Down the pathway, somewhat sticky with wet mud and I could hear someone mutter “they’re running!” “Of course I’m running” I thought, His Holiness the 8th Dalai Lama, is ‘on stage, now!’😉
So I stood in the rain and felt most inspired and delighted to be able to peak through the bodies & heads ahead of me in the crowds, through the gaps, I could just make out his Holiness’s head; that was good enough for me. I stayed put and stood up on tip toes, in my muddy wellies.
Lionel Richie’s performance of a lifetime.
All washed down with refreshing Elderflower water (of course!)
When other campers arrived, as well as encouraging them to set-up around the village greens in concentric circles, we also helped out and assisted those setting up; handing out refreshments – tea anyone.. or fresh Elderflower cordial?! To our amazement it greatly increased our compliance to maintaining area standards, so all our areas were pretty well free-from litter. My younger neighbours had arrived enjoying themselves and set up by the nearest pathway, so I went over to introduce myself and explained about the set-up; they were delighted and despite getting sunburn (I went around to find them after-sun & generally look after them a bit) they went on the win the whole area prize for the neatest, clearest campsite area! Whoop! Hooray!🙂 They even made a sort-of-sculpture out of tin cans (used) in the shape of a bus stop by the pathway, which impressed the bus driver (Adam) immensely. This all proved the point of engagement for encouraging a compliance in a clearer landscape & maintaining the pathways we’d set up.