Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (4)

I - Ice-cream.  I thought I'd recapture that Greenbelt vibe this afternoon in Oxford with one last squidgy cone with flake.  Alas - it wasn't to be; the machine, which had worked perfectly up until then, broke down, leaving me the perfect excuse to get myself a Cadburys at the station thinking that maybe said machine had the ability to read my cholesterol levels.

J - Jesus Arms  - Greenbelt's pub, meeting place and venue for the infamous 'Beer and Hymns.'  The other drinking hole is the Blue Nun Wine Bar - back on site after a couple of years in exile.  In the new, more compact layout of the festival village, the JA is conveniently situated next to mainstage and food traders.  I only made it over there a couple of times this year; the terrain thereabouts bearing a passing resemblance to a lunar landscape, (wasn't sure if the bumps and lumps were compacted molehills, cowpats or rabbit holes!). My mainstage visits, apart from Sunday's Communion service  weren't intentional, more a case of catching whatever was on whilst en route to loos or  to fetch my tea, but I did manage to catch some of Sinead O'Connor on one evening and the great Folk On. (Not playing together, obviously!)

K - Can't for the life of me remember what I'd intended to put here.

L - Loos! What can I say....When one or more Greenbelters are gathered together, the conversation  turns either to the weather or toilets: old, new, state of the facilities therein, length of queues, location of, the dreaded long-drop loos from way back in the Good Old Days of Dene Park, Castle Ashy and Knebworth (Cue chorus of Monty Pythons 'Four Yorkshiremen').  No cosy, warm, civilised Ladies and Gents with hot water and hairdryers handryers as we enjoyed at Cheltenham, softies that we were. "Luxury! Why...I remember...."

Is this  Dr Who's Tardis? No - it's a scenic view of Utility Point Six

Monday, 22 September 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (3)

F - Franciscans - There on the campsite, the brown-robed First Order brothers and sisters and in the resources area where the Third Order, of whom I'm one, had their stall.  The former, and more recently members of other religious orders, have been a calming  presence at Greenbelt for many years now.

Facebook - Like Marmite again; Greenbelt has several groupings on the dreaded Facebook. I find them a mixed blessing. Great for getting practical information on the nuts 'n bolts of the festival,  to have fun, and to make new contacts. It's good to have some familiar faces to look out for once you're there on the campsite. It's useful to have a place where you can feedback post festival, too. The downside, and I guess this applies on all social media, is that arguments can get extremely intense, misunderstandings can blow up in a matter of minutes. Sometimes it's better to 'Travel light' and take a break.

G - The Grove  - A woodland, sylvan area by the lake. One of the sister venues to the one where  I was volunteering, it had a similar, contemplative vibe, with a more eco feel to it. I didn't actually get to any of the events there, though from what I saw on the programme visitors there spent much time being At One With the Soil (as indeed we all did by the time Monday's rainstorms arrived).

Glamping - At the beginning of the festival I cast many a supercilious glance across at this encampment of luxury yurts.  By the end, the thought of forking out a small fortune to have access to hot water, cooking facilities and your own private block of loos seemed  entirely justified!

H - Higgedy Pies. Mmmmmm!

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (2)

D - Duck poo -  If you worked  on The Mount you may have an inkling of what I'm rabbiting on about. If you didn't, just don't ask!

Dave Tomlinson -  (See Bad Christian's Manifesto).

Dawn Service - Forget the big Communion do (waits for divine thunderbolt to descend), my highlight of the weekend was the early (yawn - so early) pilgrimage of worship through the campsite, led by Susan Sayers, with help from her small grandchildren. Simple, profound, no props, just bringing ourselves. And I know that the moment when we climbed the Mount, saying  the Gloria antiphonally, then came out onto the summit before facing East, West, North and South to pray for ourselves, the festival and the world will stay with me, and from the looks of it - many other campers, for a long, long time.  A truly 'Golden Moment,' as an old supervisor used to say.

E  - Early Curfew - The section of the campsite where those with small children and those, like myself who prefer their late nights peaceful but who don't mind being woken up by the chirruping of little ones hang out.  (Saves packing an alarm clock).  This was my third year there. It's an ongoing dilemma in my case, whether the trade-off of less noise (and less company) as against the longer distance from the festival village is worth it. I must admit, I hesitated this time round. We'll see.

Festival Village from the Mount

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Greenbelt ABC - Travelling Light (1)

Hello again. Yes, I these days of instant communication, this must be one of the latest Greenbelt Festival write-ups ever. And it gets better! I'll be posting in instalments, so with luck you may be fully in the picture by Christmas. 

On the other hand, I may have forgotten exactly what happened by then.  Enjoy

A- Arrival.  Just don't ask! Arrival this year was particularly gruelling given the long long walk from reception to car park and on to the campsite. On a lighter note - as a volunteer, you   arrive  during build week several days earlier than general public (I refuse to call them 'punters!)  It's one of my favourite times, watching the festival take shape around me. Depending on how early you are, the infrastructure - water, signage, pathways, food stalls  may not yet be in place, which holds its own challenges. Of course there are perks; for nearly two glorious days I shared our section's block of portaloos with just two other people and there's nothing in the world more glorious than falling asleep to a chorus of sheep baa-ing, cows mooing and owls hooting.   

B  - Boughton House in Northamptonshire, one of the Bucculeuch estates, Greenbelt Festival's new            home. 

       Backache - Enough said. See C for codeine.

      Big Sing - With the Wild Goose Resource Group.  Always a highlight and a delight.

       Bunting -My collection grows every year. I love prettifying my tent with chintzy florals and                fairy lights, even thought my new tent this year was more of the Goth persuasion.

       Bad Christian's Manifesto - reinventing God with Greenbelt stalwart - Dave Tomlinson.

       C -  Communion. I'm never quite sure what to expect from this one. Sunday's mass, open-air              worship         is like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.  Hats off to the organisers though -        what a project to have to pull off year after year.    Read one  Mystery Worshipper's take        on          this year's service.  No, as you ask, it's not Greenpatches in disguise.

        Cumbrian Sausages. My favourite food stall and offers  best value for money for your                       volunteer vouchers. It also provides endless innocent amusement and an ideal photo op. One               youngster posing next to their 'Giant Sausage,' billboard said that he'd found a photo of his                   father taken next to the self-same notice many years previously!

Greenbelt 2014 - all set up in Early Curfew
[What on earth's happened to the formatting? Gremlins, I tell you!]