|The Green Caterpillar - Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham Racecourse, 2011|
...and so to G for Greenbelt Festival, that annual dose of music, arts, worship, and social justice issues; land of Amorphous Green Caterpillars, silly hats, fairy lights, music, mayhem and musings. Now in its 41st (or 42nd?) year, it's found a home in various different locations, the latest being the beautiful woodland estate of Boughton House, in Northamptonshire. I've been an [albeit tiny] part of Greenbelt since 2008, both as a festival-goer with Mr GP to begin with, then one year solo, followed by three years as a worship volunteer. I've learned and experienced so much from it over that period. Encountering GB at a time when I was searching, re-thinking my faith and transitioning between churches, it's been in turn a refuge, inspiration, exasperation and 'I-don't-know-what-elseration.'
Sometimes it's good to have a break, however, and so I've decided to take a 'sabbatical' from Greenbelt this summer. Last year, its first in Boughton, I found quite tough, both physically and otherwise (and I'm no softie!) It's that little bit further to travel for me than was Cheltenham, adding extra logistical and financial difficulties onto the load. We'll have had quite a tiring year by the time August Bank holiday comes round again, plus the possibility of something equally exacting that I may be taking part in this autumn. Taking into account that Greenbelt is also in the process of re-inventing itself, it only seems sensible to wait and see what the feedback from this year, theme The Bright Field brings. I'm sure I'll enjoy it all the more for having a gap between visits, although the Bank Holiday is going to feel very strange indeed.
I'll leave you with a powerful moment from Greenbelt 2012, (the muddy one!) - the Sunday morning festival communion service with folk band Flaming Nora leading the crowd in Mike Scott's hit Bring em all in. Enjoy.