Britain has got a long long history in festivals, fates n fairs etc going back hundreds n hundreds of years and the celebrations of the Sabbaths go back thousands and thousands. Imbolc, the spring and autumn equinoxes, Samhain, Beltane and the summer and winter soltice's are ancient celebrations that were held under the stars and go way back to the start of the human story. These special times of year were celebrated amongst the ancient momuments that align to the sun, moon and stars, before that celebrations were amongst the yew trees and on those pieces of land held sacred. Its a tradition that still survives to this day and despite the many religious indoctrinations, witchhunts and invasions this green and pleasant land has witnessed over the centuries its quite amazing these ancient traditions and celebrations still exist, a testament to how important they are to people.
So Beltane might look a bit different these days than it used to, I mean im currently at the Horsedrawn camp with our new El Chipos stall, were set up inbetween the whisky bar, Kerrys tipi and Dave Sangers horse-drawn stage show. As im writing this there is a live Gypsy folk band on the stage and Sanger is bending down in the corner stumbling about swearing his head off as he tweeks the mixing desk. In front of the stage theres a bunch of merry folks dancing in the rain, a rich mixture of Punks, Irish and Romany Gypsies, farmers, locals, travellers, anarcists. van n city dwellers and of course Olivia from Bolivia strutting her stuff in the middle of it all, and to top off the show there is Kerry, a Native American fire dancer sitting on top of a post apocalyptic styled Ford Ka grinding sparks from her metal chastity belt into the audience with an angle grinder. All in all its a truly magical site, seeing people enjoy themselves like this reminds me of what treasures moments like these are when we are all untied like this in celebration, just good vibes everywhere, no trouble, just good vibes and sound people having a good time.
These types of grass roots gigs are fkn wicked and remind me what festivals should be all about, trade is fair, ticket price is cheap and affordable for people on low incomes, you can get good grub for around 6 -7 quid a meal and a can of beer at a bar for around £2.50, far away from the extortionate food n drink prices you find at commercial festivals these days. Yer things have gone up in price but people can still make a living at gigs like this cause the pitch fee here is percentage based and very reasonable, therefore you can charge a reasonable price for a meal rather than an extortionate one. The people who attend the horsedrawn camp are very friendly well weathered outdoor types who care little about a bit of mud n drizzle, whats important here is catching up with mates, sitting around fires meeting new people and listening to some decent live music, at the end of the day thats what its all about innit, being friendly, respectful and kind to each other whilst having a fkn good time in the process, and the horse drawn camp definitely ticks all those boxes.
Its been years since I been pulled out the mud at a festival, seeing people help push cars and vans as they slip n slide up the hill towards the outside world was a quite nostalgic site. We need more gigs like these as the commercial festivals are getting to on top these days, fuck loads of paperwork, long application forms to fill in, photo id, digital wristbands and cashless on the way, Fuck that. Our pitch here was sorted inna couple of short text messages, me asking if we can come and Pete replying yeah, great, thats how its done here, nice n simple. I can see me returning back to these smaller grass roots gigs cause I fkn love n miss them. With a few exceptions of course, I mean we gotta have a bit of Glastonbury, Buddhafield and into the wild innit, love working alongside those crews.
Massive love to the Horsedrawn crew, the landy towers n tractor drivers, the helpers, Pete n Rachel, thank you so much for everything you do you put on a splendid event, and big love to Dave Sanger and crew, you bring new meaning to the words naughty corner lol, had such a laugh this weekend and look forward to the next time..
What an amazing start to the season, see you down the road.