Saturday, 9 August 2008

Maker Sunshine Festival

I've got to be honest: I had pretty mixed feelings about going to this festival and it had nothing to do with the festival itself. I was nervous to be spending time with Ciarin so soon after we'd split. I needn't have worried; it was fine. He was friendly, but not awkward or overly intimate - a real gentleman, as ever. There were maybe 30 people there that I knew, so I didn't have to be around him and his friends (my friends, too, these days). However, I did enjoy his company and theirs. :-)

I did have a couple of 'moments'. I started sobbing just as Dreadzone came on! The music made me want to dance, but I felt a bit sad. The contrast made me feel disconnected from the moment. Fortunately, I was 'bundled' by three friends who hugged me fiercely and got me dancing. Before long, I was enjoying myself.

The truth is that I had a great festival. The festival itself is by no means large, but there's plenty going on - there's the Main Stage, the 2nd Stage, the Energy Rooms, The Cabaret Tent, the Bunkers and the Hemp Tent, plus a number of different hangouts - hookah pipes, cafes, tea shops, the firepit and a dome tent that welcomed all types of smokers. There were brave men and women performing the fire poi for our entertainment. I saw comedy acts (the delightful and very funny Totnes poet Matt Harvey), burlesque dancing (the unforgettable Miss Zelma du Noir) and some brilliant local bands live (sexy blues chick, Kat Marsh, the oh-so-pleasing dreadlocked Willie and the Bandits, the stomp-around, yes-they-play-everywhere-but-who-cares, Mad Dog McRae) as well as some from futher afield (The New York Ska and Jazz Ensemble, The Beat and, yes, Dreadzone). There was around 100 acts over four days, so there was lots I didn't see, but those were my favourites.

It was small enough not to get lost. Well, except for one foggy night when every tent looked remarkably like the next, especially sillouetted by bright lights near the Bunker. I got rather disorientated looking for my friends' tents, but not for long.

It did rain a lot, but that didn't stop the fun - so what if the sunshine was more a mindset than a reality! In fact, the deeper the mud got, the more it broke down my inhibitions - I was more free to accept myself for who I am (a muddy scruffbag!), kick back and relax.

I stayed awake dancing on Saturday night until 6:30am with a little help from my friends. We danced almost all the way through, starting from 8pm. More excercise than I'd had in ages! I reckon I came back from the festival fitter than before. Actually, though I did indulge in burgers, cakes and breakfast rolls, I also enjoyed lots of salad and fruit and I managed to stay off tobacco, so pretty good all round.

Leaving involved negotiating seriously muddy roads in my Ford Focus. I kept my momentum going and though I slid around in a somewhat alarming fashion, I wasn't one of the unlucky stuck.

On the way back into civilisation, we stopped at the Co-op in Torpoint. In that moment, we realised 1) that the world had continued without us quite successfully as evidenced by numerous newspapers 2) it was no longer acceptable to speak to random strangers and ask if they were having a good time 3) it was slightly frowned upon to be covered with mud, in need of a good bath and have unbrushed hair.

When I got home, I realised the car was splattered with mud as if I'd had a fight with an enraged hippo. There was so much mud glued into the wheel arches, I easily scraped off a carrier bag's worth.

I've left the car muddy just as a reminder of the fun I had (well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!). ;-)

If you want to know more about the Maker Sunshine festival, here's a link to their myspace. They also have a main website. I can't seem to link that one, but you can always google it :-)

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