Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Shrewsbury Folk Festival

So, from Friday at 8.30 am to Monday at 8.30 pm I was away at a festival. The website said there would be full wifi coverage, so I decided to blog from the festival, but in the event I couldn't get on the Internet for more than a couple of minutes at a time. So here's a rundown from very recent memory, using Carol's 'six senses' approach. Imagine me sitting in the food tent (like a huge marquee with no sides full of rectangular eight-seater tables and folding chairs) in a grassy field surrounded by morning sunshine, tempting food outlets, interesting people, enjoyable music, and wasps.

I can see:

Stalls advertising all kinds of food: Thai, Indian, a couple of excellent veggie outlets, baked potatoes and baguettes, Welsh, English, Mexican, ice-cream, paella, fuffle (a very sweet confection between fudge and truffle), and the awesome Pie Minister.

A short queue of relaxed people, chatting happily with each other, at every stall.

A portly man in a straw hat, orange shirt, creased dark green linen shorts, black socks and black Morris shoes, talking on a mobile phone.

An boy of 11 or 12, riding a unicycle slowly, with one hand on the saddle and a look of intense concentration.

A lively little blonde girl aged four or five in a pink fairy dress and fairy wings and bare feet, dancing on the grass.

I can hear:

A trio behind me - accordion, fiddle and flute - practising tunes steadily and well (the little blonde girl is dancing to their music)

Three wasps buzzing around my breakfast plate

My eco-friendly wooden knife snapping as I try to cut a fried egg

Chat and laughter

The whirr of a mobility scooter passing by

I can feel:

The heat of the sun on my left shoulder and the cool of the shade on my right thigh

The warmth of the good intentions of other festival-goers

Love for, and from, my friends who are here with me, even the ones who are still asleep

Excitement about the dancing I plan to do, and the gigs I intend to see, today

Everyday cares dissolving in the festival solution

I can touch:

The smooth formica top of the table in front of me

The familiar keys of my laptop

The eco-friendly wooden cutlery, strangely rough to my fingertips

My own smooth sun-warmed shoulder

The wasp taking a swim in my orange juice, if I want to flirt with danger

I can smell:

Barbecue smoke from someone's home-cooked sausages

The brown sauce I poured onto the edge of my veggie fry-up

Shampoo from the freshly-showered head of a passer-by

Bacon frying from the Welsh food stall (free range of course)

Fresh air

I hope that's given you a sense, in a very real way, of my experience. It's a tiny fragment of an enormously stimulating whole. I could tell you so much more: about the delight of exchanging banter with my friends under their gazebo on the bank of the Severn as stately swans floated by; learning Cajun dancing with a good friend (although I have to say the Crippled Chicken nearly crippled me); how glad I was that my Paramour had encouraged me to pack a hot water bottle (I will never camp in England without one again); baked potatoes with goat's cheese and caramelised onions; Gilmore and Roberts and Chuck Brodsky making me cry; Belshazzar's Feast and Chuck Brodsky making me laugh; pogoing in the mosh pit to Bellowhead. It's hard to come down from the festival high and return to everyday life.


Bernadette said...

What a fabulous post!

I'm glad you had such a great time and I agree with the hot water bottle tip (although my tip for camping in England is to take a quilt, nice soft pillows, a bed, a bedroom and a house to put it all in!)

KarenG said...

This festival sounds/smells/tastes/looks amazing. I wish I were there! I read Carol's post too about experiencing & remembering through the senses and thought it was brilliant.

HelenMHunt said...

Brilliant. And that must have been some egg ...

Carol said...

LOL...just how tough was that egg?

I absolutely loved this post Queenie!! I felt like I was there with you...and it brought back loads of memories of WOMAD too :-)

C x

Ps. I adore Pie Minister...they do THE best pies ever!!

Queenie said...

Bernadette, good tip!

Karen, it was.

Helen and Carol, it was more the feebleness of the cutlery than the toughness of the egg! And Carol, I completely agree about Pie Minister. Yum.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

A feast for the senses! Ours as well as yours. xxx

Debs said...

I could picture it so well through your descriptive words. It sounds fascinating.

Bluestocking Mum said...

I was right there with you.

Lovely stuff
warm wishes

Karen said...

I'm not much of a one for music festivals, but you've made it sound very appealing :o)

SpiralSkies said...

Being a tragic sort who doesn't get out much, I've somehow never been to a music festival but this one sounds totally my thing. Well, anything with a fairy dancing to fiddle and flute's got to be a winner.

Lovely post, I'm off to investigate (and borrow) the six senses doodah now, you've inspired me :)

Glad you had such a fab time X

Queenie said...

BS, Debs, BM, Karen, thank you!

Spiral, is that 'doesn't get out much' as in being flown to the Isle of Wight for lunch and being whisked away for a romantic rendezvous in the New Forest? That kind of not getting out much? Deeply, deeply tragic. Ahem.

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