Ecotainment! Brings the Fun-shine and Bubbles to Growhampton’s Edible-Campus

I just returned from a rather wet but far from miserable day at an ethical student eatery in London called the Hive Cafe. It was their first birthday party and although it rained for the duration a thoroughly good time was had by all! The Hive is the retail outlet for Growhampton an award winning sustainability project run by the Students Union at Roehampton University

Growhampton minions have been plotting, potting and planting an Edible-Campus by creating grow-spaces, reviving Orchards, tending to Bees and Chickens as well as sourcing products and services from ethical local businesses. This means the produce is fresh and delicious, the flavour combinations are seasonal and the whole outlet just screams wholesome goodness

The cafe consists of two converted shipping containers. Upcycled and re-purposed furniture indoors and out surrounded by fresh herbs and flowers. As I am such a junk-junkie one item that caught my eye was the enormous and rather old water-butt that may have been part of the original Victorian chapel and colleges. It was still working and took pride of place in the courtyard facing the cafe

Please take time to watch video, visit their website and view the blog. It’s inspiring and if you can’t get down there to taste the truly scrumptious produce please consider making a donation to their Crowdfunder campaign. They’re expanding and want to triple the indoor seating area by taking on another shipping container or two !


Larmer Tree Festival 2015 Applications are Open

After two consecutive years performing Tip of the Pops at the intimate, local & social Larmer Tree Festival that time has come around again. Last year it felt like all my hard work, energy and enthusiasm (with all round good vibrations) had been recognised when I was asked to host a Bubble Boogie Disco in the children’s area. As well as performing walk-about street theatre every day including a welcoming 60’s warm-up for the legend that is Sir Tom Jones!

Victorian Pleasure Gardens

Genuine Antique Stage

The LTF as it’s affectionately known is a 5 day arty-party hosted in antique Victorian pleasure gardens. A truly spectacular venue in rural England on the Dorset/ Wiltshire border geographically between the Isle of Wight & Glastonbury in festival speak. Because of the unique venue the festival does have a very intimate vibe and this year will be extra special as it is their 25th Anniversary. It’s a chance to see big name artists many of whom would have played Glastonbury in a more relaxed atmosphere and civilised surroundings. There’s also a great selection of comedy, workshops, street theatre & children’s entertainment c’est moi !

As I was trawling through my inbox (3604 unread messages) I found this Larmer Tree Application that I made in 2008 and not long after my first ever gig. It’s not a bad sounding introduction & raison d’etre to Tip of the Pops so I am publishing it here for the first time. I have already applied to return to Larmer Tree this year to help celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Over the years I have been delving into festival culture and education to develop Ecotainment! Let’s hope we get a look-in at this years Larmer Tree & I hope to see you there… !

Tip of the Pops is a Solar Powered Wheel Barrow disco (called Earwig) played by me DJ Dirty Ali.  All of the music and most of the equipment comes from Household Recycling Centre’s (aka the Dump). Earwig provides enough energy for about 3 hours of music before needing a recharge; a gig could be under canvass or out in the open depending on your requirements.  For instance if you have a lot of people queuing I could provide some entertainment to pass the time.

Music is all 7′ vinyl and caters for every taste – its’ a bit like listening to Classic Gold (60’s 70’s 80’s and some 90’s) but with an excruciating cheesy MC DJ – Me ! I have mics so people can join in karaoke style or another MC / Beat boxer can get involved and pump up the crowd!  The DJ sets are recorded and best bits are put online.

The more serious side to what I’m doing is about recycling, renewable energy and climate change. I can host a 30-minute talk and discussion about climate change using information from the Climate Outreach Information Network. I also have a renewable energy station consisting of a mini-bus with solar panels on roof and a 6-meter high wind turbine (only 1.5m diameter).  This system provides enough electricity for tip of the pops and can be used to power other attractions. At the green gathering I provided energy to an art gallery using low power lighting at night and some amplified music during the day.  The same set-up was used to provide power to the healing, kids and arena at Boscombe Community Fair .

I have 5 years experience as a community arts organiser / promoter so am used to working with different artists and groups.  If you wanted me to work closer in developing areas such as green art renewables or waste and recycling these are all areas I’m experienced in.  I would be willing to pass on contacts, network etc. and attend meetings / arrive early to help get things started.

Although Tip of the Pops was developed and debuted secretly at the Green Gathering last year it only played to about 50 people.  This current set-up and guise is Brand New, better and would not have been seen anywhere by anyone else at any other festival! I am expecting offers from other events but as you are local it makes sense for me to approach you first. I would be much happier participating in a really successful local event like yours (that utilises everything I do) than having to stretch my time and resources doing many gigs further a field.

More images and stories can be found on my website