I started up near the main arena Friday morning a full day earlier than last year. Pretty soon the sun came out and people started to stop and dance, laugh and bop about. A couple of kids who also found me on Sunday stayed for quite a while at the end and couldn’t believe that everything was found at the recycling centre even the mixer and music! I also met ____ for a second time this year, he is a young local musician and journalist who plays and reviews festivals. He tells me all the best festivals are in the West Country and that I should go to Sunrise next year he’s also written about me on his blog so I am looking forward to reading what he says as he’s obviously a future talent
There a couple of ‘new to me’ bits of recycled kit that I am using at this years Shambala and one is the mixer the other is a rather groovy recycled disco light, more on that later. This DJ set ended with groups of 20 or 30 people around chilling out listening to my music and gave me the perfect opportunity to play Living on Video by Trans-X an 80’s electro synth-pop hit I recently found still sounds fresh by todays standards. This led to cries of ONE MORE so I dived into the record box and pulled out another crowd pleaser White Lines Don’t Do it by Grandmaster Flash
More showers put a stop to an afternoon DJ session so I went for a massage in the healing meadow with one of the many therapists working there, this was incredible as I am still feeling the benefit 5 days later. That evening we set out dodging rain drops to do debut disco with my recycled lighting. The disco light looked really good and we ended up playing original disco classics to about 50 passers by some of which we recognised from last year, others stopped, danced and hula-hooped until the rain well and truly got the better of us and we had to pack away for fear of damaging the equipment.
Saturday morning I was concerned about water damage to the mixer so after breakfast I tested Earwig. Everything seemed fine as I blasted out 80s hit Strawberry Switchblade back stage, the sun came out and a chef came dancing from the crew catering saying ‘you’ve made my day’ and that was only 9am. Inspired by this early start I headed off into the main festival and set up near the Tea n Toast cafe for some back to back James Brown funk and 60’s soul singles.
It was overcast with showers so I had both parasols covering the turntables and a raincoat on. Never the less the Shambalans were well up for a party and I instantly had 3 huddled under my makeshift shelter who had been up all night. Another person with a really large umbrella showed up and offered us some more protection from the rain whilst she bopped along with a young lad behind. It was getting pretty crowded with 6 of us huddled around Earwig so it was quite a relief when the clouds finally parted (partied?) and the sun came out.
From then on it was a really great session with lots of people stopping to party and take pictures. This session ended after about 2 hours with 3 boys taking turns to DJ whilst their mums and dads were dancing, laughing and joking (if you have photos of this please tag / show me as I have none). Big shout out to Alfredo and the boys Janto, Joe, Archie who were all very cool. Jantos mum was into recycling as last year she was artist in residence for Network Recycling, a festival waste management company.
Saturday afternoon I went to a workshop on making your own DIY solar panels using recycled materials and waste from the solar cell industry. This was very interesting and something that I would like to try out at home.
Gig-wise I tried for the first time to tweet and meet at the lake however it didn’t work as there was just too much else going on and my phone was dying. Not to be deterred we quickly headed off to the Wonky Cock bar where they were playing heavy grunge music from an ipod. Not to miss out on a bit of ipod bashing I offered my services as a DJ and quickly took up residence outside the bar facing the picnic tables and passers by.
This was a really fun and crazy DJ set as I was dressed as a capitalist pig complete with dollar bill neck tie and rubber snout. The music was 60s psychadelia and more soul which seemed to go down a treat and it was not long before the sun came out with plenty of passers by stopping for merryment and refreshment.
After about an hour I left the Wonky Cock bar to head over to the Family camping field and the Rub a Dub Tub baby baths who made us so clean and welcome last year. I took Earwig with some nursery rhymes and story telling records (Cinderella etc.) which I have been collecting over the years but never got a chance to play. I ended up playing for about an hour and met one of the Family Yurt organisers who is now working for UNLTD the organisation that funded me 4 years ago. They all really enjoyed what I was doing and invited me back the next day for more of the same.
or go back to part one Adventures in Utopia