Shambala Festival part two: Keeping it wheel… Piggy-wig style!

upcycled disco light made from LED xmas tree, speaker cabinet, parasol and traffic light !

mixers n massage (Friday)

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.

World Festival Exclusive!

breakfast show (Saturday)

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.

ipod bashing piggy-wig

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.

Wonky Cock Pub Shambala Festival
vintage waistcoat by State of Disarray £10, Blue T Shirt by GrassRootz Bamboo £25, Dollar bill neck tie, pig nose and flat cap found for free!

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.

family friendly ending

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.

Stay tuned for part three… !

or go back to part one Adventures in Utopia

Shambala Festival part one: Adventures in Utopia

I’ve had such a busy weekend performing at this years Shambala! A playground for dreamers, thinkers, radicals and romantics Shambala festival provided me the perfect opportunity to showcase Tip of the Pops – Thanks to all involved in such a wonderful weekend. This is the first of 3 posts from Shambala, which is no way long enough to explain all the wonderful things we got up to and great people we met….


What’s more this was a really BIG GIG a world festival exclusive that we have been preparing for nearly 6 months and I was going to work my socks off much to the dismay of 2/5 my family and crew who I feel were more focussed on me getting married in 3 weeks time. I’m sure by the end they were a little bit fed up and tired and wanted to take me to Moss Bros although I could’ve gone on for days longer. Fortunately for me and Shambalans the weather was ideal and I got a lot more sleep than last year meaning we could also get a lot more done.. hallelujah ! BUT before I dive off into de rigueur descriptions of my DJ’ing sets I must first set the scene of ‘otherworldlyness’ that for me keeps the Shambala community coming back for more and experiencing the unexpected

Shambala 2012 – Adventures In Utopia from Shambala Festival on Vimeo.


On Thursday evening the Ska’d for Life band who sang on last years Celebration video were opening the festival on one of the stages. We were of course there unwinding with a pint and a bit of a boogie when all of a sudden 2 gigantic hot air balloons appeared as if from no where. One was so close my best man Dan, who is an experienced para-glider thought it must be tethered to the ground but he was wrong. Much to my amazement it looked as if the balloon was dropping into the festival main arena Big Top Kamikaze style. The pilot was pumping the thing full of gas but because of the air temperature and atmospheric conditions the balloon was definitely coming down and looked like it was about to crash into the big tent/ tree tops. All this of course whilst the band played on blissfully unaware of the drama unfolding outside. Of course it never crashed and eventually shot up into the sky never the less this was definitely a close shave later tweeted by @ShambalaFest on twitter ‘organised chaos…all part of the plan! x


My second snippet comes from Sunday night and a performance by folk singer Bella Hardy who does not normally do ‘raves or roller discos’ (ah-bless) in Sankofa’s lakeside venue. This gig coincided with with the Big Burn a fireworks and bonfire spectacular that effectively ends the festival nicely. Although Bella was very talented she could not compete with the draw of the Big Burn and well over half her audience left to watch the spectacular outside until there was barely 20 of us left inside Sankofa’s. Bella even changed the order of her set to help overcome the disturbance of fireworks overhead.

Eventually curiosity got the better of me, when I heard what I thought was rain pouring down outside I had to go and investigate. Imagine my surprise when I was confronted by firemen hosing down Sankofa’s tent as burning embers were raining down on the venue and all around. Bella was still blissfully unaware and so were the rest of her audience. Although there was no immediate danger my instinct was to get the family together and leave but no sooner did we get outside then it was obvious embers were falling on both sides of the tent and I quickly decided to head back inside where it was comparatively ‘safe’ as we were surrounded by firemen with big hoses. By now Bella had realised something was up and had been told ‘the tent was on fire‘ which was not strictly true but had to be taken seriously none the less, I mean where else was all the water coming from if it was not raining outside? A few more people started coming into the tent for shelter which I guess calmed Bella down a bit as there was obviously no real danger but nonetheless it was rather exciting and bewildering at the same time.

stay tuned for part two Keep it wheel…

or go straight to part three Lovely Day !

Slushfest (Lushfest 2012) Fresh Handmade Festival

Gorilla Perfume Bus Lushfest 2012

How to Make a Fresh Handmade Festival

Start with a reasonable amount of dosh say 2 million pounds. Find the best location, the best artists, food and campaigns imaginable. Then, as a gesture of goodwill, fill it with your gorgeous products (that are either half price or free), invite employees, their friends and family from 50 nations THEN add 1 month of rain in just a few days!

What do you get? Lushfest 2012 or as it was affectionately known Slushfest!

Put you Money Where Your Mouth Is – The Prize, Emotional Brilliance!

You have to admire Lush for showcasing what they do in such exuberant fashion and rewarding their staff with what amounts to a working holiday and free festival vibe. This year they have launched the Lush Prize £250,000 for an individual or organisation working towards the end of animal testing in cosmetics. A personal video from Managing Director & Co-Founder Mark Constantine on YouTube explains how a law passed years ago has been largely ignored by big industry and highlights the obscenity and hypocrisy of businesses who are pocketing profits whilst causing pain and suffering to animals.

As if to prove their point Lush announced Emotional Brilliance a range of make-up designed to compliment your mood. In layman terms Lush are using colour therapy in their stores from 21st July so be sure to go and get yourself a reading. I have always been bemused by the pseudo science used to sell shampoo and make-up to the masses. For instance ladies in white coats at department stores, computer graphics explaining how your skin/ hair benefits. It seems Lush have set-out their stall to dispel these archaic practices and marketing myths. Is the point of psuedo-science marketing to make you feel stupid? And what’s the reason behind beauty magazines don’t they just make you feel ugly ? ! ! As with all Lush stuff the packaging and products have been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible and really work – I might even start wearing make-up as part of my act!

As if that wasn’t enough there was an amazingly scented Mercedes bus perfume shop, stone circle and complimentary comic from Gorilla Perfume to launch their new range of smellies. Inspiration for this new range of perfume comes from far and wide but not least of all places the London riots ‘burn incense not cars’. There was much too much to mention here but if you are inspired to find out more search YouTube for Lushfest 2012 you will not be disapointed.

View from Earwig the Barrow

As a local, environmental, performer and recycler I could not be happier with Slushfest. This year I met-up with a few acquaintances from last year and made some new friends in my woodland residence. Saturday torrential rain meant that we could not get on site with Earwig the disco barrow but we still managed to use the park-and-ride to get in and look around. The live performance of Soundbath with spa therapy treatments was a personal highlight for me on Saturday.

Sunday I set-up in the woods and started playing music to passers by. Plenty of people stopped to take photos and boogie on down, many remembered or had heard about me from last year. The best track for me was Chaka Khan – I feel for you which seemed to fit in with the Emotional Brilliance theme quite well. I even caught the attention of some professional DJ’s who happened to be playing that night and took over my equipment for quite some time. BIG shout out to Briony, DJ Peachy, Matt, Steve, Keiron, Spooks and Tea n Toast crew.

Corporate bookings like Lushfest help subsidise Tip of the Pops community work by paying for running costs and educational activities. Tip of the Pops solar powered wheelbarrow disco is a not-for-profit alliance of community arts and sustainability. DJ Dynamo, recycler of old vintage records and equipment is an award winning social entrepreneur based in Dorset whose tag line is ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, boogie!’. Later this year Tip of the Pops will be performing a World Festival Exclusive at the Shambala festival, August 24th-27th. Tickets are still available for Shambala the best colourful, creative, family friendly, community led and 2011 Greener Festival winner, so Keep it Wheel… and see you there.

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