Shambala Festival part three: Lovely Day

interview with radio Shambala to be broadcast as a pod cast later this year

Sunday morning was overcast but enthused by yesterdays breakfast show I went for another outing. These morning gigs work really well as there is nothing planned on the main stages until midday so no fear of me being drowned out. There is also a nice mix of people some who have been up all night, others buying breakfast and of course families whose kids are already wide awake and looking for some entertainment.

In order to keep things fresh I was determined not to play the same song twice so I ditched Friday & Saturdays singles and took out some ‘new-to-me’ stuff including Bill Withers Lovely Day. Early morning discos such as these also mean I get to play some down tempo chillaxing music that I would not normally play so it’s sensibly sustainable by making the best use of my resources. Much the same as Saturday morning the clouds parted, the sun came out and it was especially magical for those early risers

Radio Shambala

Sunday afternoon I had arranged an interview with radio Shambala which will be broadcast later in the year. The challenge was to try and capture something that was impromptu, improvised and in essence unplanned. We walked and talked for 20 minutes whilst I found what I thought was a nice place to set-up. Not long after I started playing music we were approached by Electric Pedals from the phone charging disco. They had literally run out of power and needed Tip of the Pops to play music whilst people cycled to charge-up their mobile phones

What followed was one of the most memorable gigs ever – in effect a gym-like spinning class. Encouraging stationary cyclists to keep pedalling whilst promoting renewable energy and recycling (of old mobile phones) to cheesy wheelbarrow disco music. What’s more, radio Shambala were there to record the whole event interviewing Electric Pedals, the cyclists and passers by at Looking back this gig was possibly the highlight of the festival for Earwig the ‘barra’ but before I explain why I must explain a bit more about Electric Pedals (EP).

generating interest at the phone charging disco!

Electric Pedals (EP)

EP have about 10 pedal power generators attached to stationary bicycles (each generator costs £450). There are no batteries or solar panels involved the only power they have is generated in ‘real-time’ by the cyclists. If there are not enough cyclists then there is not enough power for the phone charging or motivational music. On this occasion although the bikes were busy the power required by the phones meant that there was not enough energy for the music.

As it was a packed Sunday afternoon there were plenty of phones that needed charging and the solution was for Tip of the Pops to play music to the cyclists, simple. So my ‘tippy’ found equipment and dumped vinyl revitalised an expensive renewable rig as well as helping the twenty or so people whose phones were charged. I also managed to select some tracks that went with the cycling theme ‘the power you’re supplying is electrifying‘ from Grease, did a shout out to my family and crew and announced our World Festival Exclusive with Shambala

Not only had Shambala triumphed by delivering something un-planned and impromptu for the radio (as expected) but Earwigs speaker and renewable rig had managed to hold it’s own surrounded by much larger and more expensive, louder systems! We also managed to get the recycling and renewable message across with maximum audience participation in a fun and original way, which is the main purpose of Tip of the Pops.


If the EP gig and radio Shambala interview was a technical and educational achievement what happened next was my own personal highlight of the festival. Afterwards, I left the main hussle and bustle of the festival to return to the family field and baby bath house. Playing nursery rhymes and relaxing music to parents and children as the sun went down was a real treat and extreme contrast to the gig I had only just done!

To make this moment even more magical a dizzy bee landed on my spinning disco ball and stayed for 10 minutes fascinating children and parents alike. As we all sat around Earwig mesmerised by the sights and sounds of Shambala a film crew appeared and recorded some of the action. I played an hour and half set ending with the Floral Dance by the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band which was most appropriate!  Lasts years Shambala experience, my first, could only be summed up as sublime – this year words still escape me! Needless to say I left enthused, energised and eager to return next year for more glittery magic.

This 3 part special report is dedicated to my fellow enthusiast Brian Edwards whose generosity and all round good vibrations lives on in the vintage electronic equipment he restored Ghettoblasters! Thank you Brian we will miss you

go to part onepart two – part three

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.

‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…

…it’s about learning to dance in the rain’

What more can I say about Shambala apart from what I’ve already said? Well imagine my surprise this morning when I followed a link to their latest video and I was in it ! Admittedly it was only a 2 second clip amongst a cast of thousands but none-the-less it was enough to fill me with joy. Here is the video followed by what I posted on the Facebook group

‘this link goes out to all friends of Tip of the Pops! There is a bloomin marvellous little festival in the heart of England that will make you feel proud to be alive. If you have not been there before or even heard of Shambala do not worry as you will be made to feel welcome none the less – like we was ! SO check this out for a taste and flavour of the spirit of Shambala land :)’