Despite being a child of the 60’s [six months as a baby in 1959 doesn’t count]; a teenager growing up around Reading in the 70’s and a fairly liberal-minded, eclectic-music-loving married woman thereafter – there has always been one type of event that seems to have passed me by….the Festival.
Images of the original hippy-love-in Woodstock festival in 1969 caught my attention and the ‘perceived’ debauchery and drug-fuelled excesses of the Reading festival in the seventies seemed tempting but off limits. Even the classical, ‘ever so proper, frightfully good reputation’ of Glyndebourne wasn’t enough to persuade me to go and sit in a field!
The muddy visions that so often accompanied reports from Glastonbury, looked good fun until you thought about traipsing all that gloop in and out of a tent and the year when my daughter and her friend’s tent almost floated away at Momentum did nothing to modify this opinion
Nowadays though, festivals are de rigueur for everybody from screaming teenagers at T4 on the Beach to classical music’s Proms in the Park – they simply keep popping up everywhere! So when I mentioned to my husband, David, that Greenbelt, a festival that brings people together ‘to explore faith, arts and justice issues‘ was celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and that I’d quite like to go, I surprised myself and was even more surprised when he agreed to come along too…. on one condition….. that it didn’t include a sojourn in a tent!
So here we are – festal virgins – all packed and ready to go. Do not let the picture fool you – it may be okay for gap year backpackers to set off with little more than a change of underwear and a song and a prayer but us more mature festival goers need a little extra……. you can’t see them, but the wellies are already packed in the car!
As is my wont, I have scoured the programme and am already looking forward to laughing at Milton Jones’ one liners; getting into the varied rhythms of Amadou & Mariam, the London Community Gospel Choir and Courtney Pine; listening to John Bell just talk and searching out the folk from Hopeweavers. It will also be good to meet up with some old friends that I know are going to be there and maybe meet some new friends. It’s going to be fun!
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them. Ecclesiastes 8:15
And before any earnest, festival aficionados berate us for forgoing the pleasures of the whistling canvas and dewy walks to the lavatories at midnight may I just offer you the hand of hospitality and a warm shower at the Premier Inn should the predicted forecast of rain and storms materialise…
For more information about Greenbelt go to http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/