We ended this summer in a wild and wonderful way; a weekend spent in a field at a Festival with 1000`s others in Cornwall and what a weekend it was.
Earlier in the year we had talked as a team on the future, what we could do and where. The talk of festivals that were at that time just a hope became a reality with The Great Estate, the first of 2 festival events we take part in.
The fact we only had 16 days' notice of conformation didn’t deter us as it merely made step up a gear and get organized. We didn’t even own a marquee to house us in while there but we did have a team of people who were determined to make it a great weekend and we set about to make it Epic!
Once conformation came through, we sat as a team and planned out what we were going to do, who was doing what, our roles, expectations and ground rules. The youth that work with us had a big part in this and got busy listing and preparing the instruments we would take with us and helped us look at the covid safety measures we needed to make it as safe as we could for all included.
The time passed quick and we were soon loading the van, driving there and signing in. The need to show proof of vaccinations and tests were reassuring for the team as everything was checked before we could enter the site. These measures were not only for the staff but for the public as well as to help make the event as safe as possible.
We brought with is a huge selection of instruments and were so glad we did as from the first day the gates opened the music, mayhem and memories were made. Within hours we knew we had created something special and would be used as intended.
From months ago, those chats, ideas and visions we had talked about, planned and imagined – to reality, a well-used and enjoyed space that created fun. The simple flow of things made me realise that music does what many other projects I have worked on fail to do so well. Music is so organic in this setting; it finds its own place and beat. It can't be forced; it just needs to flow. Our part was just to provide the instruments to allow it to happen. And it happened. More experienced helped newer beginners regardless of age, people tried instruments that were new to them, that they had years of experience of playing and people just came to join in for the fun of it or to listen to what was created.
Polyrhythm - the definition is - the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in music and that just about sums up what 11 hours a day for 3 days in a field in Cornwall was like. So much contrast brought by so many different people.
We expected around 50 –60 people a day to join in, how wrong we were as in fact it was more like 150 –160 and then I think that’s an understatement. We had nothing but happy people all weekend, nothing got lost and only one accident on an instrument that was looking fragile before the festival. The feedback from those that participated brought goosebumps and grins. The hundreds of photos taken that weekend by proud parents of their want-to-be rock stars assured us that it wasn’t just the kids that were happy with what we created and the offers for future collaboration, of help, donations and participation on future events kind of really hit home just how special it was for so many.
To quote a little of the feedback we received -
Wow, Wow, Wow - The main reason why my sons enjoyed the festival. Too watch an 8 and 11 year old having a jam has been overwhelming and i will be sure to continue with lessons after seeing their passion this weekend - It is much more than a workshop or project & there should be one of these in every town, village and hamlet! - Very special indeed - Never seen anything like this at a festival - it was mesmerising witnessing how much these kids got out of it ! - The best experience learning all the instruments - The kids had the best time, they spend 2 whole days at the festival going back to you guys. - Couldnt get my kids out, you guys are the best! - Lovely vibes, top blokes, great for kids - Unexpected wonderful experience. My girls spotted instruments from the start and asked time and time again to come in. A very warm welcome and calming instructions on how to play different instruments. Many we had not had the chance to try before. -
This feedback and so many more like this, spurs us on to do more, to enable more people to have access to music and the arts. The transformation we have seen through music and people as we exit the restrictions Covid brought is simply amazing. Connection, community and cohesion all rolled into a great weekend.