Back in Spring we were looking for a good slot to fill during August after a cancellation; it would be school holidays, our youth were eager to do as much as they could and they looked at us to provide. When we had an intro to Womad Festival with the possibility to be there with our instrument library we were a little in awe. Womad for me is right up there with the best of the best! I first went back in the 80`s in Crinis, St Austell and always had a fancy to return and this was it! An invite to Womad and we were going.
We had a team of ten with us and with an expectant crowd of 40,000+ attendees we really did need them. As normal, we go the day before and leave the day after due to the set up and take down of marquees etc. With a 6 meter x 6 meter space we created it soon got filled, decorated and ready for the first day with the team we had.
over the next 4 days of being open, it was expected to be busy but i think we might just of underestimated just how busy. If Thursday was an eye opener, then Saturday with close on around 1000 children that day coming through our tent, it left us numb and best described as controlled chaos. It was fun, it was loud and I mean real loud and it was an experience our team should be proud of. Its actually quite hard to describe, the noise that was created for those 8 hours. It was like a competition to see who was loudest, the trombone, the electric violin, the E -drums (until we put headphones on it) or the microphones where at one stage we had a chap who wanted to make donkey noises for a few hours although we managed to get through about 20 mins before we had to pull the plug on that due to complaints from parents. In amongst this were pure moments of magic and those moments make everything good; the 12 year old who spent 4 days glued to our tent in awe of the Deans, Flying V`s we brought with us and really shredded it like a natural, The chap in his 70` who wandered in with his wife, sat at the piano and jazz jammed with Sam, our 17 year old Bass player and then the chap from Ashburton who simply appeared with his Saxophone and started a jam going of such impromptu beauty that soon everyone was joining in with. Its those moments that help make the magic of Womad and we had it all, in our tent over those 4 magical days.
At the festivals we attend I don't really mix out of work hours. I camp separate from the others as i want them to have fun and not to have the eye of the `boss` over them while there. They are supervised by the other adults and we find this works great with everyone. I don't go out much but i do try to see one or two from the line up. This year i had my eye on Selector and Kae Tempest. I managed to miss the Selector but the high light for me was Kae. I find the work magic how the words come to life, how they can often speak for me and when I listen, I get motivated but at the same time jealous of such a wordsmith as i find I want to write like that, I want to express in that way. To see Kae in another setting would be good but for me, Womad was brilliant for her to headline.
We came away on that Monday afternoon, a little broken and a little tired but the convo on our return trip was filled with the exciting times we had, the desire to go back and how we will carry that weekend with us for years to come. For some on our team it was their first festival experience, for others it was the first time back to a festival for 30 years. For the young people with us, it has opened eyes and ears, brought them closer to the bigger world around us and gave them a glimpse of another world. Some of those young people will move on from us next year as they head to university and full time jobs but that's not a sad thing, they make place for others of which there are many who wait turn to join in with the likes of Womad.
For the two youth who experienced working with us at their first time festival, this is what they wrote,
Today was the day we arrived at WOMAD. I drove up with Collette and arrived slightly later than the others arriving today, so when we arrived we jumped straight into helping them set up the Polyrhythm tent for tomorrow. We had a lot of fun as we did, joking around and singing with each other as well as taking snack breaks. After finally finishing the main tent we got back to camp where we had to set up our own tents. I am absolutely exhausted! But we have had a laugh doing it and we’ve had a chat and played some music.
Today has been a little chilly, but the most important part is that we opened for the public today! We spent all morning decorating the tent and getting it ready, we had a little lunch where I walked around with the boys and then it was time to work. It was a bit stunning for so many people to come in on the first day, but so many people said that they loved it – we must be doing something right! But seriously, it was so cool for everyone to turn up and have a good time playing instruments. After work we headed to Aldi for snacks, and later on this evening I went out with the boys to check out what was going on around the festival. We saw some amazing acts on different stages, we went on a fairground ride (which was so much fun!) and I managed to make a new friend too which is awesome!
Today was a bit of a struggle to get into a rhythm, there were so many kids coming into the tent and it was a little overwhelming! But I interacted with the little ones more – which is great for my experience with childcare – and I taught them how to play things like the trombone, ukulele and drums. This evening I’ve been absolutely exhausted so I’ve just been chilling in my tent all evening, it’s thankfully been really relaxing.
Today was, again, absolutely exhausting haha. We had probably a thousand children through and I was once again placed with the younger ones. It was fun though! I interacted with some toddlers and babies and worked on sound and rhythm with them and they seemed to really enjoy it. I also had Sam teach me how to play ‘Riptide’ on the ukulele! This evening I went out to see the music with Helen and Paul (who arrived today) as well as Sam and Noah and we had so much fun! There were so many amazing artists that I’d never heard of. We have ended up back at our tents quite late haha.
Today was a bit of a different set-up. It rained last night so we didn’t particularly want all the electronics out. We actually went with more of an acoustic set today and had a bit of a jam with everyone who came through! Helen and Paul stuck around for a lot of the day though they did have to leave this afternoon. Sam, Noah and I also made a new friend today! She’s lovely, from Wales. After we packed away all the instruments this evening we went and hung out with her and her family for the evening and it was a lot of fun.
Today we packed everything away ready to go home. We were packing the main tent away until around midday, then we moved onto our personal tents. Sam, John and Noah went home around 2ish, but I was stuck with Collie and Steve packing up Collie’s tent and the gazebo until something like 4.30pm, then we finally got on the road! I was pretty exhausted so was mainly on my phone with my headphones in for the car journey, but we did stop at McDonalds for dinner and we made a little stop at Colliford Lake to have a walk around and a chat which was lovely! The whole festival was amazing, but I am glad to be home now, haha!
WOMAD was an amazing experience and I am so thankful I was able to participate in it. We had so much fun as a group and really bonded, but I also got some good childcare experience which I will carry with me into the future. We made friends, joked around and saw some stunning performances and the trip is an experience I will always hold dear. To be fair, this was my first proper camping trip, as well as my first ever time at a festival, so there were some things I really wish I knew to pack haha, but overall it was just a genuinely amazing trip!
After a long car journey up, we finally arrived at WOMAD today! The moment we got here we started outing up the tent – putting all the bars together and covering it all. We did have a few breaks which were pretty entertaining. After finally finishing the tent for Polyrhythm, we finally managed to get to our camp to start setting up our sleeping tents which was exhausting. This evening we have been sitting around, chatting and listening to good music. All in all, it’s been a productive, yet exhausting, day!
Today started out with decorating the Polyrhythm tent. We opened at 2 for the public so were on a bit of a time crunch! We did manage to get it all set up by 1pm, so we managed to have a nice lunch. Sam, Lucy and I went to explore some of the grounds to find out what was going on before we got back to the tent to help out. I am here mainly for media, so I have been taking lots of photos as well as helping out by handing out instruments. At 6pm we were finally done! Sam, Lucy, Colette and I decided to make a quick trip to Aldi for dinner and snacks and this evening, Sam, Lucy and I have been out at the festival listening to live music, trying snacks and playing around. It was so fun and the staff are absolutely lovely, there is so much to do here!
Today was tiring. It was the first day of our 10-6 opening and there was so much to do. It was however quite interesting to see how young some of the children were who were playing the instruments. This evening Sam and I went to Molly’s Bar to see some of the acts and the music was awesome! It was so cool to see the diversity of some of the music.
Today was more stressful than anything, we were a bit overwhelmed with the amount of people in the tent today, probably about 1000 children came and we were a bit shocked. But this evening was a great time to let loose, again, Lucy, Sam and I went to check out some acts and saw Mr Bruce and The Flaming Lips on the open-air stage before coming back to Molly’s Bar to check out what was going on here. It was a lot of fun.
Today we had an acoustic set which was a lot more chilled out, lots less running around and protecting the instruments. This evening was fun, I hung with Lucy, Sam and a friend we made and we went to see a few acts perform and just joked around and had a laugh.
Today we were up bright and early to start packing up the Polyrhythm tent – which was exhausting – followed by our own tents. Sam, John and I left earlier than the others. On the way back we stopped at a service station for food, and managed to get stuck in some traffic, but we were quick to unload everything in the shop when we got back and I am finally home!
I really enjoyed WOMAD, the music was amazing and the food was so good! I do wish that I’d brought a few more things though, pillows would have been handy and better snacks instead of just pot noodles haha. But I really enjoyed this experience, it was such a great time!