Emmy the Great, Festivals, Jazz Domino Holly, Kitty Daisy and Lewis, Mick Jones, Music, Neverland, Sam, Seasick Steve, Shoreditch Sisters, Somerset, Strummer of Love, The Blackdowns, The Clash, The Justice Tonight Band, This festival feeling
Coming back to normal life after a festival is never the easiest of activities. Aside from the actual hangover, bruised body and missing sleep, there is the inevitable feeling that general existence – working, earning money, caring about other people’smortgages and moans – is possibly even more stultifying than you realised beforehand.
I have, however, never felt it so astutely as I did on the Monday afternoon after Strummer of Love when Sam, one of my fellow attendees, text to say ‘I’m actually gutted we aren’t living like we’re in Neverland anymore’.
For those who spent the weekend rolling around the Blackdown Hills in Somerset, it would be hard to disagree with Sam’s assessment. It may have been the amount of girls walking around with flowers and feathers in their hair, or maybe the almost continuous scent of burning wood that gave the festival its bucolic feel. Alternately, it was the line of hazy trees floating above the main stage when viewed from thecampsite or the dragonflies flitting along the path up to the Healing Field. Whatever it was, by the time the fog descended on Sunday night and we all ended up dancing inside a cloud whilst The Justice Tonight Band played Clash songs, the Real World seemed non-existent.
Musical highlights of the weekend included Alabama 3, particularly the siren notes of Aurora Dawn, and Seasick Steve who played a generously long set to close Friday night. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis took the crowd back several eras to a time of sexy 1950s rock and roll, playing the kind of music that goes in your ears and out your shaking feet. Another beautiful voice that was hard to keep from moving to was that of Emmy the Great who not only lived up to her name, but gathered extra Brownie (or W.I.) points by holding a post-set ‘Free Pussy Riot’ t-shirt making class at the Handmade Hangout.
Jazz Domino Holly’s crafting paradise was more enjoyable than a pint of Brother’s, or so it seemed as we all forgot our ciders once fake flowers and crafting wire appeared in front of us. When the Shoreditch Sisters began, part of its ethos was to provide an alternative social activity to just getting drunk and the Handmade Hangout continued this ideal. It then also gave you the secondary pleasure of wearing flowers when you later did get drunk, and on the next day these same fake flowers and Olympian wreathes attracted butterflies.
At 24 years old, a visit to Neverland might be one of the last chances to truly behave like Arcadian children – half the time niggling at each other, and the other half kissing – but if it is a closing chapter, it was certainly a rather perfect one. As Emmy sang: ‘But I am blessed/ Just to be more or less/ Standing in the afterglow of rapture with the words that rapture left.’