Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Curious Yellow Weekend, The Gibberd Gardens with Sweetcornbread

I've been sitting here staring at a white box trying to work out how to start this post and to say everything I want to about the incredible weekend we had at The Curious Yellow.
Firstly, I didn't know if I would be going until late Friday afternoon, when a hurried trip for more tent pegs and a portable battery charger happened but we still weren't sure if there were enough tickets. 

However, after the usual conflicts about getting everything into the car, we packed everyone up and set off for the secret location, which turned out to be some of the most beautiful and cleverly arranged gardens I have ever experienced. 

We arrived just a the sun was setting, and pitched our tents in a little circle with some of the other band members and everyone else who had come along for the ride.

 There had been quite a secretive air about this festival, and I had no idea what to expect. I knew it would be a little larger than Rumbellion and probably a lot less commercial than Rhythms Of The World, but I had no idea just how far from reality I would be, and how  transformed I would feel afterwards.

The first night, there was the most incredible thunderstorm, lighting up the sky, the (way too dark, lights needed next time!) campsite and the beautiful sculptures for hours whilst pouring sheet rain onto our unprepared heads. We danced the night away in The Dome to psytrance and the sound of thunder overhead, then retired to a huge Bedouin tent, set up with blankets and airbeds where I managed to ignore the fear of a reveller standing on me and captured a few hours sleep.

And when I woke up....I had the most incredible morning. I have kind of gushed about this part of my weekend to everyone I have come across in the days following, so I'll try and keep it short.

 At 6am the sun rose through the trees and the gardens came to life. I managed to capture these photos on my phone of the sun filtering through trees surrounding a multi-leveled brook and the main pathway between the three arenas of the festival. There was noone about. I tried to rush back to campsite to rouse someone else to show these beautiful pools of light streaming through but I knew it wouldn't last long and I came back to drink up the full experience. I don't know why at this point it didn't occur to me to go and stand in one of the beams. I wish I had!

I went on a solitary walk around the gardens. The festival was held in three connected fields at the bottom of the site. Leading away from the main path, which wound past the brook and was lit by clear hanging bulbs at night, were lots of smaller, overgrown pathways between giant, tropical looking plants. I delved in, winding round and round a small freshwater spring (which kept us sustained through the hottest weekend of the year!) and coming across clearings with beautifully placed sculptures and artworks. My absolute favorite piece in the gardens was a pair of majestic columns and accompanying carved urns, set in a clearing and so totally unexpected. I wished there had been an opportunity to party under these Altantis like structures, maybe next year Curious Yellow? Turns out they are actually salvage from the old Coutts bank on the Strand, but I can dream, right?

The Saturday was one of the hottest days of my life, and even though we had prepared by freezing six 2 litre bottles of water, and I hate complaining about beautiful weather, there were a few times I felt I was boiling inside my skin and had to lie down under some cooling undergrowth.

We ate pizza and pancakes and egg and bacon rolls for the entire weekend. Big love to the Crew Salam people for providing us with sustenance from their pizza oven, and to The Love Shack for their never-ending supply of ice, rum and glitter...

The second night was incredible, listening to the band we came with, Sweetcornbread, smashing their set in the early evening and dancing all night to the other bands in the main arena, followed up with watching a way too short dragon staff fire display. My phone was dead at this point, and I think those sort of things are very hard to capture on a phone anyway, but take my word for it, it was pretty cool to watch.

I stayed up until 5.30, determined to catch the sunrise again and stand in those pools of light, but I crashed out in a corner with a pile of blankets and a huge smile instead, and woke up about 8 for another beautiful day on the site, spend riding bikes, bouncing on space hoppers and enjoying the sunshine.

A final highlight were the boys from The Consciousness Collective, who we met on the first morning when Tom bought round load of fruit, including avocados, fresh and cold, to wake everyone up with nutrients and friendship. They had a selection of other-worldly instruments, including a Mouth Harp, an Om Wand (my absolute next luxury purchase) and a stunning gong. I actually got to have a go on it, you can sit in front of the beautiful round plate and feel the most incredible vibrations rushing through your body, definitely something I want to experience again and again. I want to thank them for their welcoming attitude and their openness in letting us amateurs try out their instruments and giving me a new obsession. I have spent the last hour looking up giant gongs and wishing I owned one.

Overall, one of the most beautiful experiences I have had. I cannot thank the organisers enough for such a memorable weekend, enjoyed by all in our group and definitely to be repeated next year. Have a look on their website for more information about this festival, and follow them on facebook - We will be going next year for certain!!

Reality bites today!

Thanks to Zoe, Tasha and Jim for the photos in this post. I wish I had taken some nighttime ones to really show how feral everyone went, but I think it was probably best that my battery died instead ha!

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