I think, apart from my horrendous sunburn, I am recovered from Secret Garden Party, which was my first full weekend festival ever (like Glade, which I will post about later, I normally show up and get the hell outta there fairly quickly). It was pretty epic and also a good test of my Burning Man equipment, to see what works and what doesn’t, although Zoe, the shin of Fireworks Collective, pointed out that under the circumstances SGP’s weather conditions made it a little more extreme than Burning Man!
Brex’s Fire wings – Courtesy of Daniel Gerhardt
I trolled up with Alex (a member of Fireworks Collective) and Steph (otherwise known as Aurora Starr, of Slamboree and Surefire Circus fame *namedrop clang!*) about 8 p.m after some fairly ridiculous artist registration system, in which our car was put into a queue that didn’t exist… anyway! Zoe picked us up from the gate and the sea of mud was revealed – by the end of the weekend it was 6 inches deep in places. We were all meeting next the “Charon”, the zoetrope art installation of Burning Man 2011 as sadly conditions were too bad to do our scheduled performance, and with a collection of near-dead phones we attempted to contact everyone to warn them not to show – so disappointing, after all that worrying. I trudged to camp with Zoe and set up camp, though with the help of Danger from the collective – my amazing £20 gumtree tent appears to be what only can be described as “very f***ing weird”. So definitely need to practice that and make it stronger for the Playa! Nevertheless we ended up doing a free-spinning performance that night, though it was difficult – dropping the props meant certain death for the wicks, and happened frequently. Emma Kerr couldn’t stop falling over (it’s all that awesomeness) but actually it was a pretty awesome spin. Charlie and I did our choreographed hoop section together and I also got to play with the fans on a second spin. After that we went on a hunt for music and lovely, lovely food, and I spent the first night on my own in a tent 🙂
Courtesy of Daniel Gerhardt
Saturday was the night of the big burn. I woke up, saw the sunrise, went back to bed (so cold) and on my second attempt at getting up I went for an early morning explore, as getting there so late meant everything looked different by daylight. Definite highlights were finding all the art installations around the lake, and when trawling back seeing the “Where the Wild things Are” stage, fashioned to look like a giant wooden monster’s mouth (also a nice indie band were playing at the time). We had a big crew meeting at 2pm, and so having had my explore I headed home for a nap. I have to say, I really enjoy the daytime parts of festivals, but the mud and heat was too much at SGP – I couldn’t be bothered to wander around.
The floating heads, later to be burned…
For the big gig, we were split into segments around the lake, to perform outwards towards the crowd. I took my fans – I’m still not as happy fire hooping as I should be, really need to crack some hours to shake that feeling off – and faced the WTWTA stage – lots of people! I did a lot of gunslinging moves but I definitely need to get some cool fan moves. Sarah is totally nailing them at the moment and I’m very jealous. We had 2 minutes to spin, when one of us would light a white flare, indicating when to down tools, and then red flares would go up from the island of heads in the lake, and we’d each pull a red flare. Man those things are so hot! There was then 15 minutes of fireworks from the man who organised the Queen’s jubilee fireworks… It was amazing. Eventually the heads set on fire burnt down (so very pagan) and all the stages started playing. Most of the Collective watched Orbital from the river bank… so many awesome things in the space of two hours. I realised how lucky I am to be doing all this, and what a beautiful thing it really is, the amazing people I’ve met along the way… it was so magical. So I had a little weep, after all the stress of trying to pull it together… and then went on a long mud-based adventure to see Slamboree, who were amazing!! All hail Secret Garden Party!
Courtesy of Ronak Patani
The Big Gig crowd! Courtesy of Daniel Gerhardt