We have been doing festivals focused on the Earth for a few years now. At first, we just put up a few tents and did some tours with our local ecologist. For the last two years we have stepped up to something more ambitious. This is what we have done.
We arranged to use a portion of our park with the local authority and hired a large African-style stretch tent with open sides. A local farmer supplied some straw bales. We had a variety of smaller tents and a very light touch PA system.
The event began with a parade. Out of date flowers were sourced from a local supermarket and headdresses made while people were gathering. The parade went through the park ending at our living willow dome, in which flowers were displayed. Meanwhile the Thomas-Hardy-themed, Brigstowe Village Band struck up in the stretch tent. They were dressed in rural costume and their set included delightful interactions with a hobby horse. At the same time Ed Drewitt, our local ecologist, set out with a party to identify birds in the park and see what they were up to. Our own tea and cake stall opened up for business and we had one other visiting caterer.
Children and adults enjoyed nature art workshops making beautiful works from natural materials. A vegetable creature display was on in the library with prizes for the children. Avon Wildlife Trust were there and gave their own wildflower walk and talk around the park. The children from our local primary schools performed songs on a nature theme. There was a circus skills workshop and an extraordinary display in the woodland area by Whispering Woods which combined aerial gymnastics, music and storytelling. You have to see that one to describe it adequately!
Over lunch we have had international guitarists Clube De Choro and Bristol European Jazz Ensemble.
More ecological walks and talks in the afternoon, craft stalls and food. With the day rounded off in the evening with an extraordinary concert in the village hall by our local professional musicians Duo Correa Andrews, giving us a South-American-themed concert on flute, voice and guitar. This included an Earth Promise performed to music.
Our festival evolves year by year. Not sure how it will be next year, but we are looking forward to it!