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Sh Sh Sh Shambala Pt2

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….So now on to Saturday.  Carnival day.  This year the theme was ‘Extinction’.  We had opted for blue macaws. Rio style.  My sister bought caped wing things and masks and this was the resulting glory.

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I had burst from the tent in slightly less, to a joint exasperated response of “NO!” from the teens.

😀

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Embarrassing mum Level 9

Bro in Law, always on board for a bit of fancy dress,  was meant to look like this….

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The Tick has lost a bit of weight

… but it was too hot for the old morph suit so he abandoned that look.
My sister was meant to don an amazing sequinned playsuit, but was too hot for that too (can’t believe I have no pics of that).

The teens opted out of the fancy dress other than the sweaty parrot masks on their heads, which compared to the other flock of blue macaws that we bumped into, looked pretty shite.
To be fair, eldest child tried to get involved last minute by wrapping a tropical island scene shower curtain round herself.

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I don’t know what my favourite fancy dress outfits were, but as usual, our fellow Shambalans went all out.  There were various animals, lots of dinosaurs.  A suited up group waving Shell placards and asking if anyone had seen any oil.  A lady just wearing a sash that said ‘compassion’ and I particularly liked the people dressed as Blockbuster video cards.

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This one is for you Mum

 

Saturday evening on the main stage was a strange and wonderful band called Henge who were like something from The Mighty Boosh.  If they’d sang ‘Eels up inside ya” I wouldn’t have been surprised. Best described as cosmic rave I guess.  Give them a whirl.

Mid Henge, me and the bro in law sloped off to watch 80’s snooker legend Steve Davis do a spot of DJing… like you do.  People kept running in and taking a photo and saying “Look, it’s Steve Davis!” and “Has he played Snooker Loopy by Chas n Dave yet?”

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Snooker Loopy

Such is the randomness of Shambala festival.  He didn’t have the crowds that DJ Rap,  Stanton Warriors or the amazing Helena Hauff did on Sunday night, but he was alright as it goes.

Saturday night I offered to take the little ones round the woods and then back to camp for late night camp hot chocolates, while sis and bro in law had some child free night time. I could also try to have a disco snooze to power up for the ‘OMG it’s the church’ 2am slot.  Niecelings had great fun shining their torches at me whenever I bent down in my sequinned skirt – “Aunty Kit has a big disco ball butt”

 

Eldest offspring had a bit of a hot chocolate/astrodust sherbert straw comedown and couldn’t quite cope with going back out into the melee, but she soldiered on, albeit with a face like a smacked arse.  She didn’t want to miss out on a bit of salvation from the Reverend and his Hail Marys.

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Where my hail Marys at?

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Sweet sexy cheeesus

While we were waiting for the show, we got talking to a man who asked us how festivals worked for us coming as a family.  He said in his capacity as a gay man there with his partner, he was interested in how different an experience it was for families.  He was a bit drunk and kept apologising, but was very lovely.  He told the girls that he hoped they were grateful to their awesome mother for taking them to festivals, because his mother had made him take part in a descant recorder competition as a teenager.  He’d spent his summer holidays practising ‘My heart will go on’ by Celine Dion.  I asked if I busted out a recorder would he be able to serenade us?  Sadly not, he said. He’d come last in the contest as he was so crap.
His parting words, before he fell over and after he’d kissed my grumpy faced eldest on the cheek were, “Think on!  Celine Dion.  Recorder contest.  That could have been you, but no, because you have a cool mum, you’re here instead. Be thankful”

Indeed kids.  Think on.  If your mother is a good ‘un – let her know you appreciate her.

🙂

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On Sunday, the festival had a new idea. They wanted to do a one minute silence across the site at 12 noon for people to ponder whatever they wanted.  Me and the eldest went to sit by the lake near the sand pit. The two younger ones went off to the Enchanted Woods, while sister etc were in the kids field.  At 12-noon a gong struck by the lake and you could have heard a  glittery sequinned pin drop! There was a small naked unknown child next to me at the time, eating an ice cream.  I put my finger to my lips and he just looked at me for a minute not making a single sound.  When the minute was up, the sounds of The Beatles, ‘All you need is love” rang out across site – and it was glorious. Utterly glorious…and very moving.  I may have had a teeny bit of sand in my eye.

The sun was still beating down and we’d been barefoot most of the weekend during the daytime – only employing the emergency ‘bog flops’ (a pair of Bman’s old flip flops) to wear when using the compost loos.

Sunday night after an amazing closing ceremony, I had a moment of pure joy, atop a podium in the Kamikaze, listening and dancing to Helena Hauff – a German DJ recommended to me by the Bman. The teens were at the Swingamajig listening to Tom of ESC DJ and life was good.  

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rave on mofos

I think this was my favourite Shambala yet.  I was calm throughout. I didn’t stress about seeing or not seeing any acts or joining any activities. I went with the flow and the flow was glittery, shiny, sunny and happy.  I joined in, I saw, I listened, I chilled, I had nana naps at camp (FYI the new blackout tent does not keep cool in the heat) and I survived the night time sleeping alone as my (bigger than me) babies were in a separate tent.


For the first time in 6 years I gained control of a hortisculpture pod and it was worth the wait.  I’ve already told my Pops he needs to get some of these over his pond at The Moss.

The younger teens even had a paddle to ease their trotters from the heat. They lost a hat but a kind man fished it out with a stick.

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As we sheltered from the sun in the shade of the Helter Skelter, Jade and I started giving the kids foot rides, which turned into seeing if we could still do it to each other like when we were kids.  When I finally finished laughing and got up off the grass to look around, I realised we appeared to have started a revolution. Well, not quite a revolution, but something… and it too was glorious.

.

 

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And just like that, all this was now a week ago… and I’ll have to wait another year.  I’m trying to keep the feeling alive by only drinking out of my reusable Shambala cup and not flushing the toilet or wearing shoes, but it’s not the same.

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Be more Shambala all year round people.  Keep Britain tidy. Don’t be a cunt. Eat less meat.  Show some sparkle. Be nice to one another.  Spend time with your family and don’t be afraid to be a bit silly…

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Shambala summed up in one photo I think

…and FFS pack up your tent and take it home you lazy dirty bastards. Love really is all you need (& maybe an education, some food and heating), but remember that not every police van you see is a Rave Unit and you can’t draw in chalk all the parked cars you see.

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So Shambala and Out for 2019.  Bring on the 20th anniversary for 2020 when hopefully Bman can finally join us (and please bring back the proper Lost Picture Show, it wasn’t the same this year).

Xx

If you go down in the woods today…

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… be sure to jump into a giant vagina on top of 6 strangers, whilst yelling “Wassup Cunts!” and then proceed to be hugged to death while your daughter films that shit on your phone from outside the labia. 

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“I close my eyes – pull back the curtains”

Yes people.  It could only be the Shambala Festival right?

In the words of the lovely Yolandii Visser of Die Antwoord,  “We’re gonna have nice time kids” and of Ninja, “Jump motherfucker jump!”

And in the words of my young niecelings at 9am in the morning, “This is the way we drink the gin, drink the gin, drink the gin”.  That may or may not have happened. There was some confusion over the water bottles, reminiscent of the tequila incident in The Lost Picture Show of 2015.  #parentinggoals

What can I say about Shambala?  Where to start?  It was, as ever, glittery, with an emphasis on the eco glitter.
I could eat everything there because all the food stalls were veggie or vegan. And before the carnivores turn up their noses and mock – they need to try a shakshuka breakfast from the Poco Cafe or a vegan steak and ale pie with mash and minted peas from the Young Vegans – a rival for Pieminister there – and I know a good pie when I eat one. I’m a Northern monkey remember.

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Some sort of North African poached egg deal.  Best. Breakfast. Ever.

 

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“Beef pie falls into my miyiyiyind” – (rare B-side by the Bucketheads)

But contrary to what Bman thinks – we don’t just go to these things “to spend £17 on macca cheese”  There was dancing to be done. Bouncing about to be had, skanking to do, a bit of the old kinetic two-stepping.  Faces to paint, parades to infiltrate while dressed as bees. Ice creams to be bought, Enchanted Woods to explore, mojitos to self-source, vaginas to jump into, Strumpets with Crumpets to yell excitedly at in the dark. (Sorry if I scared you ladies but I was thrilled you were there and then never went back to make a purchase!) There were acid heads to freak out with my Star Wars Disney ears. More alcohol to imbibe. Police Rave Units to chase. Offspring to embarrass.

After being told off by my youngest on Saturday morning, as we waited for an inordinate length of time for a fried egg bap, (bring back the Red Bus!) for “reminding her of all the people she hates at school” by being too loud and embarrassing apparently, I did point out that alcohol was a factor and I was not going to apologize for having fun,  as it was a fairly rare experience for a woman of my age.  I was not going to let her disapproval kill the joy of the great night I’d had before she went to bed, and then continued to have when I went back out again.  (Back off Childliners – she was not left alone at night in the tent, she was with my sister.)  However, of course, that is exactly what happened and Saturday afternoon I went back to the tent for a lie-down and a word with myself, and to hide.  After a brief disco snooze I chose to say Fuck it! I was going to enjoy myself regardless.
I have decided Shambala is a bit like the movie Cocoon and I am Jessica Tandy.  Rejuvenated and ready to party, albeit for a brief period of time.  I’m pretty sure that’s what those pods are at the Pod Cafe. My kids want to think themselves lucky I never got in one – I may never have left.

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Cocoon pods, fountain of youth and IN

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Point the way to the Kamikaze tent for the roller disco Mofos!

We roller-discoed on Friday (what’s up with that Shambala only being on one afternoon? – it was rammed!)
I say discoed. I mean, lurched around looking terrified whilst trying not to pass on the fear of falling to the younglings and muttering
“It’s not as easy as you remember is it?” as you try not to take out an undergrad from Bristol Uni in a gold morph suit, 1980’s Rossini windcheater and Unicorn head mask when you crash into the bale of straw.

Standard!

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Observe our concentration faces (and all hail Sexy Jesus)

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Yeah! We’re doing it… sort of. Vertical at least.

Sadly no pictorial evidence of my sister stacking it on her backside – but probably just as well. #tailbonePOW
   We probably only managed about 30 minutes worth. It got too busy and pretty much everyone apart from the actual Bump RollerDisco people was as shite as us and it was becoming a bit hazardous.  Flailing arms, unsteady legs and Shambala Sparkling Cider are a friend to nobody on 4 wheels in a crowd.  It wouldn’t do to break a collarbone with 2 days still to go, so we hung up our skates and moved on.  We needed to get ready to kneel before the Lord and feel him inside us.  ‘OMG It’s the Church’ next on the main stage.  Big up to anyone else wearing the Sexy Jesus Tees. I know I definitely hugged two different ladies and we praised Jesus together.  

 

Other bands of note this year were ‘The House Gospel Choir’ – after about 4 tracks of old skool classics done in a gospel style, I said, “ohhhhh I get it now – House!”.

Can I get a FFS! 

Just another mum moment, like the now legendary “Orange? or Lemon?/ Hmmm yeeaaaah!incident in Tenerife the other year.  My Childerbeast might well despair sometimes when I stare aimlessly around when I can’t find them after a trip to the loo or the bar. Or go into a Rango style petit-mal while they say “Mum. Mum. Mum. Mum. Mum” at me until I snap back to reality.  However, if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t go to festivals, gigs or whatnot. I’m sure they love me really.  Am pretty sure there’s some kind of caveat about being a mum that you have to be fairly embarrassing sometimes and say dumb things.  Ditto being able to snap out of stupid tipsy mum mode and into sensible no-nonsense first aider mode when some poor fucker had a fit in the Roots Yard on day one. Easy now brother. Pace yourself. He seemed to be okay once he’d come round. Bit his tongue though. (he bit his own, I didn’t bite his tongue) Bit of tequila on that bad boy and I’m sure he’ll be reet.*  Hope you enjoyed the rest of the festival fit-free fella.

🙂

Day three I particularly enjoyed hearing my young neiceling being told to sort herself out or there would be no more treats, and her swift retort of “I’ll just ask Aunty Kit”No flies on that lass!  I may have accidentally bought them ice creams every day and unicorn horn headbands.

Other phrases of the weekend were “Fifteen million pounds for a mojito!!”, “Let’s tickle the crikey” (whilst sat inside the Lady Garden Vag).  “You need to queue if you want food”  – I seemed to do an awful lot of queueing and waiting. I’m sorry dumpling dudes, the Dorshi dumplings were alright but not 35 minutes of queueing worth of alright. I also learned not to give Rhona’s name for Ghanan food as it is too easily confused with ‘Anna’.  I hope Anna enjoyed her free extra portion of mixed whatever it was.  

Shambala had replaced ‘Fruity Friday’ with a less offensive name I forget – Non-Binary Friday or Gender Neutral non-denominational day of the week or something. Anyhow, it still seemed to involve a lot of cross-dressing and stick on moustaches.  We ventured into the Botanical Disco fairly late doors Friday and I’m not entirely sure what was happening in that boxing ring?  It was like an episode of GLOW but with Pete Burns from Dead or Alive and Divine on a shit load of cocaine.  We didn’t stick around.  It was a bit intense.
    We enjoyed the secret venue. Not in fact called the rave cave after all. I have since discovered it was the Data Mine, which explains the old computers and 1980’s tech.  The House Party was alright but not worth the queue. The Enchanted Wood was, as usual, a bit mind-bending. Great music in there. I particularly had fun with the weird hand machine thingumyjig. 

Cabaret was mix of aerial acts, jugglers, jokers and acrobats.  Great comedian on the Saturday night. Very funny. I vaguely remember it. Luckily I took some pictures inbetween drinking honey rum from a bottle a dude next to us generously shared before telling me he’d found it outside his tent.  I’d forgotten all about that too until the childerbeast reminded me about it two days later saying I shouldn’t accept random drinks from strangers. So that was me told!

Cabaret involved a lot of me and my sister looking at one another saying “Yup we could do that!” then laughing hysterically.

Fancy Dress parade on Saturday was something else!  Seems we were not the only ones with the Bee & beekeeper idea. We were Manchester Bees specifically but we were only a small part of the hive!  We managed to infiltrate a group of drumming bees and join them in the parade. The theme had been ‘Avant Garden’ and Shambalans did not skimp on the costumes (unlike us, who chose to travel light).  There were mushrooms, gnomes, giant insects, baby insects, Her Majesty’s Lady Garden, butterflies, Green Men, walking hedgerows, bejewelled nipples, you name it!  Good job people!

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Pre parade PRU rave off

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Different day. Different ice cream

Sunday was a bit of a chilly washout in the daytime. We sought sanctuary in the morning at The Lost Picture Show watching Fantasia. Cue 150 kids whispering loudly “Mummy when is Mickey Mouse coming on? You said Mickey Mouse was in it” And where else could you lay on an enormous bed being spooned by a stranger with dwarfism dressed as Cruella De Ville while you watch a Disney classic?  Not round here that’s for sure!  And I love that that’s okay.  You comment upon it but only to say “cool” or “nice one bruvva!” (sorry, had to get that one in here somehow).  Not about to let the rain put us off, we then took refuge in the Wonky Cock pub with a good old halloumimayo wrap and a few more pints of Shambala’s finest sparkling apple juice.

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Cold but not yet beaten

Sunday night was the final showdown. This time my sister was ready to party (ready in fact from about 4pm!)  After the excellent closing ceremony which was all fireworks, slacklining across the lake, spangly ladies in hoops etc.   

I apologize to the lovely young people trying to get into the Swingamajig on Sunday to find their pals who were intercepted by the queue police (AKA my sister, resplendent in sequins, full of wine, mojito and rum and having none of it that they should get in front of us).  A negotiation was reached where I played peacemaker and she then decided to “bomb it off, I can’t be arsed waiting” about 2 minutes later.
Top night though.  So glad the Oxfam man didn’t make you go back to the tent palfinger sister of mine. Rhona thinks you’re a legend for getting her right to the sweaty, topless (for some) front at the
‘Electric Swing Circus’ gig when we eventually returned to the Swingamajig.  Man it was warm in there!  Geezer next to me was so sweaty his back had its own tidal system!

It turned into quite the girls night out!  Allie missed out but her time will come, I’m sure.

 

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Tickle the crikey and who left their coat outside the cunt?

 

We ended the night back at the Wonky Cock. As you do. But we did not look quite as lively in the morning.

 

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fresh fresh fresh

 

A most excellent adventure into utopia. And a utopia it was. It was clean. Even the loos seemed clean in comparison to Boomtown and other festivals. Everyone was polite and cheerful and happy and helpful.  When I had a gloom moment on Saturday that was part of the issue. I had an epiphany that beautiful as it was, it wasn’t real. I would have to go home to my non-utopian society where not all the food is vegetarian or vegan. Where most people are actually assholes and wearing sequins and glittery facepaint to the store is frowned upon. 

I told the childerbeast we probably wouldn’t go next year for cost reasons, given my new venture into enjoying my work but not getting paid as much as before.  However I don’t think I can miss a year. Where else am I going to be able to cut loose, glitter up and jump about?

Thank you Shambala. I have probably forgotten a whole load of brilliant elements of our lost weekend. A lot of it I guess you had to be there, to be honest anyway.  Super well done though on being so tidy and clean. Particularly at the end.

Remember kids.  Rave safe and don’t be afraid to touch the monkey, or the gecko, or the tarantula. Love your mum. She’s funner than you think and deserves to bounce about and be lairy from time to time. (Funner is totally a word. Probably)

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chinny but actually quite fabulous

 

 Ciao Ciao Tutti. Xx

*FYI I did not actually douse the tongue of an epileptic boy with Jose Cuervo. Just to clarify.

 

 

 

 

Utopian Shambalanegins 2017

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After a year off, it was time to venture back into the glittery bosom of Shambala Festival last week.  This time my sister and her family were coming along for the ride.

Sequinned clothing      CHECK
Novelty onesies             CHECK
Mary Berry masks         CHECK
Hipflask of tequila        CHECK
Further booze                 CHECK
Glitter & facepaints       CHECK

It’s difficult to put into words an accurate review of the festival. Partly because I am still struggling to form coherent thought processes to be honest.  I could write as much as this on all the things we didn’t get to do. (Sunday supplement cock drawing club etc)

😀

I may have to just resort to pictorial evidence.  

Fortunately there are no photos of me topless with my norks covered in glitter and sequins – essentially because that didn’t happen.  I left that up to the girls 20 years younger than me with a perkier pair.  If I had dared to bare though, I’m pretty sure I would’ve looked like this:-

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(in my own head)

 

My brother-in-law embraced the cross dressing element with a rainbow pride style tutu and still felt underdressed.  

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Shiny family goals 

 

Despite the raging midday heat, together we nailed the Run DMC Vs Shambala flashmob dance-off.  My sister abandoned us half-way through due to thinking she might pee herself with laughter (because it’s like that, and that’s the way it is!)  Not sure what the neicelings made of their daddy and Aunty Tit jumping about and falling on the floor with a bunch of strangers in a field.

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 sinking hopeful feeling we may end up in next year’s programme or 2017 highlights reel


My childerbeast are now of an age where I didn’t have to be in bed by midnight. In fact some of the acts they wanted to see weren’t even playing til the wee small hours. I was having to drink coffees in the early evening to keep my head in the game.  

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How did my girls get so big?

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We may have had a couple of ciders at this stage

At one point they even went to bed at 11pm for a disco snooze and asked me to wake them up at 12:45am to go see another act!  I daren’t go to bed myself or I’d have slept through til morning, so I was forced to go out to the secret House Party venue behind the woods in order to stay awake.  (The sacrifices a mother must make for her offspring eh?)  To be fair, I did feel slightly too old to be in there.  If I’d been wearing a pork pie hat and smoking a cigar it would’ve looked like that scene in ‘Uncle Buck’ when he goes to find his niece at a party.  

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Hey, I’m Buck Melanoma & I’m old enough to be your grandparent

 

The sun raged on over all four days and I commended my optimism at packing sun lotion.  I only hope that some of the bare breasted ladies had the foresight to lotion-up before they glittered up their disco tits, otherwise they’ll be needing some aloe vera right now!

Quality moments were me having a conversation in the woods with Lemka from Taxi about how my Disney ears worked.  Staring at the Avatar fibre optic tree in a pair of lovespecs (freaky).  My eldest almost losing her phone down a composting toilet and having to rake around underneath the toilet block with a camping chair as a hook to fish it out while a crowd watched on!
Also, my youngest niece having her first go on the “Big Eel” and loving it.

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The final night closing ceremony firework display was outstanding. Snaps to the lady spinning about in a flaming hoop whilst dangling from a crane.

The venues were, as ever, on top form. The Kamikaze tent was banging after dark, as was the Garden o’ Feeden & the Botanical Disco.  The Police Rave Unit never failed to entertain.  My childerbeast said they’d love to join them in their mobile quest to bring rave to the masses. Big up the P.R.U.  

Although boo to there being no rollerdisco on Sunday! What’s up with that Shambala?Didn’t get chance with all the other stuff to see and do to get our wheelz on this year! #gutted

😦

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I fucking love these guys – I wonder if they do school visits?

 

The Roots Yard was a great place to both chill and skank at the same time. I particularly enjoyed watching a watergun fight between a child and a grown man whilst several people sprang from their seats to throw themselves infront of the water spray to protect their pals who were skinning-up in the noon-day sun.

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feeling irie

The Enchanted Wood opened on Friday and was, as per, a sight to behold on a night time.  Amazing light installations, trees that sang when you hugged them, ‘bemusical chairs’ and a very popular Lady Garden area with cuntish cushions to envelop and comfort those who just wanted to chill.

Favourite phrases of the long weekend are;  “Feeling irie”  “Feeling un-irie”, “Utah get me two”, “Is it too early for a gin?”, “Pie o Clock” and “the best of times”.

New phrases coined, after needing a post pie blowout nap, include; “having a mid life pie-sis”, “needing a pie-down”, having a pie-ty” and “no dumpling ever made is worth queuing up that long”.

After the festival, I saw this on Twitter, and it perfectly describes how I felt on Sunday after having a vegetarian breakfast bap and a wild mushroom and asparagus pie with mash, peas and gravy all within the space of an hour!

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Pieminister rules! 

 

 

We still love the Anna Mae’s mac ‘n cheese of course,  but this year we discovered Club Mexicana’s jackfruit burritos, as big as sleeping bags.  Also Pieminister (who it is with great joy I have discovered have a restaurant in Leeds), Goldenballs risotto balls and dragon punch cocktails in the Roots Yard.  Yet amazingly I still managed to come home with money in my wallet!

It wasn’t all about food and drink though. Inbetween stuffing our faces and getting a bit pissed, we managed to see some bands.  Beatbox Collective – amazing again! (“it’s just his VOICE duuuude!) Some electro swing for my girls; The Beat for some Ska.  Stereo MC’s for some old skool classics – ‘On 33’, ‘Elevate your Mind’, ‘Lost in Music’ , ‘Connected’ etc.  Then perfect for a blazing hot Sunday afternoon we had Benjamin Zephaniah & the Revolutionary Minds.  All were fabulous.  I sang along. I danced, danced some more, went for a wee and did some more dancing.

The fancy dress theme was a fairly all-encompassing ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ and the Shambalans embraced it full-on.  I tried to take pictures of the parade, whilst also being in the parade, so I apologise for the wonky shonkyness. I was also having a bit of trouble (Betty) seeing through just one eyehole of my Mary Berry mask.  Yes, that’s Mary Berry – not Margaret Thatcher as I overheard one woman telling her children.
The idea had been that we go as Mary Berrycorns, in unicorn onesies and masks.  The unrelenting heat changed our plans and we ditched the onesies, which had taken up so much room in our bags and cost me in the region of £60 for 3 of the fuckers!  My sister and Bro-in-law didn’t even get to join in, as their littlies had a bit of meltdown at this stage and had to go back to the tent for a nap.  So our troop of Bezza’s was reduced from 5 to 3 and very quickly to 2 when my youngest decided to de-Bez after barely 5 minutes.

 

 

Was bloody brilliant to be there with slightly older childerbeast and my sister and her family.  The weather gods were beaming at us throughout. It was glittery, super polite; kind, friendly, totally vegetarian (sorry carnivores) and we did not want to leave and cannot wait to return. (I only ask that more of you shiny happy glittery people use the waste bins provided and not just abandon your empty cans on the ground).

Shambalans, you did yourselves proud and I am now seriously considering proposing a Glittery Tit day at school. Fuck Comic Relief or Children in Need! They’re old hat man.  We can do it to raise money for a worthy cause – namely my ticket for next year’s festival. And if I don’t at least make a cameo in the official 2017 video then I need to up my game in 2018.

Shambala and out…

Ciao Ciao Mo Fos.

Xx


Link to official pics here.  Can’t see us but it’s making me want to go back. 

http://photos.shambalafestival.org/2017/gallery/

Shambalananegins 2015

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This time last week we had just about set up our living space for the long haul at http://www.shambalafestival.org/ .

 

 

 

Tent's up. Cider open

Tent’s up. Cider open.  Flying the Vive Jose Cuervo flag.

Our adventures in Utopia began last Wednesday when we tackled not one, not two, not three, but four trains, with all our camping gear to get to Market Harborough.
Got a lift from the station to our host, DTR’s house, from the lovely Garyman. Cheers for that dude.  Much appreciated.  The even lovelier Dave, took us down the pub for a late supper.  Thank you muchly sir, you are too kind. 

I then spent the first of several restless nights, beginning with a banana shaped attempt at sleep on DTR’s couch.  I was just about too long for it – hence the banana shape.  Lessons learned from that evening.  A Woo-Woo cocktail in a can is no friend to an empty belly!  I felt like I had swallowed a brick.  A brick made of sherbert & alka-seltzer.  Step away from the cans of ‘bitch piss’ (apart from the Mojito one – that one’s ok).

🙂

Next day, the ever fabulous Miss Sunshine arrived and it was time to play Tetris with the camping gear & the childerbeast in her little car.  A little creative stacking of bags later and we were en route to Kelmarsh – the purportedly secret location of the festival.  (Not that much of a secret if it’s been held there for several years). 

What a beautiful location it is too.

After the quickest entry into a festival I’ve ever had!  We had a bit of a wrestle with the old Pink Flamingo tent.  It was in rather more of a poor state of repair than we had originally thought.   A bit of tactical duct taping and re-engineering of the poles & it was finally erect (after a fashion).  Not helped in any way by the windy weather!
       It was just for Miss Sunshine & the food & drink supplies, so we hoped it would last the weekend.  Worse case scenario she would have to squeeze in with us three in the Blue Baloo.  (you have to name your tents – it’s the law).

🙂

We’d hardly ventured far into the main arena before Miss Sunshine bought herself a full length faux fur coat.  She has several at home but hadn’t brought one with her.  With that on & her Trilby, it would have been churlish not make some Game of Thrones meets Huggy Bear gags, particularly on Fruity Friday when we sported our dangly moustache & sunglasses combo.

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

We saw a fair few people who seemed to have over-indulged waaaaay too early into proceedings on Thursday.  I did not envy how they might feel the next day.   I did find myself saying things like “Let that be a warning to you kids” quite a lot over the days –  but essentially, it was a festival.  The very place to over-indulge and party.  A time and place to let yourself go.  Go barefoot.  Dress up.  Get naked. Paint your face. Cross-dress!  Throw glitter in the air, roll around in it, eat it, shit it.  Glitter & sequins everywhere – like Christmas card making week at primary school!

We did receive a text message on Saturday morning warning that 4 festival goers were in hospital due to been taken ill from drugs & that we should be mindful and take care.  (Well done Shambala for the heads up).  In fairness, if you do indulge, then you do run that risk.  Same can be said for booze of course but that doesn’t have the same stigma attached because it’s legal!  Seemingly these people are now ok, having been released from hospital.  Allegedly it was something called DMT that they took.  I’m 43 and don’t know what that is, but according to Google, it’s some form of hallucinogenic.

To be honest, there’s that much weirdness, oddity & at least 39 shades of cray going on at Shambala that any form of hallucinogen is neither necessary or isn’t the best idea, especially in the Enchanted Woods by night… but what do I know. I’m 43 and dull as fuck.

Since coming home & seeing the festival Facebook page, apparently there was a lot of drugs to be had.  Some festival goers said that they were offered pills & powders almost every time they went to the loo.  Can’t say that happened to us & I’m not sure whether to be happy about that or slightly disappointed.  Clearly we actually look dull as fuck aswell!

🙂

Foodwise, I rekindled my romance with Anna Mae’s Spicy Juan mac & cheese.  Delighted to report though that the childerbeast still said they prefer mine.

Cheesus loves you indeed

Cheesus loves you indeed

Our favourite ‘back at the tent’ meal was, without doubt, hallumi, peppers & mushrooms skewers.  Took about 5 minutes and was so easy that even the childerbeast could do it.
We ate a fair few cheese toasties and of course that festival staple – the wood fired pizza.  (That’d be fired not fried kids – read the sign properly!)

We actually found the kids woodland tribe area this year so the childerbeast made a mini raft each & had a go on the climbing nets, whilst Miss Sunshine & I had a child-free hour.  They also did their usual circus skills & roller disco while we joined in the krumping and samba workshops, (which were both awesome.)  We skipped out on the Withering Tights Kate Bush flashmob though, as we couldn’t hear a thing because of microphone issues. 

The carnival theme this year was Cosmic Chaos.  Me and the childerbeast had Toy Story alien onesies, while Miss Sunshine utilized her Kermit the Frog onesie.  We met several other Toy Story aliens so there was lots of “The claw is our master” & “Strangers from the outside”.  I don’t know how much tin foil and emergency foil blankets had been used to create some of the outfits but I suspect it was rather a lot.  Shambalans do not disappoint with their approach to fancy dress.  I saw a Tuskan raider from Star Wars shaking hands with, & hugging a Jawa.  There were several variations of Darth Vadar & other Star Wars characters.  Loads of random space creatures, cosmic girls & space cadets aplenty.  Kids dressed as Mars bars & Galaxys, to a man dressed as Darwin on one side of his body & as God on the other.  Entire constellations of stars & I even saw a man dressed as Shrodinger’s box.  Genius.

I particularly liked it when a bridal party appeared on the lawn infront of Kelmarsh House and were essentially photobombed by 8,000 loons in fancy dress.  I hope they keep at least one shot and don’t photoshop us all out.

🙂

We have all been chosen

We have all been chosen

 

The claw is our master

The claw is our master

 

Judge me if you wish but I think that exposing my girls to the craziness of a festival is very well-rounding for them.  It teaches them tolerance & might even teach them lessons that they’ll remember later in life when they go out on their own.  I’m not expecting them to never indulge of course.  To truly learn, they’ll have to experience for themselves. 

They’ve seen grown men wrestling in a paddling pool of glitter.  They staged an intervention & refused to let me buy a shiny purple lycra leotard.  (Probably for the best).   I wish they had talked me into buying this stag head fascinator though:-

It's very me... but I didn't buy it. Wish I had now.

I didn’t buy it. Wish I had now. It accentuates the bags beneath my eyes

 

They watched ‘Being John Malkovitch’ & ‘Citizen Kane’ & didn’t complain once.  We saw a 500 year old man playing the spoons on his own in the dark. They saw a boylesque show (that’s right I said boylesque, not burlesque).  They saw just how many people took part in the nipple-tassle making workshop when they all chose to model their creations in the parade!  They were completely unfazed.  Even by having ‘Frozen’ ruined forever by seeing a couple of Princess Anna’s with beards & by witnessing their mum jumping around to The Jungle Brothers with her mate.

Girl I'll house you. You're in my hut now

Girl I’ll house you. You’re in my hut now

The Pink Flamingo will not be joining us on any more adventures into Utopia or, anywhere else for that matter.  The steady, heavy rain on Sunday was the last straw.

The death of the Pink Flamingo

The death throes of the Pink Flamingo

 

We may  however, give this festival a miss next year, if only because we’re hoping to have a proper holiday like normal people.  One that involves airports & hot sun, with a pool & beaches.  It’s about time we had a jolly holly that doesn’t mean sleeping on airbeds or wearing all your clothes at night to keep warm.

We’ll be back though Shambala. With glitter, sequins, furs & facepaints – but not those UV ones – they dry really hard & make your face all stiff.  Like ravers botox!

Goodnight Utopia, thanks for having us.

                              Goodnight Utopia, you were fab, thanks for having us.