… 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
We ended the night back at the Wonky Cock. As you do. But we did not look quite as lively in the morning.
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)
Ciao Ciao Tutti. Xx
*FYI I did not actually douse the tongue of an epileptic boy with Jose Cuervo. Just to clarify.