Well, it’s been just over a week since I worked the Buddhafield Cafe at the Green Man Festival. Ample time for me to reflect and come to some conclusions. If only that’s what I’ve been doing. Truth is I’ve just been faffing about, doing some yoga, writing intermittently, watch DVDs, and suffering work (but more on that in my next post, entitled “You’re all going to die!”) 😉
Rather than have one big lump of text I’m going to divide it up into categories, a la Wikipedia, with a few sub headings here and there and the odd picture or two (taken with my phone, so my apologies for their shoddy appearance).
NB: my camera is officially muerte! Had the call today. It’d cost more to repair it than it’s worth, so it’s time for me to move on to camera’s new.
Anyway, enough of that…
I got to the Brecon Beacons on the Monday afternoon. The festival wasn’t due to start until the Thursday/Friday, but I was there to help set up. When I arrived there were a couple of domes set up and they were working on the cafe bit, so in true workman style I grabbed myself a cup of tea and a sandwich.
Actually I got there a bit late. I had planned to arrive earlier. But still it gave me a chance to meet everyone, do a bit of work, familiarise myself with the set up, and just settle in ready for the whole experience.
The Buddhafield lot were really nice. All very friendly, very open, and I felt most welcomed by them all. I was just there for the one festival but some of these guys do it for the whole season, hence the van living (as above).
This wasn’t a usual set up for them though. They have a big cafe, but it was away at another festival. The one we had was smaller, but we also had hot showers, hot tubs, and a sauna built as well; kind of a Buddhafield Spa if you like. I think it was the first time they’d done that, outside of their own festival, but it worked really well. People got into it, and I think they sold quite a few weekend passes.
When the festival started I was on the early shift, 7am to 1pm. Man it was cold at 6:30 in the morning! Seriously, I had blankets round my sleeping bag and still I was well chilly. That made getting up difficulty, though sometimes just the thought of a warm cup of tea was motivation enough to get you up and moving about (one morning it was so cold, when I poured hot water into the mug, the mug just cracked and spilled tea everywhere! that was weird).
I did lots of little bits and bobs during my shifts, but for the most part I was on washing up duty. I liked that, because it suited my methodical mind. Stuff comes it, I scrape, scrub and scald it, and it goes out clean. Nice, easy, no brain required. Very meditative, if you do it right. 🙂
It was funny at one point on Saturday morning. The washing up station was just outside the cafe, with nothing but a wall of doubled over hessian between me and the ‘spa’. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on behind me, too busy doing the dishes, when I turned round to collect a pile of plates and just saw a sea of naked people all laying out in the sun, drying out after there sauna/shower experience. “Well,” I thought, “there’s something you don’t see every day!” And then back to the scrubbing I went.
All in all it was a very positive experience. Not only for the opportunity to practice some good karma yoga, and all the fabulous vegan food I got to eat, but for all the really lovely people I got to meet, and who I look forward to seeing again some time in the future. And it seems my efforts were appreciated, as it was suggested I might like to do the Buddhafield festival itself, maybe as site crew. It’s certainly something I’m going to think about; just depends on what I’m doing next July, and indeed which country I’m in!
Green Man was a new one for me. A fairly small festival, only about 20,000 people, it’s not one I’d come across before. I volunteered for that one as there was a lot of folky bands playing. Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling, Iron and Wine, I was very keen to see them all.
The festival itself was very well run, very clean, very polite, and very family friendly. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to take their kids to something like that. All the people working there (with the exception of one asshole parking attendant) were nice and helpful, as were the festival goers themselves.
As for the music, it was a great line up. Here are my quick capsule reviews of the acts I saw.
Heard him before on the Morning Becomes Eclectic podcast. He was good on that but I wasn’t bowled over by him at the time. I certainly was when I saw him live. Just brilliant. Haunting melodies and excellent guitar work, I’d recommend his album to anyone (I bought it as soon as I got back).
As expected, a great performance, nicely done, very pleasing to watch. I just sat there and enjoyed everything she did. Such a great singer and very smiley, which is nice. 🙂
Oh my God, so boring! I’m sorry, but every one of their songs sounded the same. I was bored to death. I really wish I’d skipped these lot. An hour of my life I won’t get back.
As expected, brilliant. Everyone had said he’d be quite quiet and standoffish with the crowd, not much of a stage act, but not at all! He was funny, engaging, very warm and up for having a good time. The crowd loved it. So much they got him to come do an encore even though the green man was about to be set on fire. Then they messed with his head by swaying out of rhythm, but he saw the funny side of it. It was a great show, and another great album if you’re looking for one.
Find of the festival! There’s always one band/group you stumble across by accident and they totally blow you away, so it was with Holy Fuck. Not a great show, two blokes hunched over keyboards nodding away to the music, but what a massive, all encompassing sound. It’s hard to describe, so I’ll let these two videos paint a picture for you.
Imagine that but louder, and bassier, and bouncier, and you’re about half way there. Me likey, and another album I bought when I got back home.
And finally an honorable mention to Noah and the Whale. Nice tunes, but more importantly nice suits fellas. I’m loving the look. We need more sartorial excellence in music these days
If anyone’s interested I’ve done a wee playlist download which you can get by clicking here. Just a few tunes from some of the bands mentioned, as well as some tunes from bands that could have been playing if they’d been playing (if you know what I mean). Anyway, enjoy! 🙂
And finally, a public service announcement:
If you climb on your boyfriend’s shoulders in the middle of a gig and wave your arms in the air shouting ‘Woo!’ blocking the view of the people behind you, be in no doubt, you are a twat. Go and get twat tattooed on your forehead so that everyone you meet will know you are a twat. Then try and convince everyone that you did it ironically, and that really twat tattoos are cool. Because that’s the sort of thing you’d do. Because you are a twat.
(twat: see Morrissey)
Words I learnt
I added three new words to the old lexicon from my week in the Brecon Beacons. They are as follows:
Brash; a pile of chopped logs found in a forest.
Tatting; going through the stuff people have left behind to see what you can find.
Nesh; what I’ve become after living darn sarf for so long, apparently.
Quote of the week
When asked what kind of girl he went for Steve replied
“I dunno. She’d have to be pretty deformed for me not to go for her, if I’m honest.”
In short, meditate more, do more, live more, love more, and life’s too short to work in an office.