Last weekend I went to Lodestar Festival in Cambridge. It’s quite a cheap one which is great, £55 for camping at the weekend and £22 for the day. I have to admit a lot of the music wasn’t really to my taste (quite a lot of it was indie) but most of them were local and it was a good platform for that sort of thing.
The stall traders were local, the shops sold hippie/alternative stuff (I’m not a hippie, I just like the clothes) and Cambridge Community Circus provided workshops and entertainment. On Saturday night they and a few others going by the name ‘Wildfire Productions‘ performed a fire show with staff, poi, fans etc and it was lots of fun, they brought a lot of personality to it. I learned I’m a terrible juggler with, as my friend Angie said, the coordination of a bee. With my fetish for circus performers, however, I was delirious with joy.
We spent most of our time in the tea and shisha tent The Cloud Lounge, where we smoked fruit pipes and drank a variety of tea. It felt so much like sitting in a front room I got a surprise every time I turned around and saw a festival. The tables and part of the wall were there for people to write on using felt pens, and I felt a regression to nursery as I scribbled ‘braintreeways.com‘ on every available surface.
Parts of it were extremely middle class and/or hippie (someone was giving away free packs of Jordan’s country crisp cereal, and the off-key recorder playing from the spiritual tent provided moments of unintentional humour) but it’s a really nice small, local festival and I definately recommend giving it a try. I’m not sure I’d camp over again but the circus, stalls and friendly Cloud Lounge staff mean we’ll definately go back for a day next year.
In the middle of August we three travelled all the way to Scotland to the Edinburgh Festival. We were lucky enough to stay with a friend, but I have previously stayed in a hostel with a few friends and found it to be a good option. If there’s enough of you an entire room can be overtaken, but remember – weeing around the perimeter as a form of territorialism is a bad idea.
Edinburgh’s looks are enough to make you fall in love with it. I lived for four years in Bath and it has the same Georgian style buildings and hills framing the distance, but there’s so much more to it than lovely but sleepy Bath it feels almost like a graduation.
You go out with a plan to see three shows and end up seeing twice as many, sometimes only from sitting in a pub and hearing about a free play/comedy act in that very venue.
I have my writing heroes including Neil Gaiman, Helen Dunmore and Sarah Waters. However the side of me that writes and performs for Braintree Ways is fascinated by comedy and those who enact it including Andy Kaufman, Eddie Izzard, the South Park pair, Peter Cook and Monty Python.
One person I saw at Edinburgh who intrigues me at the moment is Stewart Lee. I used to watch Lee and Herring as a child but his current stand up on programmes such as The Comedy Vehicle is fascinating (and funny).
In the first clip he breaks the fourth wall by mentioning a grandad and then declaring him not to be real, along with explaining the nuts and bolts of stand up to the audience and in a fake interview. This made me feel firstly as if I was watching something almost Brechtian and, secondly, intellectually pretentious enough to use Brechtian as a description.
The second clip is one of his repetative tangents which reminds me of my student poetry era. I’d go to various venues around Bath where the smoke would turn your eyes red and various people took turns in reading out their scribblings to live music. Stewart Lee’s rantings make me think of 50s/60s era beat and performance poets. See for yourself.