I am very lucky, I have a lovely friend who does her amazing children’s musical class at festivals and asks me to be her assistant. I can’t even call it work but technically that is what it is, we even had wristbands that announced it! This year at Cornbury Festival in the seriously picturesque Oxfordshire countryside we were doing both Miniature Music sessions and making circus peg people.
So basically for three hours each day, I got to sit and make little peg clowns and acrobats and help children of all ages, (and some adults!), to let their imaginations run riot. I was blown away by their creativity. Not one child just sat and copied the examples, there were trapeze artists on pipe cleaner trapezes, a lion, fairies and even a performing penguin. There is something so magical about watching somebody totally absorbed in creating and I find it very relaxing to get the chance to just be still and peaceful and lost in making too.
They were given just a plain wooden peg and out on the table was an explosion of colour and textures, wool, feathers, sequins, felt, pens, netting, it was like a haberdashery had hovered over the table and tipped itself up.
I had made some rainbow tutus for us to wear and we had rainbow bow ties and over the knee stripy socks…….we cut the feet off as socks and flip flops is not a good look even in fancy dress!
The best thing about being ‘workers’ is that you get to go behind the scenes, which is brilliant as you get to see some acts getting ready. One of my favourites was seeing the cry-with-laughter funny Granny Turismo drinking tea and popping their teeth in ready for their next performance! 😉 If you’ve never heard of them, as I hadn’t, here is a little clip to brighten up any day! 😀
It was a seriously amazing weekend, there was a lot of fun, a lot of laughter and a fair bit of cider! The one thing that we couldn’t have done without, (aside from heaps of cash!), was our trolley that we pre-hired. Last year we went to a festival and didn’t pre-book and spent the whole time trying to get hold of one and watching enviously while parents rolled their peacefully slumbering children out to enjoy a bit of the evening vibe as we sat by our tent at 8pm. This year it was our mission to have one too. It was the best thing since sliced bread! The peaceful evening slumbering didn’t go exactly to plan, (I have a fabulous video of them dancing to Razorlight but I frustratingly can’t get the program to rotate it to work, and as amusing as it is imagining all my lovely readers watching it with their heads on one side as I’ve been doing, I will wait until I can fix it!), but for day naps, general tired legs whinge prevention and to carry all those ‘essentials’ with kids, like 4 dolls, blankies and all the random tat you seem to accumulate at these things, it was our new best friend. We decorated it with fairy lights. These unfortunately met an untimely end in the axis of the trolley but handily, the flowers made amazing skirts for many show girls and fairies the next day!
Something that has been super duper amazingly handy of late, not just at the festival but generally with living with smalls, has been the swiss army card that my husband bought me waaaay back when in our early years of dating, I rediscovered it and it’s been living in my bag ever since and has been used for splinters, emergency eyebrow tweezers, (don’t tell him but they are actually better then the well known brand ones that he moans at the cost of…sshhhh! This will suss out whether he actually reads my posts or just pretends too! 😉 ), it’s also great for snipping off suddenly-too-skritchy-to-keep-walking labels and the pin once came in extremely useful for widening the holes on some wooden beads when we absolutely had to make a bracelet on the bus.
The other person I really want to mention is a very very nice man called Graham Jones who was there promoting his book series, Time Travelling Toby. The reason I mention him is because he put so much effort into his show, he did 3 or 4 half hour shows with only a short break in between each one, which he spent out and about chatting to everyone, and was as enthusiastic, engaging and animated each time. He genuinely kept both small boy age 2 and big girl age 4 totally rapt for the full 30 minutes, I have never seen this before, ever!
He really brought history to life for the children, (I was very interested too and history was my worst subject at school, think I came away with more knowledge then all of my GCSE left me with!!), big girl loved it so much she went to all 3 shows on the last day and spent the 50 minute drive home giving her imaginary audience a very enthusiastic and factually interesting account of the battle of fafalgar, (Trafalgar)! I think the most admirable thing is that he does this as a sort of hobby to get children interested in history and goes around schools for free to do his wonderful talks. (He’s based near Cheltenham but I’m not sure how far he travels).
I haven’t even covered the music, but bed is calling sooo loudly after my 2 nights on a hill sleeping on a bit of foam that should be ashamed to call itself a mat, so I will just leave you with the fact that one of the biggest musical hits with the kids resulted in some crazy cool dancing from big girl and an attempt at head banging from small boy. They were one of my faves too, I had never heard of them before. The Wonder Beers. Here is an example of their music to lull you to sleep…..not! 😉 There may well be a Cornbury Continued as I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface of this fabulous festival yet. We still need to cover the logistics of onesies with capes and portaloos! If you’re planning on going to a festival this year, check out my camping with kids, festival special to see what you need to pack!