Greenbelt Day 4: paradise in the mire. #gb12


Although the rain fell and the mud thickened (and in some places, turned to soup) there was almost a carnival atmosphere on site today.

The last full day of the festival is always bitter-sweet as people begin to pack up and light squares of turf appear around your own tent. Today more so than normal as some pack up to beat the forecast rain and the scramble for belongings off the flatbed trucks replacing our own vehicles taking our equipment to the car parks. However, amongst that was plenty of joy and fun.

I again spent most of the day within the festival “Village”, the collection of family venues within easy reach of each other. The highlight of the day was definitely the “street entertainment”. If it was not shocking enough to see a juggler walk a tight-rope, whilst playing violin, to see him then remove his waistcoat, then short, then trousers whilst still on the tightrope, and double-hula-hoop wearing nothing but Superman pants, Union Jack socks and a hat was downright alarming, albeit highly entertaining!

We caught a number of wonderful performing arts including the wonderful Cscape Dance company, with their show “If the shoe fits” a little girl’s magical journey choosing new shoes in the Nice Fits Shoe Emporium. As the dancers retold the stories behind different shoes, we saw shoes become sea creatures, space monsters, and wild beasts. My boys were entranced.

We also made our first visit to the G-Source. We often get such a small glimpse of the festival according to our personal tastes whether that be performing arts, music, exploring creative worship, it is so important to remember the numerous charities supporting vulnerable people and communities, meeting need and fighting injustice both in the UK and worldwide.

A couple more hidden gems: the first was 10×9, Padraig O’Tuama’s hour of short true moving stories of 10 minutes or less. This was a format I love to take back home: a sort of open-mike of genuine experience. The final huge highlight was from our own Karen Chalk, whose collaboration with Jenny Stone Still Life was a moving but funny musical journey through stories from their experience as international observers in Palestine. Even for the most interested person (and I am), hearing talk after talk about suffering and injustice can be hard to bear, but Karen and Jenny’s combination of humour, music, visuals and personal biography made the presentation hopeful, despite the heartbreak.

The festival is not over, there is still much to enjoy of it’s final few hours! Have fun!

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