With the beautiful backdrop of Gisburn forest, there really is no better place for a family orientated festival. With a range of earthy, simple and relaxing activities mixed with an eclectic array of live music, hosted by the forest pines, there truly is something for everyone.
‘On Pa’ were delightfully received especially by the younger children who were held captivated by Rachael and Ichi’s undeniable talent at turning everyday sounds into tranquil and soothing musical beats. From typewriters to ping pong, the audience were in awe of the beautiful music we heard through the trees from the forest stage. Rachael played the clarinet soothingly like a magical pied piper into and around the children who were sitting mesmerised on the log seating like tiny toadstools looking up at the sunshine. Especially interesting was the music of food where the children were interacting with Rachael and Ichi with the chopsticks provided to them. The use of the projector to display the live paintings and the water being poured into a basin was a quirky yet simple and effective touch. The synaesthesia of the duo was a perfect start to a Saturday morning in the woods.
Refreshed and peaceful, the audience could venture over to the hub where the children could play on the park whilst parents and older children could enjoy some ‘Logan and Manley’ from the Baby Grand stage or stay amongst the woodland for a solo performance wonderfully delivered by Rachael Dadd.
As the afternoon sunshine warmed the soul, parents still not relaxed by the wonderful setting and performances could drop their children (aged 8-18) at the parent free zone where children were kept busy with bushcraft skills such as den building and fire lighting. Alternative activities for the more artistic children were tree and nature art designs. After all their spent energy, the children were collected from the central fire pit where they were found happily toasting marshmallows and telling stories. The children may be harder to spot slightly more camouflaged having decorated themselves with the forest artefacts, but you could spot them from their wide grins a mile away.
With a choice of ales, fine live music and happy children what could be better now than a late afternoon theatrical performance from ‘Compost Mentis’ on the Village Green. Stranger than strange, hard to define and yet all based around a gardener’s exploits at trying to grow a few pot plants, the performance was extraordinarily wonderful. With a huge shrub which eventually comes alive and gobbles up the gardener, it is fair to say the audience were not expecting that! The performance was repeated for anyone who missed it – we enjoyed it so much that we went on both occasions.
As the sun set over the skyline of pines, the musical beats got everyone bopping in and around the forest stage. There was always a choice of music or activity but it was never the case, as with some larger festivals, that you felt like you were missing out. The intimacy and small festival atmosphere allowed for an exclusive and original experience. Dancing in the trees in the dark was a fantastic and memorable event. With a strict curfew of midnight for the last act this meant everyone could sleep peacefully exhausted in their tent under the stars.
Photos: Duncan Whittaker
Published on 26 June 2019 by Louise Whittaker