The Festival Comedown

We Wildhearted

I’m experiencing a comedown. Not a drug induced one (unless that elderflower wine had more to it than I knew), but an emotional, physical one. Last weekend, I was at Wildheart.

To give you the briefest of glimpses into what goes on at a Wildheart gathering, I can list a few of the activities. There was a dance party that went on for a fair few hours, at the end of which I found myself tipped upside down on the back of a total stranger, who just decided (and quite rightly so) that dance parties ought to be ended back to back and with at least one of you in the air.

There was a cabaret, full of totally one-off characters performing spectacular acts of madness and comedy, including a man wearing three masks- yes- three masks! (You’d really have to see it to grasp the magnitude of this, but oh wow, it was excellent.) There was the perfect robot dancer, the finger puppeteer sans finger puppets, the super stretchy lady doing some form of amazing rolling dance across the stage with a friendly banjo player she’d seemingly just met, and many more amazing, crazy and brilliant characters doing acts worthy of a bigger audience, but more intimate and incredible for a small one.

There were stellar musical performances by inspirational musicians, sporadically accompanied by a self appointed commentator aged about 10 at a guess. Together, we Wildhearted danced, sang and created a whole new kind of Mexican wave which had a wonderfully powerful clashing (yet harmonious) point in the centre of the room and a more rotary motion than the average wave, involving the whole body (and soul).

There was a campfire around which we congregated as darkness fell and the children lay down into sleep as we sang songs that most of us only knew by picking up the words as we went. I do not know what we sang or even what language it was, but it sounded like fire. A woman made her way around the circle, blessing us each in turn with her smouldering stick of cedar wood as she spiralled it above our heads. I would guess that she was enacting the drawing out of impurities or bad feelings, but it was both wonderfully relaxing and touching whether you understood it or not.

There was the copper forge, tai chi, yoga and a hands-on shoes-off discussion on barefoot running. There was living under canvas, cooking on a little stove and hugging total strangers like your life depended on it.

Wildheart can teach us a lot about what is missing in our lives, and as I watched the wonderful crazy creatures that had been fellow Wildhearted villagers for the past few days recede back into their cars and tried to imagine them being reabsorbed into daily routine, I felt an overwhelming sadness that we had to leave this hidden field at all.

I don’t want to wait another year for the release that Wildheart provides; the nurturing space in which we can all relax into ourselves and drop our inhibitions. I want it to be incorporated into my daily life. Here was a space where we were not afraid to sing loud and dance like maniacs; where clothing was comfortable, relaxed, optional; where we were welcome to do whatever we felt like doing. And it seems a grave shame that, back in my flat as I hang out my tent to dry, bundle my clothing into the washer, and think about whether my uniform is ready for resuming work tomorrow, my carefree soul is already settling back behind it’s covers, ready to smile at every customer as I pretend to care about their choice of nail varnish and take their complaints about current offers seriously. The come down is never easy.

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2 thoughts on “The Festival Comedown

  1. Sounds like a pretty great weekend. We had similar come-down blues after last year’s Green Man festival. It’s probably bigger in scale than Wildman sounds from their website, but it was an amazingly chilled out weekend in the beautiful Brecon Beacons with some great talks (beer and music! Caitlin Moran!), loads of cool food options, really good music and an all-round laid-back weekend.

    It’s on in August if that festival itch needs scratching sooner rather than later…

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