Thursday, 6 August 2015

Standon Calling Festival

I went to Standon Calling at the weekend. It was my first time there, and also my first UK festival in over 3 years so I was very excited. It was also the 10 year anniversary of the festival. A huge group of us went, probably 30-40 people we knew and we were celebrating our lovely Sian's birthday, my friend of many years and also a member of The Treatment Rooms collective.

As you may know from my previous blog, I had been helping mosaic a black taxi for the weekend. Standon Calling is a themed, boutique, family festival with heavy influences on the arts. Treatment Rooms had a school in the gold rush themed town centre where they taught mosaic on grave stones to go in the church "graveyard" across the square. It was so much fun.

Now then, I'm in the mood to write again today, so I shall give you a bit of history about the festival which I learned while I was there, think this is a great story!

The festival was started 10 years ago by the son of Lord and Lady Trenchard called Alex. They live in the most gorgeous of country estates near Ware in Hertfordshire, The Standon Lordship, and like most young adults Alex decided to have a barbecue round the pool while his parents were away which they didn't know about. I would too if my parents lived there!

This photo of the house was taken from the Standon Calling Website @ www.standon-calling.com


He built a make shift stage which collapsed! I don't think it mattered though. Alex and his friends had already decided this was the start of something beautiful and that it had the potential to expand. The next year they built a stronger stage on his parent's lawn and a band called Do Me Bad Things performed. I saw them perform this year for the anniversary, and oh boy, that lady singer was good! After they had finished, he had the lights cut so everyone would think the evening was over and that they would just go back to their tents and make their own fun, but instead, he had some actors dressed as fairies who led everyone out of the garden and to a secret glade for fireworks and another band. The party had branched out from the lawn of the Lord's Estate and was looking something like a festival!

He says his intention wasn't for it to become a festival, but this is just how it happened. It's a festival for new talent, art and creativity, sculpture, mosaic, writing, interactive theatre, food and was intended to support charity and be a festival for the arts, small, boutique and full of creative people. It's the first festival I've been to with a heated swimming pool, the actual private pool of the family in their garden! It's ridiculously dog and family friendly and there are so many children and puppies running around. They aim to be clean and eco friendly, and really do succeed in many ways. It's one of the cleanest festivals I've ever been to. It's very sad that a small percentage of people, usualy in the younger generation, ruin that for everyone else. 80% of people left no trace, 20% of camping areas looked appalling after they packed up and didn't clean their areas before leaving. This made me and many others sad on the way out. Pick up your litter people!

The actual festival site was amazing though. No silly paper cups everywhere and food packaging. The cup thing is great, they make you pay £1.00 deposit for every cup, so funnily enough, everyone brings them back for refills rather than chucking them, unless drunk and then you lose them and curse your own stupidity. Then the little kids go round picking them up to make some pocket money! 

"So where is the funny side of this story then?" I hear you ask. Well very briefly the story goes that Alex was a bit of a naughty boy and struggling to keep the festival going (he was making a loss when he had wanted to support charities), and in 2006 he got caught embezzling rather a lot of money from his employer Tesco.

"But this still isn't that funny, he stole money." I can hear you saying to me.

Well I kind of think it is a bit, because Tesco are wankers and he was obviously a rebel starting this all off in the first place behind his parents backs, but he did want it to be for a good cause and sadly it kept losing money, but he loved it. His parents fully supported him and helped him pay off the money after he found out he'd have to go to prison for a while they even let the festival carry on in their grounds with dad running it while his son was locked up. Absolute legends of parents! Apparently the fancy dress theme is all down to them, they love fancy dress.

I want them to be my parents!

Anyway, enough of my slightly below par storytelling, I'm rambling now, lets just say I liked it a lot there and it had a cool vibe, ok?! Now lets get on with some photos. I may have to steal a couple off my mates on facebook to make for completeness, as when wondering around drinking cider, it's easy to forget to take more!  I'll give them credit, don't worry! You'll be able to tell which are mine anyway!

 Ali and I arrived last Thursday afternoon with our packed trolley. Sian took this photo!
 We had a lot of space in the first day or so becase the public hadn't yet arrived. Sunny weather, beautiful vews and an empty field. What more could we want?

Some hats and fun glasses obviously. And an old silver cross pram converted into an umbrella, drinks fun trolley. 
 Ali & Rose
Claire on the opening morning, eagerly waiting for the pool to open so she could go swimming with little Roxy and their inflatable lobster!

 The School of Revolution was set up, and we headed down to help get the mosaic gravestones started and drum up some interest. This was the first gravestone.

People stopped by to ask about the taxi and what we were up to and sitting on the floor, I got to play with all the dogs! I was in my element!

I don't have any photos, but I also decorated a skull necklace (you may see some in the background of these photos) and people could do that all weekend with Lady Muck for a mere £3.00, an absolute bargain for an age of entertainment sat in the sunshine with a beer. So theraputic and relaxing. The kids loved it and so did the adults! The kids didn't drink beer obviously!




 The town square.


 I didn't take too many more photos on the Friday. (This one above is Sian's and that's me in the hat!) We worked on the mosaic till the evening, finishing the cross ready for grouting, then we went to meet our new arrivals, Mark, Kathryn, my brother, some other people who had to work late on the Friday night and these ended up on my phone! Oh Mark!



 We basically danced to house at the pool party for some time, then bounded off for more adventures, finishing up in a very cold tent. Brrr!!!

The next morning, Mark played fancy dress at the denim store to find an evening outfit. We all sat on a bench and giggled as he came out in different things. Down at the school, Carrie started grouting the cross. Don't let the clouds fool you in a couple of these photos! The weather was scorching all weekend, I just have crappy timing for photography!

Carrie finished grouting the cross and it was put in the graveyard.
The photo above is another nicked from Sian.
 As the day wore on, everyone started playing with fancy dress and make-up.

I wore my unicorn onesie and had a rainbow on my face. :) 

I thought I was funny at one point, actually I thought I was funny the whole time I was wearing it. So I made a video of myself grooving to Roots Manuva on the grass. 

I just look like an idiot.

I also found my wings. This picture has brought up a lot of Romeo and Juliet references. Thanks for the photo Ali!

Andy and Evelyn
Sian & Claire


I don't know these people above. I just thought they looked lovely in this photo. This was during Roots Manuva.

As the night wore on, one by one we gravitated towards the enchanted forect where we found a lady playing with her band called Malory Torr. She had some friend who she let play, one guy a brilliant songwriter a bit like Jamie T, but we aren't sure who he was. He was awesome though. All in all it was very magical in that little glade. 
 Next morning Roxy was desperate for some shade, it was so hot, so we set her up with her lobster in my tent porch. How cute?! 
These are my last 2 photos. I didn't take any of Basement Jaxx or that last evening. I was having too much fun. And then I got really tired after 4 days of partying and fell asleep a tad too early missing Sian's cake. Sorry Wonnish. :(
The last photo on my phone was this one of the taxi. I probably should have played with it in photoshop a bit but I don't do that. The sky was beautiful and the taxi sat there all proud having had shit loads of public praise, love, touching and photos taken of it. It's story had been shared with many.

It was an amazing weekend and I'd just like to say thanks to Sian and The Treatment Rooms Collective for welcoming me into their world a little over the last few weeks and letting me be involved in their fantastic projects. 

XXX

Once again, links to the artists above:
Lady Muck's Instagram - https://instagram.com/aka_ladymuck/
http://carriereichardt.com/