If you like a bit of mystery in your life, then you might like to think about going to Shambala festival. I can tell you the date (25th – 28th August) and some basic info about it (4 days, 200 acts, 9 stages, 99% powered by the wind, sun and vegetable oil for starters), but other than that it’s a secret. I exaggerate a little – they keep the exact programme and location of the festival a secret, but from a bit of sneaky internet research it appears to be around the Northamptonshire area (on a country estate no less!).
Music is a big focus; and with nine different stages you will have plenty to choose from. There really is all sorts: dub step, drum n’ base, dub, acoustic, reggae, latin, jazz, folk and blues. They like to focus on new talent, mixing new acts with previous performers. Whatever your style, you’re sure to find something to groove to.
There is, of course, much much more available. I’ve heard many shambalaphiles giving excited about the famous Shambala Fancy Dress Carnival Procession on Saturday night. Plus there’s a “Lost Cinema”, live poetry, a woodland sculpture trail as well as comedy, workshops and even swimming in the lake.
The aim of the festival is all about discovery. Discovering fresh and cutting edge music, discovering new friends, discovering hidden talents through trying new things, discovering your inner peace and tranquillity in the secluded meadow. As far as I can see, pretty much everything you want from a festival – you can get here.
If this sounds like your cup of tea – you better get in quick as the early bird tickets have already sold out. Full priced tickets are still available however – children can go for £29 (under 5s are free), teenagers for £79 and adults for £119. If you fancy arriving in green style, there are guided cycle rides to the festival from £10 (see the website shambalafestival.org for more info)
I recently posted about our Buddhafield experience, and thought you may be interested to know about Sunrise Off-Grid, taking place from 18-21st August in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. This festival is family-focused and explores sustainable living within communities and it’s utterly brilliant.
We’ve been going to Off-Grid as a family for several years and has a really, really special community vibe. What is fab about this festival is that it’s such a grass roots event. Everyone who attends contributes to the festival in some way, large or small and it really feels like being part of something special.
If you check out the website, sunrise-offgrid.co.uk, you’ll discover some of the many enticing things happening this year from Forest School for kids to the brilliant Brigit Strawbridge talking about the importance of bees, Rob Hopkins on the Transition Movement to a full scale Off Grid college where participants can take part in a 12 module course. The festival is based around the idea of the ‘transition’ of the Earth: do we use initiative and step into a new world where we are active participants, or do we simply stand-back, submissively, and let others make the change? Off-Grid believes that we have a duty, as humans, to move forwards whilst creating new links with the planet.
There are opportunities at the festival to learn about generating our own power, eating from nature, and even moving beyond our own limits by walking on hot coals! I love the fact that Off Grid creates an intimate environment which focuses on sharing: skills, knowledge and wisdom. The focus on switching from our reliance on unsustainable resources is an issue close to my heart, and what’s on offer reflects this. It also looks at looking at changing our perception, not just habits, to create a better community consciousness.
If this year is anything like last year, there will be plenty of live music (think Seize the Day and The Correspondents), healing workshops, presentations on all sorts of natural and sustainable topics (How to build an off-grid energy system for under £100? Yes please!) and everything in between, including dance, yoga and practical workshops. Children’s tickets are £20 and adults vary from £65-85 (depending on your income), but see the website for more information on this. See you there?!
We’re excited to have teamed up with hotels discount specialist LateRooms.com in their Best Kept Secret Awards for 2011. We are searching for the hotel which is not only a hidden gem, but truly has sustainability at its heart.
We have partnered with LateRooms.com to offer the Best Eco-credentials Hotel Award. So if you’ve stayed in a B&B or hotel with an innovative and sustainable outlook, we would love to hear about it.
Have you stayed somewhere with an innovative energy saving system or that only serves organic and locally sourced food? Maybe you’ve swum in an ozone pool or bedded down between organic sheets. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed honey at breakfast collected from the hotel’s hives. Tell us the best green hotel you have stayed in and you could win yourself a hotel stay.
Nominations for the awards open this week and close on the 21st August with winners being announced in early September. I am excited to announce that I will be heading up the judging panel for the Best Eco-credentials Hotel category in the UK.
To nominate your favourite eco-credentials hotels, simply visit www.bestkeptsecretawards.com and cast your vote. We look forward to hearing from you.
I expected Buddhafield to be good but I didn’t expect the experience to completely blow my mind and leave me feeling totally and utterly blissed out and in love with fellow man. And that’s not half of the profound effect that it had on me!
When we arrived the site seemed quiet and peaceful and I was pleased to note the many trees surrounding each field. This gives the whole place a really alive and grounded feel and it felt really good. Once we’d pitched our tent, we went to explore and discovered proper thunderbox compost loos. Brilliant! These were clean and didn’t smell (unlike the compost loos which all feed into same pit, and don’t even get me started on portaloos!) and were also kept well stocked with recycled loo roll throughout the festival.
Arriving in the festival field, it’s clear how much love and care has been put into setting up – the ritual space holds a huge gold buddha surrounded by plants and crystals. And so, begins a magical weekend of discovery. Our daughters discovered the saunas first under the guidance of a friend, preferring the cold plunge pool over the heat of the sauna. Then they were off, meeting people, playing with the other children on site and generally turning the whole beautiful space into their playground. As they get older, it becomes more and more possible to give them this freedom and it is a pleasure to watch them fly with it.
So Jez and I found ourselves in the Ecstatic Dance workshop with Jewels Wingfield. A mindblowing way to start the festival – we walked out with hearts and minds wide open and proceeded to have lots of fun! We met loads of people over the weekend who are involved with the magazine, a whole community of readers, writers and contributors. We also met lots of people doing incredible inspiring things who will feature on the pages of The Green Parent in the future.
The food was amazing, lots of organic, wholefood options, the vibe was incredible, the people gorgeous and the selection of workshops fantastic. We sang with Mahasukha, danced with Jewels, played digderidoo, practiced yoga, meditated, listened to poetry and song and much much more. We all had an amazing festival and my eldest said it was the best she had ever been to. When asked why, she explained that “People here are really happy; they aren’t just pretending to be. That’s what happens when people don’t drink.” And I think this was a key factor to such a beautiful heart-wide-open experience, there was no alcohol or drugs so nothing to hide behind. People were who they really are. And on that scale, watching a community in action it was quite something to witness. So, we’ll definitely be booking tickets for next year’s festival. And for those who are looking for something magical and inspirational over the summer, Buddhefield holds various retreats, each with a different focus. I love the sound of the Gandharva Music Retreat in September. Many of the retreats are held at Frog Mill, a wildlife rich space in Devon. Buddhafield are working to raise money to pay for this land to regenerate areas of woodland and enable them to keep holding events here, such as the Family Friendly from 30th July to 6th August.
I have long wanted to sample the delights of Buddhafield festival, having heard so many amazing stories about this family friendly event which takes place from July 13-17th in Somerset. This year we are finally going to get to experience it and I’m so excited!
The theme for 2011 is Abundance, which is cosmically timely, with the incredible heart opening, expansive feel of the spring and summer so far this year. The whole festival is about getting out of the head and into the body. A challenge for many Westerners but one that I am looking forward to fully embracing in a couple of weeks time.
Workshops, talks and demos fill the five day event and festival goers can learn everything from Buddhist chanting to how to make your own digeridoo. I am especially looking forward to the full yoga programme which starts at 6:30 every morning, singing workshops with the legendary Mahasukha and women’s sacred intimacy workshops with Jewels Wingfield. And of course, I won’t be able to resist a few 5 rhythms sessions and shamanic trance dance. Oh and Carolyn Hillyer will be there leading a sacred song workshop and there’s plenty of NVC workshops too. Squeal! Excited? Moi? Yep!
All this, plus there’s music from Undercover Hippy, Seize the Day and a poetry set from the brilliant Paradox, as well as lots of other inspirational sounds and speakers. When it comes to relaxation and eating, Pachamamas will be providing chai and crepes, Buddhafield cafe will be providing the best vegan breakfasts ever known to man and the on site health food shop, Sunseed will be selling everything else you might need.
I’m pleased to note many eco initiatives that Buddhafield are already involved in and look forward to discovering more as we explore the site. From compost loos to liftsharing policy, renewable energy use to a comprehensive recycling programme, the organisers have really thought about every aspect.
So, we’ll keep you posted and let you know how much fun we have, when we get back. And if you are interested in going, there are tickets still available – find out more here.
Welcome to the new blog from the Green Parent office. Here we'll talk about what's going on in the small and quite leafy headquarters of the UK's leading green lifestyle magazine. We'll share news that interests us and talk about green issues and natural parenting. We'll share advice and information from our own experiences of living a green lifestyle. And we'll even tell you what we are reading, eating, drinking and thinking. Hope you get plenty of food for thought here.