have hardly read blogs over the summer so time to get back in the swing of things...
first thing i noticed was that asbo jesus has some hilarious new cartoons.
kester is increasingly weaving poetic words together - loved the human dress
paul roberts has been sleeping with his laptop
ben links to a video of DJ Shadow visuals
laura has ended her blog
maggi has a new book out (congrats)
steve has taken wonderful photos of st ives again
gareth higgins has compiled his top film list again
greenbelt was my second festival of the summer. i think it was the busiest i can remember. i help co-ordinate the worship programme across site so there is always lots to do for that, but i was also relaunching proost and we had a stand in the marketplace venue as well as a number of events across the festival. on top of that jenny was ill... so it felt like a bit of a whirlwind. a sure sign of this is that i didn't take any photos - well i have six, 5 of which were taken the first morning before the festival started - have a look at the latest in my flickr stream if you want to see them! but it was a fab greenbelt - the weather was amazing. i can't quite believe that this summer i have been to two festivals and both have had incredible weather. it could have been so different if they had been on other weekends.
thanks to everyone who was involved in worship at greenbelt or who came to worship.
thanks to dean for pulling together the grace communion by numbers.
thanks to my friend shannon who spearheaded the proost relaunch
thanks to everyone who visited proost and made encouraging noises about the new approach/postcards/content/website
here's me and jon cracking open the champagne at the relaunch celebration in the cms tent (thanks for the pic sarah)
it's a bit late but better late than never i guess. time for a review of the big chill festival 2007.
i finally uploaded a set of photos.
we headed off to eastnor on the thursday to set up camp. it gives time to get your bearings, take a wander round the site, play a bit of frisbee, and read through the programme to work out what to do about the clashes when two things you wanted to go to are on at the same time!
in spite of loads of rain in the area in the run up to the festival a dry few days and weekend meant we were spared the potential mud bath. the festival is set in the malvern hills in the grounds of eastnor castle. it really is a wonderful setting with hillsides overlooking the festival and lakes in the valley. it looks almost magical at night with the wonderful creative lighting that enhances the setting. reflected light in the water along with the lights from stages at night and the sounds coming from around the various stages all add to the vibe. the art trail is also brilliant - this year there was a mirror tiled boat being DJed from on the water (it was highly amusing when someone swam out to deliver fish and chips to the captain) which looked great in both daylight and at night, another lake and lit up tubes across it. and there was a tree with lanterns in that were connected to bikes underneath. a lantern would be lit when someone rode a bike - they were lit pretty much the whole time. the decor around the site generally is wonderful. i loved the sculpture women at the entrance to the mind body soul area.
if you've never been, it's not too crowded - probably about 35 000 i'm guessing - it may sound a lot but you can go to pretty much anything and get in ok. there are four stages with artists performing outdoors. the open air stage and castle stage have the bigger names i guess. enchanted garden is a smaller stage with more leftfield acts - i saw jon hopkins and lj kruzer there for example - and the village green is more acoustic. i finally got to see foy vance and a man who could fly! as well as bands performing the stages are also used for DJs - it's such a simple idea and i can't understand why more festivals don't use a stage in that way. then there are two main bars which have outdoor DJ booths. people grab a drink, sit down and listen to music and as the day progresses these become fantastic club venues outdoors. the club tent is huge. then there is a media mix tent with film and all sorts of creative stuff, a cabaret venue, a mind body and soul area and food and other stalls scattered throughout and probably a load of stuff i have forgotten such as croquet which we fitted in a game of. i think i said this last year but greenbelt is the other fetsival i go to in the summer which i also love but as i help run it i don't get to much and know so many people there that when i am free i'm just catching up with people (which i love). at the big chill it's the opposite. i don't know many people and haven't got to go anything so can just go to stuff and enjoy it.
it's hard to pick out highlights. one of the acts i was most looking forward to were kruder and dorfmeister - i've been a fan of their work for years and never seen them. they had a good set up and DJed for the evening 2 hours each. whilst there were some great mixes it was a bit disappointing. i expected more artists or creative input. bonobo were brilliant as ever. daddy g and norman jay played great sets, with norman jay drawing a huge crowd as ever for his sunday afternoon set and getting everyone on their feet dancing and having a good time. this is how it looked from the hill behind. ty gave me hope for british hip hop with his no labels approach. the cinematic orchestra were sublime. and i loved abraham wilson and the delta blues project who performed with the london community gospel choir doing the songs from the first ever gospel choir to visit the uk whose name i forget. ben westbeech looked to be having a blast. it was quite a surpise to encounter that there but it just shows how open and eclectic the big chill is.
i took a bunch of photos - i'm really pleased with some of them. i even managed to make the toilets look nice at night! i have linked to them throughout this post. the visual side will give you a better impression than the words i expect. always hard to pick favourites but i love the lantern that is being launched and the open air stage across the lake. the weather was wonderful and we even had a sunset over the stages. it seems to have become an annual fixture for me so i hope to be back next year.
thank you big chill for a wonderful festival.
just back from two weeks family holiday in portugal...
it was my first visit to portugal and we had a great time. we stayed near obidos, about an hour north of lisbon on the atlantic coast.
i now have one day turnaround and then heading off to greenbelt festival which i am looking forward to as ever. it's going to be a busy weekend. along with gayle and a team of other volunteers, i co-ordinate and plan the worship programme. if you're going, greenbelt is unique for a festival in terms of worship - there is so much diversity. i write a monthly column on greenbelt worship for the church times. each month i have focused in on a particular theme or worship group. but for the latest (possibly the current issue? not having been in the office i haven't checked) i chose to write the latest one on the breadth of the programme so i have cut and pasted most of it here to give you the sense of what is going to be happening.
The New Forms café is the venue dedicated to new and alternative worship led by communities round the UK. Join in Emerging Matins with Feig from Gloucester or meditate on feminine images of God and the mystery of birth with Park from Sheffield. These are both very young communities making Greenbelt debut’s. Sanctuary from Birmingham bring a multicultural flavour fusing Asian spirituality with alternative worship. They have inspired others to go on a similar journey so we actually have five groups from Birmingham this year. DJs and VJs will mix it up while you get the best coffee on site.
The familiar alternative worship groups will also be there – Visions lead a Trance Mass, Ikon the God Delusion and Grace take you on an Emmaus Rd journey in the Arena guided by the Big Screen. Sanctus1 will be leading this year’s Sunday morning communion service across two venues around the story of the wedding at Cana – one traditional and the other more leftfield but united in sharing bread and wine (and by video feed!).
Soul Space is the most wonderful venue on site in the panoramic café at the top of the Grandstand overlooking the racecourse. It is a fitting location for contemplative worship. Expect a full immersive experience of music and scripture with Molten Meditation, bathe in the ancient stillness of liturgy with Nchant, be silent, join in Evening Prayer with bishops’ thoughts or go to Orthodox Great Vespers.
Taize and Iona have both been renewing streams in the worship of UK churches and will be leading services across the site. Join in the Iona Wild Goose Big Sing on Saturday afternoon. And if you really like singing, elsewhere you can catch Matt Redman, the Love and Joy Gospel Choir, Vineyard, rock worship and even ska with Sounds of Salvation (think Madness playing choruses). Or have a go yourself at the open mic worship.
If you prefer black and purple to white and beige then join the late night Goths. And if you really fancy something a little bit quieter join the Cheltenham quakers or visit the Fransiscans on the camp site with a daily rhythm of liturgies. John Taverner is at this year’s festival for the first time which should be quite a treat if you like your music on a classical tip.
To encourage new young talent there is also a project Unusual Suspects being launched by proost at this year’s festival. Three young talented suspects – Cntrst, Sophie Dutton and Isaac Everett will be showing movies, DJing, reading liturgy and poems, and performing music across the site. Proost’s Jon Birch will also be leading worship with a mix of new animations, reflections and tunes.
The UK church is packed with creativity and diversity in worship and Greenbelt is a feast of it. Festival spirituality is wonderful – a chance to enjoy things on a scale that you never encounter at home, step out of your comfort zone, be renewed, have your imagination sparked, and find yourself feeling hopeful about the church again.
one thing that is quite different for me this year is that I have had nothing to do with planning the grace worship experience as i haven't been around to help plan and i am so busy with the relaunch of proost (will blog separately about that) and the wider worship programme. it sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun on sat afternoon at 3:30pm guided by the big screen in the arena following the emmaus road. rumour has it that there are lots of windmills involved. i'll be there as a punter.
the weather forecast looks to be good for the weekend which is good news as it's been a pretty weird summer for weather in the uk.
the wider programme has some great stuff in it - coldcut, nu:tone and logistics, and soweto kinch will be on my list to try and catch. then there is the usual amazing line up of speakers and seminars - i doubt i'll make many but it's great that mark yaconelli is making a greenbelt debut, as is becky garrison and i want to try and hear john o donahue for the first time. experience tells me that most spare time will be spent with friends (old and new) drinking and chatting. greenbelt always feels like a reunion.
hope to see some of you there...
no time to blog yet about the big chill. but we had a fab time. am now on holiday but stopping in to get intenet to catch up on greenbelt and proost. i have been sorting through photos and will upload them no doubt at some point but here's one of my favourites.you could get these lanterns that expanded with hot air and flew magically over the festival into the night. i saw some people letting them off on the hill and was trying to get a shot of one being launched with the festival lights in the background...
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there are two blah... learning days planned in london in the autumn
sept 15 looking at issues around leadership and emerging church with doug gay and maggi dawn should be fab. you can book here. this is part of the blurb
As money for fully paid staff is an increasing luxury, and as the church is seemingly in increasing decline, how can we faithfully re-imagine church leadership and ministry today? And what would an authentic model of leadership look like today in a society where suspicion of hierarchy and of institutions is increasing? What does it mean to be ordained leader and be lay leader? And are these terms even useful today?
and on nov 3 Emerging and Fresh Expressions of the Catholic and/or Contemplative traditions - book here
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