Fourteen years ago I picked up my GCSE results, walked back down the hill from the top site hall to my house, picked up my bag, piled into a car and was driven, by Mum, to Towersey Village Festival.
I didn’t know that I would be attending 12 of the following 14 years’ festivals, nor that I would remain camping with the same kind people who feed me and give me a chair to sit in and a gazebo to be sheltered by. I didn’t know that people from that festival would inspire me to study their music at university or trust me to be involved in the behind the scenes workings.
I am currently sitting in Brackley library, shouting distance from that same school hall, having just returned from the 50th Towersey Festival, having been dropped off by the lady who was once the ten year old girl camping with me and would run around saying “My granddad started this festival and my uncle runs it” in an attempt to get free donuts from the hot donut guy selling them from the van on Site 1.
I’m so pleased that I was able to go this year – it was always the plan, had I been to the US and Iceland I would have flown back in time for the festival – it really was a fantastic event and I’m proud to have been a part of it in a small way. I’ve been working as an artist liaison in exchange for a ticket and running around between the two sites and the village venues. I’m not going to pretend my job was particularly important in any way, I basically carry water and ask if everything is OK before heading off to the next place, but it allowed me entry to the festival and that allowed me to see some great performers doing what they do best.
Highlights for me include:
Emily explaining through a haze of alcohol the thought process that went through her head whilst watching Seth Lakeman from the side of the stage. (I could just run up those steps, shout Ebola Ebola and rugby tackle him on stage before dragging him off and snogging him)
Throwing out golden balloons at the Venue 65 festival finale
Drawing henna on a little girl in the ceilidh tent because she had hurt her foot and couldn’t join in with the dancing
Jumping up and down with Hamish on my shoulders as the Glorystrokes rocked the dance tent
Visiting the Towersey Folk Club, hosted by Bob and Gill Berry for the last 30 years, and singing a little song
Watching the world premier of the Nancy Kerr Sweet Visitor Band (complete with bunting)
Hearing Denis Manners singing Ale Ale at the birthday celebration through the magic of recordings
The tent city singing Bohemian Rhapsody, Proud Mary and Pompeii (and many, many others) very late in the cap site (sorry site 2)
Hearing the Wilson Family again
Having a chat in a very, very soggy campsite with Chris Coe
Seeing Jenny, over on a visit from Hong Kong
Spending time with various Australians
Singing a song for the Manners family on the open stage
And many others that I’m probably too tired to remember right now.
But as Joe Heap said in his closing speech, it really is the people who make Towersey what it is and even if it’s a bit different next year, i’m sure it will be just as great.
More photos are on Flickr.