Amelia’s Magazine | Wood Festival 2011: a special preview interview with founder Robin Bennett

Wood Festival  Relax

Wood Festival is mere weeks away, sale so what better opportunity to catch up with one of the founders? I asked Robin what inspired him to create this fabulous boutique festival, check and why being sustainable is so very important to him.

Wood Festival tent

What initially inspired you to start Wood Festival and what were your goals in putting it together?
I have a life-long interest in environmental issues, and the relationship of these to festivals was brought home when freak floods caused the postponement of Truck Festival in July 2007, flooding the village of Steventon and my parents’ house too. While these floods may or may not be to do with global warming, it did make us think. We also thought that if we ran some more events we’d be less susceptible to such ‘acts of God’, and for our first new event, Wood, we thought it would be good to make it an example, even the greenest event in the country (though there are some other very fine contenders for that crown).

Woodfest Portable+Solar+Generators

It has been awarded Gold standard by A Greener Festival and Industry Green 2*, and we’re shortlisted for the Music Week Green Business award, so we are getting there. I also had a newborn son and wanted to create an event that was suitable for small children and families, which certainly has become the case, as children nearly outnumber adults at Wood! Our new company which has run the events since 2007, Truck Enterprises, has a mission: “to build community through music and the arts”, and that’s what we try to do.

YouTube Preview Image
2007: Year of the Flood.

How do you manage to run so many events, and your own shop?
I’m not sure if manage is the word, it’s more like juggling hot potatoes, even on-fire potatoes… the idea is they form part of a greater whole, and make out lives more balanced. They certainly make a lot of work! we have some quite efficient methods and systems, but then we try to work individually with the community around each event, which means there are no short cuts. For example, Wood is held at a community living experiment/eco-village called Braziers Park. The shop – Truck Store – is run day-to-day by our friends from Rapture, an independent record store in Witney, a Cotswold market town. My brother works in there to keep things family. There are many Bennetts involved in the Truck Enterprises team… maybe that explains it!

A documentary about Wood Festival made in 2009.

Can you tell us more about the Truck shop – what is special about it and what can people find there? if people don’t live in Oxford where can they tap into your offerings?
Truck Store is a shop, and also a hub for the Oxford music community – it has great big windows, tables and chairs for those who just want to read a magazine, and a stage for live music events such as Record Store Day. It sells loads of vinyl, the best new CD releases, comics, DVDs, festival tickets, and even cuddly Truck monsters. It’s also an all-year base for all things Truck and a chance to say hello. You can always find interesting, helpful and unusual music advice from the staff that is more personalised than you might get on the internet. It’s close to the Oxford Tube (St Clements) stop so no excuse not to visit from London. It has a facebook page and twitter but not yet a website. The events have websites – and

Wood festival Street

What was your highlight of Wood last year?
Seeing the Make Your Own DIY Wormeries workshop sell out – if that’s the term. Who knew so many people wanted to make their own wormery? In fact, the children’s Sunday morning fancy dress parade is always a highlight and taps into some strange pagan instinct…

Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou playing The Allotment Song at Wood Festival 2009 in a pedal-powered tent from Magnificent Revolution.

Why is sustainability so important to you? is it something you’ve grown up with, or that you have found over the years?
I was aware of the issue from the age of 5 or 6… picketed Macdonald’s at age 10, etc, so it goes back a way. I was lucky as a child to be able to roam freely in the woods and see farming conditions first hand, an opportunity many children now don’t have. I became aware of the importance of education on the subject after being a trustee of a charity called Siren which worked on conservation education, hence there is a great emphasis on that at Wood. Really, sustainability is important for all of us – it’s hard to actually be opposed to it! Having child(ren) certainly reminds you that the world must be left in as good a state as it can be. As a dominant species, it’s our responsibility.

Wood Festival child

What are your current hot tips for the festival season?
Bell tents, at least, I’d like one. Dreaming Spires, my band, will be at some festivals. We will try to be hot. Gaggle are appearing at Truck and sound quite novel, a choir of indie opera singers. Mama Rosin, at Wood, are a Swiss Cajun band. What is that? Come find out.

Cat Martino dancing to Dreaming Spires in Truck America
Cat Martino dancing to Dreaming Spires in Truck America.

Just Can’t Keep This Feeling In by Dreaming Spires.

Why should people come to Wood this year?
It’s a special experience – where else can you make your own musical instrument from vegetables, or go foraging in the woods for food? *NB, we have normal food too.

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to get to Wood. Here’s my full listing here.

Categories ,2011, ,A Greener Festival, ,Award, ,Brazier’s Park, ,Cat Martino, ,charity, ,Dreaming Spires, ,gaggle, ,Green Business, ,Just Can’t Keep This Feeling In, ,Macdonald’s, ,Magnificent Revolution, ,Mama Rosin, ,Music Week, ,MusicWeek, ,Rapture, ,Record Store Day, ,Robin Bennett, ,Siren, ,Steventon, ,sustainable, ,Swiss Cajun, ,The Allotment Song, ,Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou, ,Truck America, ,Truck Enterprises, ,Truck Festival, ,Truck Store, ,Vinyl, ,Witney, ,Wood Festival, ,Wormeries

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listing

You know those rainy afternoons when you sit indoors, dosage information pills flicking through the pages of any number of trashy magazines and getting suddenly, order inexplicably excited at the idea of fashion? Or, try more accurately, at the idea of brilliant style. It’s enough to make you want to plunge head first into the glossy pages and never return. That’s the effect it has on me, anyway. I trace my fingers around the outline of a beautiful silk bolero, sigh wistfully over the idea of a chunky knotted belt and a chiffon dress. ‘If only,’ I think ‘if only I could own all of these things, perhaps then my life would be complete’ (did I mention that I also have a mild tendency towards hyperbolic exaggeration?)

In the cold light of day, of course, I would not be more complete with these things, what I would actually be is more like everybody else. It is so rare that I find something that isn’t run-of-the-mill, that when I do I feel it my duty to shout about it from the rooftops. Only I heard rooftops were dangerous, so I decided to use Amelia’s blog instead.

Projects Design Wear is a perfect little gem nestled in the heart of Nottingham city centre among the style-seekers and just left of the cool kids. For years this little boutique has been charming all and it’s not just because of the effervescent mixture of clothing. Walking into Projects is like being folded into an enormous bear-hug by a large and much-loved Uncle. Their staff are friendly, remember who you are and are always on hand to personal-shop for you until one of you drops.


Settled in amongst the dark wood furnishings and lashings of vibrant paint is a sartorial feast for men and women alike. The first floor houses menswear. If you like bright colours and bold statements, ask for House of Gods and !Solid t-shirts. If casual with a twist is more your style, then you’ll be happy to pore over the offerings from Raygun. And an absolute must is their selection of denim. Now, I’m not a man, but I know some, and I have been shopping with a few. I know how maddening guys find it searching for individual jeans. Made out of proper denim, and in proper denim washes, Projects’ selection is perfect for boys who don’t want a tag on their arse, but still want their togs durable and fashionable. What more could you ask?


Well, you could ask for another floor, laden with women’s clothing so pretty you could cry. Lovely changing rooms with real curtains (none of this fabric-not-quite-meeting-cubicle tosh) are waited on by lovely ladies. Stock ranges from cute cardigans to chic evening wear and takes in everything in between as well. There are printed t-shirts and slouchy knits from Numph and high-end gloss from Naughty (check out the black sheen dress). There are these things sitting happily alongside the sort of effortlessly elegant dresses that you always see on other people and can never actually find for yourself. I found them, and I am bequeathing them to you.

Not only this, but there is (be still my beating heart) a glorious range of jewellery. Not just any jewellery mind, but pieces from none other than her majesty; Vivienne Westwood. A rare find indeed among the usual gaggle of costume pieces, and a fine way to top an otherwise genius little store. Ladies must also be sure to check out the selection of men’s scarves downstairs. I have several, and I love them all, equally.

is not only a clothes shop, it is also a platform for new talent, happily selling for local designers, like Bantum (the I Love Notts t-shirts continue to fly of the shelves). It is this commitment to innovation and this willingness to give a leg-up to emerging new talent that has planted the shop firmly in the hard hearts of all of us Midlanders. I offer wild applause to Projects for its unique take on fashion and for delivering what we all secretly want: simple, affordable, wonderful clothes that not everybody else will have. And when recession looms, it’s ever-more important to invest in the interesting, independent places.

Images courtesy of Projects Design Wear
Have a greener Christmas!

Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd November

side effects +Bargehouse+Street%E2%80%A8+South+Bank, malady +%E2%80%A8London, this +SE1+9PH&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=44.60973,74.794922&ie=UTF8&z=16″target=”_blank”>Bargehouse, ?Oxo Tower Wharf?, Bargehouse Street? South Bank, ?London, SE1 9PH

11am – 7pm
?Entry £1: Kids go free!


Not feeling particularly Christmassy just yet? A visit to the Bargehouse this weekend may change all that…With three floors boasting over forty stalls, the Ethical Christmas Emporium will include the likes of Divine Chocolate, RSPB, Shared Earth, Zaytoun, The World Music Network, Malika, Jump 4 Timbuktu, Earthscan Publishing, Pants to Poverty, Planet Silver Chilli, Manumit and The Hemp Trading Company. The event will bring together the very best in Fairtrade, ethical, sustainable and environmental gift ideas around!

Enjoying this magical time of year can be wonderfully eco-friendly; Shopping here not only provides an escape from the busy high streets, but the secure knowledge that every stall is working under a Fairtrade ethos, making sure producers around the world all have something to celebrate this Christmas.
The atmosphere is lovely, and everyone seems to be smiling as the event opens on the Thursday. Discounts are available as many stalls have cut their prices specially for this event.


Shopping is not the only thing on the agenda at this event, a local Youth Club Choir from Ghana will be entertaining the crowds via live satellite link-up. Kids entry is free and while there they can enjoy lots of specially created activities- Green Santa will be there too to spread some ethical Christmas joy! Grown ups will also be able to delight in food tasting, films, informative talks, music and much more…

The Ethical Christmas Emporium is being hosted by Hand Up Media , the ethical publishing & media company which promotes Fair Trade and ethical lifestyle issues in a positive, stylish and empowering way to consumers across the UK and beyond.

The Oxo Tower Wharf


Monday 24th November
Anything that makes the art world seem a little more accessible is always nice, cure and an open-submission painting competition is one such an opportunity. The Marmite Prize for Painting is a biannual exhibition at Studio 1.1 in East London. Perhaps you’ve entered yourself, or you’d like to get a glance at some of the entries before the winners are selected. The exhibition opens today and runs until the end of the week.

Tuesday 25th November
There will be dancing, there will be porcelain deer skulls, and there will be bird houses, a hundred of them in fact. The Wapping Project, a Hydraulic Power Station turned multi-purpose exhibition space that now hosts an exploration on the social and cultural phenomenon of the British Season. Turning the Season will run until the 28th of February, and it’s free.

Wednesday 26th November

You know how there’s always a kid in a film who’s Lego creations far out-strip the usual tower blocks of most children, well James Johnson-Perkins was certainly one such child, “I spent my whole life building imaginary universes with children’s building blocks”. At EXHIBIT until the 28th of December, he presents his solo show, 50 Robots. Come and see what one man can do with 2,800 construction blocks. Free.

Thursday 27th November
Starting today, a group show put together by Stella Dore begins in their new gallery space at 42 Rivington Street, featuring the artists on their roster. It’s between 6 and 9 pm, and it’s called ‘Make-Over”.

Friday 28th November

The Guardian has named him “Britain’s greatest cultural asset”, and after some 12 years of “painting on the doll”, amongst many other things, there’s no end to the volume work to show for this artist/author/poet/film-maker/singer and guitarist, phew! If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about Billy Childish. Heroes of the British Art Resistance runs until the 23rd of December at the Aquarium L-13.

Saturday 29th November

The You Me Bum Bum Train – like nothing you’ve experienced!
If you try to describe this to someone (which you shouldn’t, don’t give anything away), you will sound like you are drawing from memory a nonsensical and fantastical dream, not something remotely tangible that could have actually happened in a 25 minute journey through a Shorditch warehouse. Reality is turned upside down as you are wheeled (as the sole participant) through fifteen distinct interactive scenarios, where over 70 artists act out micro-performances, leaving you to get as involved as you much as feel compelled to. “Designed to mentally and visually astound”, check, “leaving you overwhelmed and exhilarated” check, and check, and finishing the ride “in a totally different emotional state from the one you were in when you embarked on the journey”, most definitely true. It’s fifteen pound price is money well spent, and it runs every Saturday until the 20th of December. Go!

Sunday 30th November

Behind the Shutters – muTATE Britain
The Shutters were lifted this Thursday to the three story disused warehouse that is the largest non-corporate exhibition space in London. With Mutoid Waste taking the ground floor, I got my first whiff of nostalgia for muddy fields (Trash City at Glastonbury), a sentiment of bubbling creativity that runs through the entire event. It’s a multi-media circus, lots of interactive art, and it’s set to change every week through it’s lifespan. This weekend the theme is “Deface Value”, featuring the likes of Tracy Emin and David Cameron alike (yup, the Conservative leader). It opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 1.30 and 10 pm.

‘The House of Books Has No Windows’, this site a touring exhibition by Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller kicked off at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh- now on at Modern Art Oxford– is an apt title for a show in this most literary of cities. The eponymous installation is a wendy house made from an array of books, this from novels to travel guides. Climbing inside feels safe, like entering a childhood den, and evocatively musty yet also claustrophobic and imposing.

The other six installations in the show see the pair entwine sound and movement. ‘The Dark Pool’, the couple’s first project together back in 1995, is a ramshackle room of seemingly disparate objects and speakers pouring out snatches of conversation. From this wellspring of vintage clothes, tattered books, old records, tea leaves and wax hands, a creeping sense of tension emanates; a pregnancy in the air as if something has happened or is about to. The pivot of the piece is a leather trunk, in which a scene has been constructed with miniature plastic model figures. They stand looking into a dark pool, a car lies abandoned while miniature lights twinkle overhead.

‘The Dark Pool’ anaesthetises you from looking for concrete connections between the objects and sounds in the room. Strands of meaning do coalesce and emerge, nudged along by snatches of conversation and the physical ephemera but, like an abstract poem, the whole hangs together without needing to be fully explained.

The Killing Machine
Partly this stems from duo’s ability to make the viewer suspend disbelief. This is repeated, most devastatingly, in ‘The Killing Machine’ (2007); a Kafka-inspired, kitschly sinister torture chamber, where robotic arms move as elegantly as long-necked birds, prodding and poking a dentists chair covered in pink fur, all sound tracked by screeching electric guitars. Again this bizarre scenario hangs together completely. The audience (mostly…) seemed to accept it on its own terms, becoming compelled by a murky narrative that so easily could have just baffled.

The less successful installations are the more explained ones. The slide show ‘Road Trip’(2004) for example, rambles without the sense of magic or theatre of other scenarios.
Opera for Small Room
One installation on its own justifies a visit. ‘Opera for a Small Room’(2008), a shed piled high with records and lights that synchronise to a chopped up soundtrack which covers everything from wolves howling to a full blown rock opera. It is the couple’s most recent work and sees them continue to generate the mysterious wonder that characterises the best of their earlier work.

Written by Priya Umachandran


If you’re planning on going to any of these events, sales or have something you want to write an article about for the Earth Blog, email us at!


How Do We Get Back to Climate Safety?
27th November, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston.
“No screaming, no panic, no doom, no gloom. Just a short and simple summary of the latest climate science followed by a discussion of what we’re going to do about it. “Climate Safety” warns that even our current policy response, a commitment to 80% carbon cuts by 2050, does not match up to the scale of the challenge. Join us to discuss finding a way to get beyond “politics-as-usual” and achieve a full, emergency response.”
The current state of our climate demands an exceptional degree of seriousness. The Climate Safety report reiterates that to maintain a safe climate we have to rapidly change our thinking and actions as a society.
The ‘Climate Safety’ report gives a simple summary of the latest science, delivering a clear message that to have any chance of maintaining a safe climate, we must rapidly decarbonise our society, preserve global sinks, and address the problem with an unprecedented degree of seriousness.
Speakers will be: Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot, Jeremy Leggett, Kevin Anderson, Leila Deen and Tim Helweg-Larsen; there to discuss finding a way to go beyond “politics-as-usual” and achieve a full, emergency response.



Protester on top of the e.on building

48hrs of Action Against E.ON
Friday 28th and Saturday 29th November 2008
By 2050, the UK Government hopes to have reduced carbon emissions by 80%…
Forty-two years is a long way off and Climate Camp want to act NOW against e.on and new coal! Join them in saying NO to new coal: get your friends together and plan an action for your area. Climate Camp suggest stickering, blockading, serving direct action warning notices at supply chain premises, organising awareness-raising talks, banners and much more! They need you to get creative on the streets and the options are endless!


For a day of marching and festivities in the name of climate change meet at the piazza at 12pm. 1st stop: E.ON’s Headquarters (about a half hour march). Once there there’ll be loads going on including…a ‘Catch the Carbon’ competition, drumming workshop, and a visual show of the effects climate change is already having on our world.
For the facebook page click here

E.ON vs. Greenwash Guerillas

Meet up in Trafalgar Square at 8.00am to head down to E.ON’s
London office at 100 Pall Mall and show E.ON their greenwash won’t wash.
All inventive greenwash actions welcome!

World Development Movement Kids Demo at E.ON
Friday 28th November 11.00am, 100 Pall Mall, near Trafalgar Square
As part of 48 hours of action against E.ON – the energy giant who are planning to build the UK’s first new coal-fired power station in 20 years, at Kingsnorth in Kent; WDM are inviting children along to say ‘E.ON, don’t destroy our future’ by making a giant banner of ‘carbon footprints’ to symbolise the future generations around the world whose lives and homes will be devastated by climate destruction. The emissions from Kingsnorth alone could result in 30,000 people becoming climate change refugees.
Joining activists across the country by taking action on this day, WDM will meet in Trafalgar Square at 10am for the children to add their footprints to the banner, then take our footprints to a ‘No new coal’ protest outside E.ON’s London offices in Pall Mall.
Please come along with your children and participate, and let E.ON know we won’t stand for any new climate-wrecking coal power stations, at Kingsnorth or anywhere else!


Stop Coal Sticker Rush

Keep the pressure up on E.ON by spreading the word and putting up some
E.ON F.OFF & Stop Coal stickers – you can get them from the Coal Hole
(91-92 Strand, WC2R 0DW) from 1pm-3pm on Saturday.

Spoof E.on Recruitment Stall

Go to RBS, 5 Queen Street, Norwich to ‘sign up’ to E.ON’s payroll!
Time – 12noon-2pm


Stop Kingsnorth, Climate Camp Summer 2008

Climate Camp 2008
Meetings Every Tuesday
The London Climate Camp Group meet every Tuesday evening at 7pm, in association with the SOAS Green Society, at:
Room V301, Vernon Square Campus
School of Oriental and African Studies
Penton Rise
London WC1X 9EW
Nearest tube King’s Cross

Also join the Climate Camp 08 weekly e-bulletin:
Send a blank email to
This is the best way to keep up to date on what’s going on in London with a single email a week!

Blythe Hill Fields, Lewisham, London SE23
Sunday 30 November 2008, 11.00am
Friends of Blythe Hill Fields has been successful in their bid to the Tree Council for the financial support needed to increase the stock of trees in the Fields. This project involves planting 9 native trees.
Please wear clothing appropriate for the weather.
for more info please visit

Monday 24th November

The Shortwave Set, 93 Feet East


Catch this self-proclaimed ‘Victorian funk’ act performing songs from their recent album, including the single ‘Glitches and Bugs’ heard everywhere around and about for the past few weeks. Expect plentiful samples and broken instruments.

Shearwater, Komedia, Brighton

Ethereal art rock sounds from Austin, Texas based around the life of Nico to ease you into the week.

Florence and the Machine, Pure Groove Records

Free in-store performance from everybody’s favourite angel-voiced, devil-lyriced singer.

Tuesday 25th November

Chairlift, Swimming, Ark People, White Heat Madame JoJos


Atmospheric synth pop from Chairlift, definitely worth catching if you can.

George Pringle, Young Fathers, The Social

Hotly tipped Scottish rap act (yes you did read that right) Young Fathers play fun party songs.

I’m From Barcelona, Scala,

Confusingly not from Barcelona, this Scando troupe should brighten up your November evening.

Wednesday 26th November

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Barfly

Summery Danish pop performed with a brass section.

Guillemots, Barbican,

Verging on hysterical indie pop with an intelligent edge.

Jarvis Cocker, Shepherds Bush Empire

Ex-Pulp frontman sings in his new grumpy middle-aged persona.

Thursday 27th November

Ida Maria, Scala


Night of the Scandinavian songstresses with Norwegian Ida Maria in London and Lykke Li at the Academy 3 in Manchester

Plugs, Two Door Cinema Club, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, Moshi Moshi, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen

Record label’s new bands night, with an eclectic mix of musical styles being showcased.

Friday 28th November

MGMT, Shepherds Bush Empire


Band of the year.

Greg Weeks, Hare and Hound, Birmingham

Introspective singer-songwriter, frontman of psych-pop band Espers.

Flashguns, Priory, Doncaster

Young heavily new wave influenced Brighton/London band.

Saturday 29th November

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Joe Gideon and the Shark, The Troxy


The sexiest goth dad in the world with his trusty Bad Seeds. Support from up and coming brother sister duo.

Sunday 30th November

The Handsome Family, Half Moon, Herne Hill


Creepy folk tales from oddball husband and wife musicians.

Ten Kens, Nice N’ Sleazys, Glasgow

First UK outing for Toronto band. Describing themselves as Sonic Youth meets Liars meets Arcade Fire meets Black Sabbath this could be the best thing ever. Or they could be terrible liars..

Categories ,Ark People, ,Brighton, ,Flashguns, ,Florence and the Machine, ,Greg Weeks, ,Guillemots, ,I’m From Barcelona, ,Ida Maria, ,Jarvis Cocker, ,Joe Gideon and the Shark, ,Listings, ,Lykke Li, ,MGMT, ,Music, ,Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, ,Shearwater, ,Ten Kens, ,The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, ,The Handsome Family, ,The Shortwave Set, ,The Voluntary Butler Scheme, ,Two Door Cinema Club

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