Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Review: Shambala 2010

Site and house

Shambala 2010

The costumes have been returned to their dressing up boxes; the mud has dried out and been brushed from the boots; newly-learned dance workshop moves have become vague; reality has crept back into view… The Shambala Festival has packed itself away for another year – and, cialis 40mg my oh my, health what an incredible time it was.

Shambala is a 3-day voyage of discovery. Yes, there’s a programme – and an impressive one at that – featuring acts and activities as diverse as chant-arousing Dizraeli & The Small Gods on the main Shambala stage, the jaw-dropping Cirque de Freq in the Kamikaze tent, min-beast safaris in the Permaculture garden and the Cock Drawing Club in the Random Workshop Tent. But the most magical Shambala experience is a haphazard one, in which the clocks stop and the concept of time is snubbed as punters follow their ears, noses and tapping toes into the most thrilling and unexpected of entertainments.

The Compass House of Lunacy
Noémie Ducimetière creeps out The Compass House of Lunacy

Wandering Word
Poet Rosie Carrick in the Wandering Word yurt

Bewitching bewilderment was the lifeblood of the Compass House of Lunacy, in which the ghosts of French songstresses (Noémie Ducimetière) and high-kicking, be-corseted madams ruled the stage. Just around the corner, the Wandering Word yurt beckoned dazed punters into its cosy folds to have their ears tickled by pirate poets and their imaginations led through eerie worlds summoned by storytelling eccentrics.

Shambala parade

Shambala parade_Picture Frames

Shambala Parade_Gorilla

After Friday’s inaugural explorations and familiarisations, on Saturday Shambala donned its gladrags and revelled in magnificent peculiarities and with newfound friends. For Saturday was the festival’s official fancy dress day (not that that prevented costumes from coming out to play all weekend…), and was topped by the spectacular Shambala parade.

Permaculture Garden

Shambala crazy golf

Shambala blows: Getting down with the didgeridoo

Peeping over the debauched brow of Saturday night, Shambala’s Sunday air was thick with drowsiness as the festival rubbed the night before from its eyes, picking up lost wellies, rogue headdress feathers and the first few threads of the real world. It was on Sunday that the Healing Area really came into its own, offering to knead the weariness from revellers’ muscles, revive their vocal chords in the Music & Voice workshops and fix them a jolly good old cup of chai to nestle between their crossed legs as they flanked the crackling camp fire.

Shambala dragon

Site and house

So, there’s a whole year until Shambala returns. Will it be the same? Of course not, and that’s exactly why we’ll love it. Expect the unexpected – and in the meantime keep the Shambala spirit of discovery alive by forgetting your watch every once in a while…

Categories ,Chail Wallahs, ,Circus, ,Dizraeli & the Small Gods, ,festival, ,Noémie Ducimetière, ,permaculture, ,Shambala, ,The Compass House of Lunacy, ,Wandering Word, ,workshops

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Amelia’s Magazine | Shambala Festival: 26th-30th August 2010

Shambala 2010: Hop to it

Cowboys galloping down the hall on ‘neeeiigh’ing broomstick steeds; Thundercats high-kicking in shrunken primary colour pyjama sets and felt-tip pen facepaints; Ewok hunters on a mission through Endor, visit branch spears brandished and costume jewellery jangling… Every time my brother and I emerged from our childhood dressing up box, look we did so as reborn beings – sometimes scaled, visit this site othertimes boasting barnets naively shorn by blunt Crayola scissors, and always adding to our mother’s list of rushed patch-up jobs. Remove teaspoon antennas from balaclava; scrub ink-stained cheeks; clip son’s whole head.

Gabby Young and Other Animals. Image: Joseph Lee

For hours we rampaged in our otherworldly guises, worries of school tests superseded by raw terror of the giant ape hot on our heels (our dad’s friend Ted also enjoyed dressing up. His repertoire included a gorilla suit) or the snapping alligator circling expectantly beneath the plank some called the kitchen table.

Shambala 2010

And one day the lid of the dressing up box was lowered, unceremoniously, for what turned out to be the final time. Ewoks, indians, aliens, mermaids and imaginative hybrids of all of the above played out their death-defying scenes in the dark innards of boxes – not just ours, but Halkirk’s and Halifax’s, Ramsgate’s and Rhyl’s – as cracks crept through their parched facepaint palettes and the first fine layers of dust settled on their lids.

Shambala 2010

But whispers of a weekend are heard on the wind; a weekend for which hands rub dust from the tops of forgotten chests that yawn wide to reveal feathers and sparkles and wooden swords of old; a weekend that brings badass bass and acoustic amazements together with knife-throwing, tea dances and wondering wordsmiths. It’s peopled by the curious, the creative and the downright cuckoo; its tents bear the names of The Lost Picture Show, The Compass of Lunacy and Twist & Spout; it’s powered by wind, water and waste cooking oil – and it’s called Shambala.

Alejandro Toledo and the Magic Tombolinos

Shambala 2010

In a secret location somewhere in Northamptonshire, the Shambala festival bubble will emerge on Thursday 26th August – filled with spectacular and outlandish music, games, adventures and theatre – and will pop for another year on Monday 30th. Location details are known to ticketholders alone – and to be one, you’ll need to sign your August Bank Holiday weekend (and perhaps a little drop of sanity) away via the Shambala website. And, of course, hope that you can still wriggle into that old matching pyjama set…

Categories ,art, ,August Bank Holiday, ,Fancy Dress, ,festival, ,Gabby Young and Other Animals, ,Mayhem, ,music, ,Northampton, ,Shambala, ,theatre

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