|Greenbelt - day 2|
|Sunday, 26 August 2012 08:34|
Throughout the day's activities, flitting between the plethora of venues, subjects and styles, you're struck again and again that this festival wants to make a difference -
Jonathan Langley reports from day 2 of Greenbelt. Read day 1 here.
The only downside to British Summer festivals is that they take place in the British Summer. They can be terrifying. You wake up at dawn and realise you're paralysed, drenched in sweat and praying fervently for healing from the sudden onset of blindness and deafness. Earplugs removed, airline eye-shield lifted up and reluctant prayers of gratitude offered to God (with the suspicion he was cheating), you realise that your paralysis and sweating are the result of wrapping yourself in 12 layers of clothing in the night as you fight off hypothermia. The tent is now a sauna. You swear, through the haze, that you can see naked Swedish men in towels. It's a troubling experience.
What follows waking on day two at Greenbelt is a series of promises: Right. This year it will be different. This year I will not waste opportunities. I'm awake, I have plenty of time. I will get up, dressed and abluted in time to head down to the Big Top to see the Rend Collective Experiment morning worship concert at 9am. I will not have Greenbelt regret. I will carpe the hell out of this diem.
The next three hours are spent crawling on the tent floor, looking for clothes that seem to have been stolen by those Swedish men; crouching half-naked trying to have a 'bath' with wet-wipes; falling down; crouching with half your pants on praying you're not casting a shadow on the canvas; falling down again; lying down for a bit; boiling water; making coffee; making a beans-oriented breakfast and waiting for the rain to stop long enough to make a dash to the portaloos.
They are, as always at Greenbelt, lovely. You give thanks. You hear the pleasant strains of Rend Collective wafting on the wind and you have a little pray.
By the time you take a golf-cart taxi down to the site, braving the judgement of pedestrians you pass, you are fairly sure you will make it to see John Polkinghorne at 12:30 in the massive Centaur venue.
You are, of course, late. It doesn't matter. You lie down on the carpeted floor with the others who've spread themselves out and spend a pleasant hour listening to a frighteningly smart man explaining the physics of resurrection and the renewed creation. When you walked in, it was sunny.
You didn't bring your umbrella. When you walk out, it is hailing. You fully expect frogs and the death of the first-born.
When you head down to hear Frank Skinner, you're given pause by the stories you hear on the way. People warn of knee-deep water and stewards with a flinty look in their eyes and orders not to admit any more people. Burly bikers turn back in favour of watching Opera in the Centaur. Vietnam veterans weep. Short people actually drown. And yet, the vibe remains good.
Skinner is hilarious, apparently, and in covered venues across the site people are catching up with old friends or making new ones. The only truly heart-rending sight is a lone man on one of the smaller stages, playing his heart out on guitar and singing like a brave little soldier to a saintly audience of two as the heavens pour out their wet wrath.
Throughout the day's activities, flitting between the plethora of venues, subjects and styles, you're struck again and again that this festival wants to make a difference. To make the world better. Charities, speakers, bands, even journalists. It brings a tear to the eye. Although that may well be residual rain.
Saturday night's programme features Asian Dub Foundation and Charlie 'Busted' Simpson, for those that way inclined, Get Up Stand Up provides some giggles and at 11:30 the familiar favourite of black-clad regulars, Goth Eucharist takes place. But the majority of people seem keen to hit the Jesus Arms pub space. That erstwhile drinking institution is likely to be fuller than a pair of trainers on a first-time festival-goer.
Time to go.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 26 August 2012 12:44|
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