I spent my bank holiday weekend at Greenbelt Festival, in the grounds of Boughton Estate in Northampton. The weather was glorious, the company was great and I have a list of acts and things I took part in that were so good and you should check out.
1. La Chiva Gantiva
La Chiva Gantiva were really really fun. Formed in Brussels by 3 Colombian immigrants, the band is super high energy with music you can’t help but dance to. I couldn’t stop the entire set, and was exhausted by the end. But no-one in the band flagged, and even when we met them afterwards, they were still up and going. And so so lovely.
2. Toby Campion
At a spoken word event hosted by Harry Baker, several great poets performed – Erin Bolens, Bridget Minamore, Gecko and Toby Campion. As you can probably guess from the title of this section, I’m gonna talk about Toby, but you should check the others out too. Because who doesn’t need more poetry in their life?
Toby came on and performed a drunk love poem about a chance meeting abroad, about meeting someone called Marcus. I can’t deny that LGBT content always has me paying a little more attention, because as a queer woman, I’m alway looking for representation and community. And the poem was also well written and highly enjoyable.
Following the poem about Marcus, came a poem about imagining your ex in twenty years time that expressed feelings about the homophobia still riven through our society that I don’t know whether I could put into words. And then a poem about the Orlando shooting at Pulse nightclub, which had me in tears.
To end, Toby weighed in on the great debate of whether the Midlands is in the North or the South, reminding everyone that the Midlands is it’s own unique entity. At Uni this was well worn terrority, and this poem rings true with all the things I wanted to say about being from the Midlands. All in all, every poem Toby performed rang true to me, and if you’ve got the chance to go see him, I would really, highly reccommend it.
3. Harry and Chris
Bringing their second Edinburgh fringe show to the stage, Harry and Chris were just as enjoyable as last year. I was a little disappointed that most of the songs I’d heard before, but I have been following their YouTube channel closely so it’s not too much of a surprise. Besides, hearing people live is always good. They’re touring now so you can catch them in a town hopefully vaguely near you.
This year, in addition to all their usual areas (The Canopy, The Big Top, The Playhouse to name a few), Greenbelt had The Red Tent – a space for those people who identify as women. While some talks were open to all genders, for the most part over the weekend, it was a female only space.
One of the events was Herstory by Alice Wroe. Firstly, Alice gave a talk about the importance of finding women in history, reasons why we often can’t find women in history with the way we think about the past at the moment, and what the Herstory project is. Alice is a really engaging speaker, and I left with a lot to think about, particuarly about why, when I’ve questioned the lack of women in history books, I haven’t gone looking for them.
The second event was taking part in the Herstory project, where you are invited to recreate Judy Chicago’s art work, ‘The Dinner Party’. An important piece of feminist art from the 1970s, it remembers and celebrates women from history. At the Herstory event, you are invited to explore the story of a woman from history, to assemble her story in your voice and to present it back to those gathered as if you are her. Not only does it mean you learn about several women who you might never have heard of before, but you celebrate and support each other.
Both Herstory events were incredible, and if you ever get the chance to go to one, I would highly reccommend it. It’s left me trying to find the women in the history of the places I go to and the things I take part in, and not just accepting that history is always men because that’s the narrative we’re so often told.
All of the people mentioned above were really great, and I loved seeing all of them. If you get the chance to see any of them, I hope you have a great time. Let me know what you think.
I paid in full for my ticket to Greenbelt and no-one has asked for my opinion on any aspect of it, never mind asking for a list of my favourite bits. I just really enjoyed the people listed above.