Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sunday 6th September 09 YORK GREEN FESTIVAL

Up at 7am so I could get to Rowntree Park by soon after 8 to get ready for one of the most important dates of my year, York Green Festival. I took my bike trailer and panniers full of toilet rolls, 50m of electric cable on a roll, dried apple for the LETS stall, my Professor Fiddlesticks hat and a bag of modelling balloons and some used but reusable bin bags which I felt would probably come in useful at the end of the event.

I wasn't the first on site, and several of the marquees and gazebos had already been put up the previous day. My role was to hover around the Terry Avenue entrance and direct people coming into the park to set up stalls to the right place. I also did quite a bit of running around getting bits and pieces and 'gophering', either on foot or on my bike.

11am, the start time, came all too soon. There were still a couple of cars on the main field which I had to usher to the parking area, and there were various stalls which hadn't read the literature we provided and hadn't brought a table, and were therefore asking if we could provide them with one. We had problems getting the park keeper on the radio to see if he had a spare table in his building, but we did manage to get everybody sorted out. When the first band went on, I cycled round to the other side of the river, via the Millennium Bridge, to listen from near the potential sources of complaints. As I was listening to the band, a couple of boats passed and their sound was louder than what was going on in the park. I wrote down what I had heard, when and where.

As I cycled back into the park I became aware that the sun was out! Whoopee! A much better day than YGF08, when early in the afternoon it began to rain and gradually got worse and worse. Today the weather was really good, with a bit of a breeze, occasional sunshine and periods of being overcast... but the rain didn't start til about 5pm when we were due to finish.

As I was busy the time went quickly. I was really happy to see Gill and the boys; there was some doubt that they would make it as school starts tomorrow and there is still homework to be finished. I took a few minutes to sit down and have one of Azra's curries, with her homegrown potatoes, carrots and runner beans. This came with fair trade rice and a green lentil dahl. It was delicious.

At about 1.30 I asked Rory Motion to do an announcement between bands and say that I was going to do some balloon animals in kids area, and I had my silly hat on and blew one up and made a very quick elephant, giving it to one of the children in front of the stage. I then made my way to the kids area and did about 30 minutes of balloon model giveaways.

Then I did more soundchecks, one in the residential areas to the West of the park, where the main stage was pointing to, and another on the other side of the river when Thatcher's Bush were playing... perhaps a bit too loudly, and my radio message got them turned down a bit.

Quite late, maybe 4pm, Ali and her entourage turned up... a carer, a friend and her little daughter, and Ali's enthusiastic and excited daughter. Seize the Day were just starting... they are absolutely brilliant, very political, lovely music. Vibrant, upbeat, angry, positive. Perfect for our event. As we had overrun a bit, they finished soon after 5, and I got the chance to thank the audience and Seize the Day. I wished I had asked the audience to pick up their cigarette butts as I spent the next hour and a half litter picking, 90% of which was fag ends. I hung on til Baz came back with the van at 7.30 to help load up a very heavy marquee... and then I cycled round to Rich's to help unload it into his garage.

Despite my being very knackered by this time, I spotted a load of waste wood offcuts and so I stopped and loaded up some spare space in the trailer, a bin bag and a carrier bag full of these.

When I got back, Gill had some food ready and I lit the stove. After I ate, I fell asleep on the sofa for an hour as Gill was putting the children to bed... but after I had a coffee I perked up and did my emails, typed this and chatted to Gill about the people we'd seen, conversations we'd had, what the children did and other stuff, before she fell asleep whilst hemming trousers for tomorrow, the first day of term.

I am so glad that the only complaints the main council person made were that Seize the Day had a song lyric which included the word 'Bullshit' in it, whilst there were children around, and that there was no catering aimed at meat eaters. I hooted with laughter when i heard about this one... what an idiot, not realising that as we are a green festival, we are not going to promote the most polluting sort of diet. But a good result re this person. I wonder if any of the regular residential complainants from previous years complained this time, and if any complaints were upheld? Time will tell!

I am very happy tonight. Tired, but content.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hiya John!


These festivals don't half mess up ones sleeping patterns!!!

If this was a meet-free festival, how come I could smell cooking sausages for the latter part of the day?!! - or was it just wishful thinking for an omnivore like myself!!?

Great day, John! Congrats to yourself, Randall and all the other organisers. 'Seize the Day' were indeed a fantastic act, as were they all in fact. Chuffed that the weather held off, at least until chucking-out time. Even Solar Pod got up to 30C in the tank, from 15 C at the start.

Breathed a sigh of relief when I finally managed to tow Solar Pod back into the car park at St Nicks, without it tipping over on the way back! My knuckles are still white from over-gripping of steering wheel!! I think we might need a bit of a re-think over it's transportation before I maim someone with it!