The Summer so far….
What a whirlwind few weeks (or months?) it’s been. I’m writing this from the train back from Glasgow, all fired up on Marks & Sparks pink gin and tonic, a trio of walnut whips in quick succession and adrenaline from finishing a show, legging it to the station and actually making the last train home. So apologies for the excited babble, but my only time for paperwork at the moment (and writing a blog comes under that umbrella) seems to be whilst sat on trains, so I’ll try to write a summary of the summer so far before my laptop battery dies. In a Glaswegian accent. Don’t worry the battery will die soon, it’s currently on 74%.
June saw the start of the festival season with a fortnight in north east Germany working at Fusion Festival with Bassline Circus. The festival site is on a disused air base with all the stages in the empty aircraft hangars. It’s such a creative, anarchistic, industrial, colourful, bubbling melting pot of ideas. Because the site stays there all year round, the sculptures and artworks don’t need to be taken down after the festival is over so the landscape just gets crazier year on year with more structures being added. Everyone drives around in these battered customised cars, passengers on the roof, doors wide open. It’s very Mad Max. Here are a few of my favourite ‘Fusion-mobiles’:
I was working with the awesome Bassline Circus crew in their big top doing aerial acts each night. My acts were harness, aerial hoop solo, ensemble hoop with 5 of us in the air and my favourite – counterweight harness jumping off the kingpoles and flying over the heads of the crowd. So. Much. Fun. I loved the festie and it was great to work with such a lovely cohesive team. We worked hard and played hard and I woke up on the Sunday fully clothed in my tent, covered in nutella, with beetles eating the chocolate off my trainers. One of my finer moments I’m sure. Thankfully there’s no photographic evidence of the nutella incident so instead here are a few from the shows. The photos are by Jasmin Bell. Thanks so much to everyone at Bassline – I hope I can come and play with you again soon!
After Fusion I landed back with a thump into the real world and had to organise 32 performers over the weekend for the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire. I had accordion playing, baguette juggling Frenchmen, can-can girls on stilts, comedy chefs and all sorts of other totally non-stereotypical French themed acts! It all went very well, the sun shone all weekend and I was pleased to premiere our beautiful new Tropical Bird costumes, that had been weeks in the making. Thanks Mum for all your hard work and coming to the rescue when costume bits disappeared. I couldn’t have done it without you.
There was no rest for the wicked and I was straight off to Serbia for Exit Festival two days later. This year was my 9th year of Exit Festival. I guess that makes me a veteran, or matorka as they say in Serbian. Actually that means ‘old lady’ but I felt like that sometimes, drinking my cup of English tea backstage on the Dance Arena . Eats Everything was berating me: “It’s 1am, what the hell are you doing drinking tea at a rave?!” In between tea drinking I did get up and do some shows. Here are some great pics taken by Marija Popovic & Ruzica Milovanovic of my hoop act during Carl Cox’s set.
There is no venue on earth like the Exit Dance Arena and when the sun comes up and you’re looking out into a crowd of 20,000 people dancing in the moat of an ancient fortress, it does feel pretty special. And when you find yourself throwing inflatable giraffes at these people you do have to pinch yourself to see if it’s actually real.
I also got to be a robot space lady again – this one’s got to be my favourite Area 51 costume, the i-glow girl: (comes with giant white robot on stilts as standard)
In the Balkans people aren’t content with only 4 nights of solid partying, oh no. Four nights is not enough. An after-party is not enough. In the Balkans they have an after-festival. Yes that’s right, three more days of raving it up by the seaside is what these people require! As soon as the music had stopped at 8am on the Monday morning we de-rigged the equipment, loaded the van and headed straight to the airport for our flight to Montenegro for Sea Dance Festival. With my eyemask, earplugs and clutching my pillow like my life depended on it, I boarded the plane, happy in the knowledge that I’d drop straight off to sleep on take-off. Oh no. No sleep in the Balkans. Cabin crew are handing out cans of beer. Man with guitar starts strumming and singing Serbian songs very loudly in the aisle. DJ at the back of the plane is playing his tunes. We’re on a party plane. It’s like a scene from the 90’s tv show ‘Eurotrash.’ Dolly birds seem to be drawing a raffle. I’ve got no idea. It’s too confusing. Four guys have huge video cameras in my unslept face. I want to punch them!
We finally arrive, bedraggled, in Montenegro, which is absolutely beautiful by the way. From the plane we see gorgeous green mountains dropping away to rocky coastline and golden beaches. Sea Dance festival is in a lovely setting. All the stages are right on the beach except for the main stage. Jamiroquai headlined on the first night and we got to see the first part of the show from the pit which was amazing, we were so close. He reminded me of my friend Jo Bentley who loved Jay Kay and used to borrow his Mum’s velvet hats and wear them to school. That anecdote was met with bemusement when I told the Jamiroquai crew. This is where I’m supposed to insert the bit about performing at a private beach party with Jay & the crew blah blah blah but I won’t bore you with the details!
The most fun I had all week was jumping around on the beach by the dance stage in the sunshine dressed in full Voodoo-geddon kit. Our battle cry was ‘Tequila’ and we commandeered a pedalo and sailed out into the sunset. Here’s a pic, I’ll upload the videos if I can.
All in all it was an action-packed, festival marathon of gargantuan proportions all made thoroughly enjoyable by a great team and a steady flow of Jose Cuervo.
So now my battery is on 7% and I haven’t even told you about this week in Glasgow. I’ll have to save that chapter for next time.