First impressions: cars, cars towing caravans, motor-homes, minibuses all driving across a potholed track on the Boughton House estate near Kettering in Northamptonshire heading for the huge car parks designated as long-stay, disabled, day parking. Next, a vision of tents by the thousands, row upon row, stretching far across the fields to my left, a veritable city of them, and a very long walk to the entrance to the festival to collect my wristband, fluorescent lime green identifying me as an adult. Tens of thousands of festival goers of all ages gathered for a festival, jam-packed with things to do, see and listen to.
Where to go first? As I had volunteered to help on the OuterSpace (LGBT) stand and was clutching a large supply of our new Quest information postcards, the choice was obvious. On the way I spotted Pádraig Ó Tuama, a speaker at our 2014 Conference, heading in the opposite direction, so I greeted him. The next familiar face was that of Tracey Byrne (LGCM’s Chief Executive) on the OuterSpace stand, then, in quick succession, Peter Rodgers, a member of our local Quest group, and Mandy Pyke, former Quest Women’s Officer. Peter and I grabbed a beer (Jonah and the Ale – a half only for me and a bit expensive at £4 per pint) at the Jesus Arms, I kid you not.
I wanted to see Peterson Toscano perform in the Playhouse (Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat – billed as a comic meditation on broken bodies large and small) but it clashed with Pàdraig (Hello to the World) and a session of prose and poetry – sublime (except for having to sit awkwardly on the grass, never a pleasurable experience for me).
More to come!
John Ashman, Friday, 28 August.