Our columnist on why festivals offer a great way to meet similar people
I imagine there are very few readers of this magazine who haven’t been to one kind of festival or gathering this summer.
In fact many of us, including me, have spent this time visiting different kinds of festivals across the country as our seasonal break. Whatever your age, location, music and cultural preference, or political leaning, there is an event for everyone.
I think there is a strong human need right now to belong to a likeminded tribe of others where we can relax, feel safe and discuss openly what we would like to see in the world. Being a member of a tribe is the most natural way for human beings to live since we started standing upright. And yet so often today we are scattered from family, living in unfriendly cities and feeling isolated with a deep sense of displacement. We might all be conversing on social media but we still need to connect with others in a real space. So it should be no surprise that festivals have gained huge momentum in the past 50 years.
I spent this summer at a range of gatherings including the enormous Glastonbury with its wide stretch of offerings – from big artists like Stormzy and Kylie Minogue on the Pyramid Stage to the more intimate Healing and Green Fields, showcasing new ideas and ancient wisdom, and the Theatre and Circus Field, where drag queens and trapeze magicians entertain you.
Indigenous wisdom leaders were brought to the site for the first time this year and I had the pleasure of participating in a women’s healing circle led by an inspiring member of a native Canadian tribe, who took us through her people’s rituals as we sat in a tepee. It was an extraordinary experience.
There were at least three festivals each weekend through July and August where I would have happily ensconced myself and was spoilt for choice. I decided to go with my flow and visit the SEED Festival in Stroud as I wanted to see how that fitted in with my own SEED movement. Here, I found welcome relief from the hugeness of Glastonbury and accompanied my friend Mary Portas to her talk on the feminine way to do business. Rob Hopkins, one of the founders of the influential Transition Town Movement in Totnes, got us to dream in our collective future, which was a theme I saw repeated throughout the summer. In fact, it was very much part of my own talks and workshops as well. I was briefly at WomenFest, which is a gentle, loving gathering in a field outside Glastonbury that attracted beautiful females of all ages to join together in a safe space. They were inspired by the spiritual leadership of Clare Dubois, the founder of TreeSisters, which is an organisation that was created to plant millions of trees throughout the world.
My favourite festival was Into the Wild in Sussex. As the largest family-focused, alcohol-free and drug-free festival, this is described as ‘not a place to come and escape the world, but somewhere to find our place in this natural world’. While here, I curated the Women’s Forum and led discussions with inspiring women, such as fracking and 5G activist Vanessa Vine on how to avoid burnout, filmmaker Nikki Williams on how to not give up and spiritual teachers Julie Devine and Caroline Carey on women and the menopause.
I taught my own Power of Seven workshop and then came together with the Men’s Forum to discuss how we can go forward to dream and create a new world collectively. I sat with inspiring male leaders, such as writer and speaker Mac Macartney, and we discussed how we need to find our way to a place of equality and mutual respect. I learnt so much at the wonderful festivals I visited, and finished up at Campfire Convention’s Campout 2019 in my neighbouring town of Frome. Here, a small gathering of like-minded women and men committed to bringing peace and sustainability to their communities and world.
So my advice is to gather, share, explore, heal, play, tell stories, dance, sing, eat and celebrate each other at any opportunity you get.
I will be in Marrakesh this November at my Power of 7 Women’s Gathering where we will be doing exactly that, so do join me if you can. Learn more about it at lynnefranks.com.
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