The Ambient Picnic / Green Festival
Founding My First Festival
This festival actually began as a picnic. A simple gathering of friends and a ‘bring what you expect to find‘ mantra.
Very quickly, the Picnic grew and expectations of what it could become grew too – so a friend (Craig Hills from Jellytree) and I decided it would be good to actually organise some things that people would expect to find rather than rely on them bringing them! From this thought, and the blind enthusiasm that sometimes comes from ignorance, the Ambient Green Picnic – a new green community festival – was born.
Even though we were definitely organising a festival, we decided to keep the name ‘picnic’ to minimise worries about a ‘festival invasion’ or similar tabloid horror story, that local residents and the Conservative-controlled local authority may have. The name ‘Picnic’ also help create a more family-friendly vibe that appealed to those who had never been to a festival, whilst still encouraging some people to bring what they expected to find – like a picnic.
Over a few years of my involvement as co-director, it developed into an eco-extravaganza, with ecologists, artists, musicians, dancers, poets and all kinds of other performers.
Several stages of live music with multiple sub-cultures catered for, with an impressive quality and diversity of bands and entirely powered by wind, solar and biofuel.
There were brightly coloured tents packed with people and those who chose to loll about on the grass outside.
Ethical traders and caterers were also in abundance selling all kinds of vegan and vegetarian food and alterative therapies could be sampled in the festival’s Healing Field.
The GuilFin Ambient Lounge played host to multiple DJs and live acts, comfy seating, TV wall and comprehensive alternative information stall covering social justice, animal rights and environmental issues.
The art zones were hugely popular and the festival was a gold mine of green ideas and overflowed with stalls promoting everything from renewable energy to seed exchange and recycling to hydrogen cells.
A planet conscious ethic lay at the heart of the Ambient Green Picnic with an aim of entertaining and educate but also to practice what we preached wherever we could.
As well as sound equipment powered by renewable energy, recycling bins peppered the site and a free Park and Ride scheme was in place. All common things in today’s festival scene but they were pretty rare when we created the Ambient Green Picnic. At the time we knew it was providing a microcosm for what would one day be perfectly standard practice – and it is.