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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Building wooden benches for the Meadow at the Shambala festival in Northamptonshire



I've just got back after being invited to make some wooden benches for the Healing Fields at the Shambala festival. They were situated in an ancient water meadow next to Kelmarsh Hall, where the event was being held.

It was a lovely spot to be based. When I arrived on the Sunday before the event began, there were wild field mushrooms growing on the site.


I've worked on the set-up of a few festivals now and it's probably my favourite time of all. It's great seeing the event spring up around you and meeting the other crew. It's also a nice feeling to be part of the whole thing, although there was a real sense at Shambala that a lot of folks made an effort; dressing up and participating whether crew or paying guests. 


After a pile of sawmill offcuts had been dropped off, we began working out what we could do with them. There was no mains electricity, so any work was done with a couple of handsaws, some hammers, a couple of bags of nails and a temperamental chainsaw. Benches seemed a priority, so they were first.


The first bench came out well. A lot of benches at festivals are interesting, but not always very comfortable. I wanted these to be really comfy and welcoming. They also needed to be sturdy enough to withstand a weekend of partying people using them, before being destroyed by cleaning crew at the end.


It was great watching how the benches were used by so many different folks during the weekend.


Len, who was also doing woodworking as part of the Meadow crew, had an idea to put a structure next to the lake that separated the Healing Fields from the rest of the festival. We built a bench based on two African-style wooden seats. This was the only seating that looked in this direction and was tucked away, for people to find.



At one point during the festival, some people on the crew reported that they had seen a marriage-style ceremony being conducted at this bench, which was surrounded by gifts.

Shambala was a lovely festival and I hope to go again next year. Here's a few images from the festival for you to see...



shambala festival








Hooping Hannah




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