I’ve just got back from the Wessex Gathering, a wonderfully vibrant Pagan camp that is held near Corfe Castle, Dorset. The drive to the venue takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in England. I didn’t play at last year’s as I’d already been booked elsewhere, so it was lovely to get back there again.
My old tent had finally given up on me after years of use so I invested in a new Lavvu Tipi which I’d thoroughly recommend. It was pitched in minutes and then I had a few hours to relax and land before I was due to play at about 8pm. The tent that hadn’t yet been pitched was the marquee where I was due to play… the marquee people had forgotten to bring the canvas, but they arrived about 6pm and began to set it up. The opening ritual gathered the people together who were welcomed by the organisers Phil and Nina, and by the end the marquee stood at the corner of the field.
I decided to open with Hills they are Hollow this time, and by the first chorus people were already singing along! It was wonderful. The gig went on and then I remembered the last time I played here – there were no lights in the marquee. Night was falling, and with it the audience (and I guess I was too) was disappearing into the darkness. My parents always told me to eat more carrots – that if I did I’d be able to see in the dark. I hated carrots. But the darkness was somehow even more magical. A few people shone their torches, and I kept playing, and the audience kept singing. With the help of those torches I played for about 90 minutes, and it was great fun.
The next day I met Kit Berry, author of the Stonewylde series of books. I love these stories and if you’ve not heard of her I thoroughly recommend them. Deeply Pagan, magical, intense, characters you love, and some you certainly don’t, very human. It was nice to be able to give her some CDs as a thank you for the enjoyment I’ve had reading her stories.
I also met a wonderful fiddle player called Tim. A natural musician, intuitive, inventive. He hadn’t heard any of my songs before, but we just jammed though and the effect of the fiddle was incredible. We played a few around the campfire on the Saturday night, and you can be sure that you’ll be hearing Tim play on my next album!