On the weekend of the 26th July me and Cerri traveled to Yorkshire to play at the Oakleaf camp. The location was an amazing farm on which the owner had built a reconstructed Roundhouse, and a huge stone circle. There was also a beautiful natural sacred spring. What a location for a Pagan camp! It also seems that there’s a waiting list to get to this camp as it sells out every year, no surprise really.
We arrived and were met with gusto by our good friends The Dagda, and then directed to the traders field (Cerri had a stall for her T shirts). After a long drive I sometimes find it hard to get into the vibe of events – we call it our ‘albatross landing’, and we seem to have to go through it. So we just set up the tipi and made a cup of tea (the good old ‘Eastender’s’ solution – works every time!). I was due to play in the marquee on the Saturday night, so we had a night, and a full day to chill out, which was lovely.
Pagans love drums. And on the Friday night the firepit circle was alive with dancing and drumming – really good drumming too! Some of the best I’ve heard. There was a real tribal feel, and everyone seemed to know each other which is always a good thing, but it wasn’t cliquey. We were welcomed wherever we went and had a great night.
When it was getting dark Cerri and I went for our first visit to the stone circle. What an amazing place! Each stone had the image of an animal carved onto it, and we were told later that the skeleton of each animal was under the appropriate stone, including two horses, one under each entrance stone (all died naturally). I love old stone circles, but this one was somehow even more special. We know why it was built, exactly why. No archaeologist can diss us for working our magic within its ring. A real modern Sacred Site.
The Saturday night concert arrived and the drummers had been told not to drum until after, as I did the gig completely acoustically. The marquee was packed, and I just knew by the vibe it was going to be a good night. I was going to play for 45 minutes and then have a break while the floor was opened to other performers, then play for another hour. A made the mistake of mentioning that I’d played The Wheels on the Bus at the PF Devon and Cornwall conference (see a previous blog entry for the video!), and was inundated with requests (all tongue in cheek I’m sure) for that song, but resisted playing it…
We had high moments of joy together, and moments of depth. I love playing music. There are few times I feel more alive than when I’m entertaining an audience, and I loved every minute playing at Oakleaf. The floor spot entertainment was great too, and I’m sure a few of those who performed will have recorded music out soon.
The great news is that they’ve asked me back next year, and this time we’re going to try to stay until the end, and see their Wickerman ritual.