I had no idea what to expect from Shambala, just that some friends went last year and had a great time. I loved it – it was like Glastonbury without the bullshit and marketing. The festival was held in the grounds of Kelmarsh Hall and made good use of the lake and the woods.
I'd heard of very few of the acts playing, which was fun. I ended up wandering around the site, seeing odds and ends. I stumbled on some impressive aerial acts on the Saturday and, on the Friday, was one of a dozen people dancing to the Transpersonals, who deserved a much bigger audience. I caught a string quartet playing I predict a riot and drank lots of coffee of varying quality.
The poetry was interesting. I saw some bloody awful acts as well as some stunning performances. Saturday night started with Yanny Mac, the domestic goddess, followed by Andy Craig Griffiths (I think) Andy Craven-Griffiths, with one of the best live sets I've seen. His poems were about his family and were both moving and funny. This was followed with a brilliant set by Tim Clair TIm Clare, featuring the wonderful poem Mrs F**k.
(Update Poets' names corrected following an irate email from Rosy Carrick.)
I saw so many cool things: the two people who dressed as Bananaman meeting and drinking together; a Rorschach costume; the woman hula-hooping at the lake; the Ugly Camping sign; the sound installation and lighting in the woods; the message going round, "If you're dressed as a bee they want you at the lake at 5"; the excellent book stall. Best of all, the rain mostly held off, which was fortunate since I was camping in a cheap Tesco's tent.
I can't wait for next year – thanks to Ayng and company for a great time!