Short Story: The Festival

Wednesday, 9th August 2017

Yet another (very!) short piece for Oxford University's 'Writing Fiction' course. In this exercise I had to write a descriptive passage about a place that had left an indelible impression on me. I chose FolkEast, the greatest and best folk festival in the world.

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On Thursday it was a cattle field and on Monday it will be a cattle field again.

But in this sliver of time, the tent-poles rise, the smell of straw and Suffolk pigeon guides us in, and FolkEast’s mighty straw jackalope is ready to greet us.

This is not nostalgia; not a retreat into some imaginary Olde England. No, we are inviting the past to come and join us in something new: Indian ragas on a five-string banjo mix in the air with the shanties and the morris bells; while print-your-own t-shirts co-exist happily with the ancient game of dwile flonking (est. 1965). Irony is given a well-deserved weekend off. We are here for love.

And as the sun sets behind the fluttering pink and orange banners of the main stage, the Summer chill drives us into the lantern-dotted woodland; through the trees hung with fairy lights catching on sparkling mobiles.

Here, we will find a space to sit on straw-covered carpets, and see the young girls in flower crowns shout and clap and cheer the revolution; and perhaps a Socialist poet or two shed a tear over a shy young woman singing her grandmother’s songs, small fingers tangled in a wooden harp.