Trying to pick up where the Big Green Gathering, the Green Gathering 2011 had a lot of familiar faces. Really, a lot of familiar faces, to the extent that most of the crew seemed almost identical to the BGG crews of old. I found the level of disorganization to also be similar.
I really had a good time, fantastic chilled atmosphere, pleasant people, a huge beautiful site and lots of relevant workshops to attend. I took a lot of time out to explore the sight which was amazing, with a cave, grotto and some dazzling viewpoints, so I only made it to Pair Yoga and a Laughter Yoga one.
One of the great things about Green Gatherings is that people remain fairly sober during the day, so you actually get to meet them, and I spent of lot of time socailising too.
I led a “Green Computing” workshop slot on the Friday and Saturday which was not so well attended but went really well. Lack of attendance seemed to be related mainly to it not being in the program, as I actually got participants by standing on the main drag and asking people if there were interested. Having asked about 10 people, I got 3 most willing punters to join in “Hmmm, I’m really interested in that, give me 2 minutes to get a cuppa and I’ll be back”. For the purposes of the workshop I took green computing to be all the issues developments that either enable and hinder the sustainability of modern computer use. As with most adult attend workshops, as much info came from the others as me, we all learned a shed load.
I ended up landing with, and so camping, and eating the crew food of, and hanging out with, and so crewing with, the Permaculture Zone due to Mike Feingold giving me a lift there. As usual this lot dealt more independently with everyday tasks than the rest of the festival, making the p/c zone a bubble of sanity in amongst the scant festival organization. I was so glad to be there and help out, with so many friends there.
A continuous game of PERMACULTURE anagrams evolved after the placement of the the seperate 5ft tall letters of the word along a section of rope at the zone’s entrance. “U REP METAL CURE”, “LAMPETER CRUU”, “PECULATOR”. Some where frankly genius, but I can’t remember them.
So I’ve hinted a bit that the festy a bit disorganized. Well that true. It seems the same level of sketchiness has been inherited from the Big Greens of old. Two hour waits to get on site. A complete chaos of a bus service that meant that most people would have been quicker walking. I don’t have a solution for any of this. I think if you use most of the old crew you get the same result, but I also know that it takes a long long time to get any large crew at all together.
Another problem with the gathering was the licensing. Events license only covered up until 2am, the 24hour curry van next to p/c zone being shut down by a council rep on Saturday night, both limiting profitability massively for them, and limiting our access to their excellent curries for up to 6 hours. Nobody needed that. It’s not like they were disturbing anyone by serving food at those hours.
All that said, the main problem with the gathering was lack of people. It felt like a gathering made up mostly of crew. Good, but not sustainable. Seems this was due to lack of publicity and a bonkers level of competition from other festivals, WOMAD, Camp Bestival and Bristol Harbourside to name but three of the competing events that weekend.
It seems to festival has drawn a loss this year, but with more publicity I don’t see why it shouldn’t do really well in 2012, if the site can be kept. Heres hoping for another fabulous, but busier Green Gathering…