Our summer kicked off with Faerie Festival, an intriguing gathering of Elves, Pixies, Trolls and other Woodland Creatures….or at least people who enjoy dressing up as them! We arrived in the beautiful Sussex countryside to set up the Cafe Stall and then proceeded to work with absolutely no electricity for the first time ever. This was a bit daunting initially, but actually turned out to be a great experience. It was good fun adapting our Menu – in particular we served up a delicious and popular new Persian Mixed Salad Mezze product. We also enjoyed getting stuck into the English Folklore vibe of the festival, through a couple of wanders over to the the historic and quaint local town of Alfriston. If you ever go, prepare for some extremely old and extremely cosy pubs.
Things moved up a gear after that as we headed on towards Hertfordshire to set up the full OIABM Cafe/Venue for our debut at Hogsozzle! We were placed in the festival’s new woodland area, a first for 2018, and erected our Marquee in good time. We were snugly nestled amongst trees, hay-bales and our fire pit, with lovely lights and bunting above. As part of a jam-packed schedule, we hosted a well attended and never-ending Open Mic, Yoga every morning and our first ever ‘Stand-up Philosophy’ showcase. The tagline for Hogsozzle is ‘Let’s Get Ridiculous’, and we fully understood why after taking part in the hilarious and totally mad paint fight on the Sunday afternoon – shout out to the volunteers who got stuck in!
It was straight over to Cornwall after that for The Great Estate, where we arrived to a waterlogged site and had to have the entire Marquee buggy-ed down to our pitch, piece by piece! Luckily the weather cleared up, and the UK’s ‘most rambunctious fete’ was a lovely mix of all types of people, very well suited for families and revellers alike. On our wanders we checked out the record-breaking World’s Largest Cream Tea session and discovered a secret ‘Gin Garden’. Our Cafe highlights were the two old dudes that came and performed every night and our good pal Pye’s family friendly Beatbox Workshop. Following that, he performed on the main stage with his band The Swinghoppers, and then they all came straight to our tent for another set!
Completing the cross-country schedule of four festivals in a row was the longest trip of them all – right the way up to Scotland for our second year at Eden Festival. Arriving at dusk on a humid summer evening, we were greeted by swarms of midges that proceeded to totally eat us alive! We had no choice but to cover up, soldier through and set up the Cafe…Luckily the midges largely vanished as the crowds arrived, and we then had a lovely time. Some old friends joined our volunteer crew, we celebrated a 30th birthday and it was great to see a lot of the same faces from 2017, many of whom were musicians that returned to our space to perform again! We also had the pleasure of meeting Rowan, aka the Gong Mystic, who led a meditative 1.5 hour long ‘Sound Healing’ journey both mornings. Out to the poor guy that got woken up by the Gongs, clearly suffering from a rather savage hangover, and rudely interrupted the class with: ‘what’s this, a bloody self-appointed alarm clock?!’
After a couple of weeks off, we re-joined the festival circuit for another year at Curious Yellow. It was lovely to be back in the woodland sculpture site in which this event always takes place, it feels more like a secret garden party than a festival! Once In A Blue Moon was a key contributor to the vibe again – we stayed open almost 24 hours throughout, hosting performances on our informal ‘open stage’ from a load of awesome bands, solo artists, DJs and even a Ceilidh group! Cafe ‘regulars’ Jonni and Ed were back with their keyboard and vocal skills each night for some amazing (and seemingly never-ending!) jams, not to mention the Stand-Up Philosophy crew from Hogsozzle joined us again for a lazy Saturday afternoon session.
We then returned to Tropical Pressure for the second time since our 2016 debut. The festival had grown a lot! It felt like it’s really come into its own at the special site at which it takes place: the Mount Pleasant Eco Park in Cornwall, graced with views of the nearby sea and cliffs. We were situated in the Kids/Craft Field turned Late Night Zone, and had great fun hosting a Ukelele workshop on the first day – a hit with adults and curious children alike. Otherwise whilst we were open all day, we were easily at our busiest after the main stages closed, when the friendly crowds packed in for a cosy place to sit, a cup of Chai, a Toastie and to enjoy our custom ‘World Vibes’ playlist of course 😛 We also had a couple of unexpected live performances, the highlight being the late night show from roots reggae rockers Solomento, who were due to play on the main stage the next day, it was amongst the busiest it’s ever been in the cafe – top vibes!
Underneath The Stars was our first ever festival in Yorkshire, and what a lovely event. Beforehand we headed to a local farm to pick up some supplies and ended up getting a free walking tour! They showed us how the place worked and how well the animals were treated, it was all very interesting. Once set up we found ourselves situated next to the local Silkestone Scouts as the only Campsite traders. Elsewhere our friend Anna joined us again to host a popular Yoga class both mornings, and main man Muti made it from London to host his own unique ‘Living Form’ dance and natural movement session outside the cafe. Underneath The Stars itself was a refreshing departure from the usual music policy of events we work at – with a focus on folk, blues, jazz and singer-songwriter styles. The 1000+ capacity seated Main Stage was an impressive space in which to be blown away by a performance, we were particularly fond of the The Ukekele Orchestra Of Great Britain!
We all had a couple of weeks off after that, heading over to the Mediterranean island beauty of Crete for two of our good friends’ Wedding Celebrations…as you do! On return though, we were straight back into it. We found ourselves heading for Cornwall again, this time towards the famous seaside town of Newquay and Boardmasters! It’s a huge mainstream event with an impressive lineup, surf competitions and some stages boasting a gorgeous view out to sea and of the nearby beaches. We found ourselves pitched in the ‘Campsite Village’, and were steadily busily throughout. New additions to our Entertainment Portfolio were our first ever ‘Cafe Pub Quiz’ and the morning ‘Bacon Rave’ – both quite the hit!
Next up it was our debut at Field Maneuvers, a ‘dirty little rave’ aiming to re-create the sense freedom and quality of atmosphere found at early ’90s parties. We had the pleasure of doubling up as the Ambient Stage – for which the organisers programmed a marathon lineup. The music started on Friday evening and stopped in the early hours of Monday morning! Needless to say we stayed open 24 hours, and it was awesome to have a constant soundtrack of either renowned ambient Artists playing extended sets or other DJs, usually known for more dance-floor focused material, coming in to play second, more experimental, sets after smashing it on one of the other main dance stages. It’s hard to pick a highlight, but having the legendary go-to ‘Room 2’ DJ Mixmaster Morris grace us with his presence (for an impressive 6 hour set!) was certainly up there.
As the days began to get shorter again and we felt the familiar Autumnal chill creeping in, we were back for the third year in a row at Illusive. We’re starting to feel like a permanent fixture at the festival, now with a usual spot and on good terms with many of the other traders (hello to our friends at Cloud 9!). The weather wasn’t great but the energy from the punters and stage design were certainly on-point, and it was cool to see that the awesome Clock Tower stage was back, along with a few impressive new additions to the site. Although slightly out of sync with the rave-heavy focus of the rest of the festival and crowd, we were genuinely quite thrilled to invite a Morris Dancing Troupe to perform in the cafe for the first time ever!
Our penultimate weekender was a new addition for the 2018 calendar, the renowned ‘gathering of the tribes’ that is Equinox. We weren’t particularly lucky with the weather, and narrowly avoided a full on storm with searing gale force winds in the days preceding the event. Still, we ‘battened down the hatches’ and got on with it, and an alternative crowd of festival workers, travellers and pagan wanderers showed up to celebrate the Autumn Equinox and the end of (for many) a long season working at events up and down the country. We stayed open 24 hours, met some lovely people and enjoyed the HUGE fire pit!
We finished off Once In A Blue Moon’s Summer 2018 festival season nice and locally out in Somerset at ItchyCoo! It was the first proper year for our friends organising it, a new generation re-awakening a long forgotten event of the same name, to honour their parents’ festival from many moons ago. A free party atmosphere and lots of slamming breakcore was complimented by some surprisingly warm and sunny weather – a very enjoyable debut for us!