Shambala Festival

Creaturemag at Shambala Festival 2010 – The 10 Picture Challenge

Shambala festival is a teeming tented circus town, a brew of sensory stimulation that is just right and ready. It’s all about the participation, there is an emphasis on open expression, friendliness and a staunch resistance against commercialisation and consumerism. It’s a truly eclectic gathering of characters, creative explorers and hedonistic experimenters stirring up a very special atmosphere and one that is very unique to Shambala. Our challenge was to sum all this up in 10 photos.

Arriving at 4pm on Friday, equipped with the necessities and armed with 10 photographs yet to be taken, we embarked on a 48 hour exploration of this new found land. Soaking up the splendid array of music the fields awash with art, costume and splendidly happy people all willing to make, do and see whatever they want. This is a creative enthusiasts dream and a field full of inspiration ready to be harvested.

The following photos form Creatures visual diary, 10 photos and some commentary that we feel sums up our Shambala festival 2010.

1 – Welcome to Shambala
Shambala Festival

Overlooked by a mansion house sat beside a lake on the edge of the woods lies a creative wonderland. Shambala is brimming with well considered art installations that make this festival an utterly extravagant garden for the senses. The sculpture above sat in the lake, you could walk to it over the water on a bridge just below the surface.

2 – Fancy dress parade from a distance
Shambala Festival

It’s all about getting involved and expressing yourself. Saturday afternoon saw the fancy dress parade, a fine display of imaginative and considered fancy dress costume. Starting at the edge of the lake (above) and snaking it’s way right round the festival it was all simply too much to put into words…

3 – Fancy dress parade close up
Shambala Festival

4 – Funny little Creature
Shambala Festival

This funny little Creature lived next to us in the healing Fields, he attracted a following wherever he travelled. His face paintings are of Mexican origin he grew up in Africa and he is a green man, his name is Mike, this all may or may not be true. We think he sprouted from the earth many centuries ago.

5 – Alejandro Toledo & the Magic Tombolinnos
Shambala Festival

This band sorted out our tickets, we are designing their website. The Magic Tombolinos are an explosive mixture of influences from Balkan gypsy with some middle eastern flavours to a touch of hip-hop, all based around Alejandro’s (pictured) swirling sax. It is wild untamable sound from a bunch of very talented and charming musicians. You must witness it for yourself. Listen here:

6 – Roaming theatrical performances
Shambala Festival

It is impossible to get bored at Shambala, a new experience lies around every corner. There are countless travelling theatrical performances and mobile art installations roaming the site freely. This fly formed part of a never ending play that involved a scientist and a snail too.

7 – The old ladies
Shambala Festival

These little old dears from Grannies Café are all over the place. They cause havoc and laughter wherever they go and always, always stay in character. Will it ever get old? Probably…. but we’ll laugh for now!

8 – Chartwell Dutiro and Spirit Talk Mbira
Shambala Festival

Musically, Shambala has something for everyone, we spent a lot of our time checking out the World music acts, they definitely set the tone and pace for our weekend, it’s propelling and uplifting music that you can’t help but move to. Creature’s favourites included Chartwell Dutiro (above) and Afla Sackey & Afrik Bawantu.

9 – Ramshackle Mechanics
Shambala Festival

Shambala is brimming with character and ingenuity we have never seen so many strange pedal powered machines, oddly shaped bikes and ramshackle mechanics. These guys provided a pedal powered pineapple passenger service.

10 – Big Jeff
Shambala Festival

Our Shambala round up would not be complete without the inclusion of Jeff. Shambala published an interview with him in this years program. We snapped him in front of the main stage. We watched him come runner up in the poetry slam. He is a permanent fixture on the front row of many Bristol gigs and even has his own appreciation society. His story is amazing but a bit too personal to include here.

The 10 picture challenge
Some said it wasn’t possible… “you can’t sum up this festival in 10 pictures”. Whether or not our attempts at this challenge were successful we feel it enhanced our experience of the event, caused us to explore the festival in more depth and with more consideration, seeking out those golden nuggets that not only tell our Shambala tale but also give our readers a good idea of what goes on behind those gates.

What? Moooooore!
We just couldn’t leave you without telling you a about a couple more acts that impressed us this weekend… go and check them out!

Poeticats –
Bunty –

Festivals are forming a new breed of human… be part of it. See you next year.