About 5 years ago I was in London and messaged a good friend to see how he was. He replied saying he was at a festival and asked if I was planning on coming. I hadn’t been to this particular festival before as this was more like an extended family party where you had to be ‘invited’ by an original member to go. I was also totally unprepared for going to a festival that day. It was one of those moments in life where I stopped and thought to myself, the only person standing in the way is myself, so go! I picked up a few warm things, jumped in my trusty steed (well, fortunately on this occasion we got there!), a rusty old sunshine yellow VW Beetle called Orbie, and headed north.
What’s in a name? In this case, everything. Life is about love, sharing and “giving”. Being there. You can only be part of these things if you make the effort to do just that, “Be Here Now”. 5 years on and I’ve now just come back from my fourth GIVE! Hosted by Ben Taylor, House of Honey, who was part of the original Kimberley parties that began many moons ago. Ben has carried on this collective and created an absolutely unique family gathering of genuinely creative and beautiful people. A tribe of old and new. The younger generation now starting to pick up the pace with their own stomping DJ sets rocking the dance floor together with the mature and well respected members of this musical industry. Each year there is a colour theme. Due to the pandemic it had been two years since this event had been able to take place. 2021 took the character of “The Fire Phoenix”. Orange being the dominant colour. I did laugh when Barry Ashworth (Dub Pistols) arrived in his orange waist coat and exclaimed that we all looked like an “Easy Jet” party, or perhaps a bunch of party going convicts.
Maff & Ned Scott ~ The Egg
Musically this was the best GIVE! I’ve been to. I arrived Friday afternoon and found myself with a line up of Miss Devine, Ben The Bee, Dominic Butler / Stanton Warriors, Mark Sinclair, Camp Cuts, Colin Dale and Seb Fontaine. This was on just one of the stages. There was also “The Tree House” and “The Rave Cave”. All of which brought pleasurable vibes to this balmy Autumnal atmosphere.
So good to see these guys again and hear their sets in person, right there, along side a multitude of sparkly happy ravers covered in feathers, neon and all sorts of weird and wonderful things. There was a girl dressed head to toe, hat and all with lights in her hooped skirt made of orange Sainsbury’s bags. One guy even wore leggings and a necklace of plastic carrots! Perfect.
I woke up to warm sunshine on Saturday morning and decided to walk around the grounds of Stanford Hall to the lake. Boutique camping so well placed in this tranquil residence. Some doing morning yoga in the sunshine, others having Bloody Mary’s, the occasional pop of a champagne cork and a cheer of joy, laugher and applause. Two swans swam along the lake basking in the sunshine. I sat for a while just absorbing the atmosphere. “Life is a gift”. I thought to myself. We are all different. Thankfully! Each person experiencing their own version of this wonderful weekend, yet together, as one. Even if you meet someone you haven’t met before, you know that there will be someone whom you both know and this links us all together as one among this incredibly diverse and much loved family.
Boutique Camping / Glamping
GIVE! Has a healing sanctuary for those who wish to find it. Some well chosen food stalls, but only a few as this is a small affair. Seriously creative little boutiques including Sarah Farmer Hat Maker and Fairy Love Boutique Velvet jump suits, sparkly pants and all sorts going on in there.
Joseph Tawedros who plays the Oud brought a calming start to the musical events with his meditational vibrations followed by a psychedelic set from “The Egg”.
Yomi followed on the decks in one stage and Seb Fontaine’s sunny afternoon party in the camp ground led us to the 5pm group photo.
One of the things that really unites this particular festival is fashion.
Matty Qox & Maria Tyson
The music stops, the costumes come out, and we all meet on the lawn. It’s like a genuine respect of each other. These outfits have no limits. Pure uninhibited fun. There is no right or wrong. From chic couture to utterly outrageous and down right hilarious. I simply love this festival. People are awesome.
The golden hour arrived and the Tree House sessions continued. The neon planets dangling in the trees glistening in the light as they transitioned steadily from their daytime colours to their night time glow.
Dub Pistols, a much loved favourite at GIVE!
Barry Ashworth welcomed the gathering and thanked his wife as this day was his Wedding anniversary to Ilona Porter. They married 4 years ago. As the crowd and the stage merged Barry Ashworth jumped into a group photo, mic in hand still singing. Seanie T was also persuaded off the stage for a selfie with the dancers at the front. The look on their faces of sheer joy as one said to the other with excited surprise, “He’s a legend!!” Seanie T grinning as he continued with the set.
Music is ageless. There were young and old, all dancing together. So much fun.
The Dub Pistols continue their tour. For dates and locations check out the link:
10.30pm the Dub Pistols had finished their set and the music from all the stages paused. Ben invited us all to the lawn by the house where there was a large lit up sign saying GIVE. Green laser beams projected right out down the long grassy strip and fire dancers performed to music while fire works shot up into the sky.
The final set arrived at 3am by Ben the Bee himself to close the night. It didn’t take long before the stage was full and people danced all around with Ben in the middle bringing tune after tune. As 4am arrived, the music came to a resting point and Ben thanked everyone for coming. The hugs and the gratitude from every single person in that space was immense. What had been a packed out dance tent dispersed to camp fires, sacred spaces, a candle lit forest full of fluorescent shapes hanging from the trees, dancing fountains and memories of thankfulness with grace and love for those that are no longer with us. I lit a candle in this little sanctuary too, for gratitude is a wonder that never ceases to be. We are here, and that makes all the difference.
Thank you Ben. I don’t know where the stage ended and the crowd began. There is so much more that I could say about this festival, but I think I’ve said enough. If you haven’t been, then you’ll have to go for yourself, so that’s all from me.
I wonder what next year’s theme will be?…
Let Music Be Your Tribe
Some more images:
Sparkie Malarkie… DJ and water filter master. Check him out. Yes he’s that guy from “Come Dine With Me”… legend.
Alexis Richter ~ Dancing Fountain
A real pleasure to catch up with Alexis after what feels like a very long time. Alexis created a masterpiece. As a child he was that kid who would take everything apart to learn how it worked, and then try to put it all back together again. Sometimes this worked, but not all the time! His talent paid off when he set to work on an invention of his own. This dancing fountain responds to sound and produces the most stunning visuals that reflect the sound it connects with. Contact him via his Instagram for bookings for parties and festivals / events. https://www.instagram.com/dancingfountain/?hl=en
GIVE 2021 Happy Anniversary to Barry Ashworth & Ilona Porter
Thanks & Respect
House of Honey
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