Our Travel blog
Cosmic Puffin started in 2008 and is our first festival of the season. You can read about it and the valuable work it does from the link.
We arrived on site at 5pm and after being given 3 different sets of instructions by 3 separate stewards we elected to plonk ourselves in the motorhome area, which seemed eminently sensible until we heard the tell-tale sound of spinning wheels. Stuck in 3 tonnes of Mavis we thought we were staying put for the duration until a trader with a Landrover was found to pull us free, which he did with ease and we thanked him enormously. We were going to recommend his stall too but we had a look and its mostly cheap festival shit so we won't bother, but anyway he was lovely.
After a hurried pitch up in what we hope is a dryer location we scurried over to the crew and band catering tent where we are working the weekend. Predictably Alison knew the person in charge and so suitably briefed (apparently the 5 second rule when you drop stuff on the floor doesn't count in professional kitchens - which we were disappointed to hear) we set about helping to set up the kitchen, cook and serve hot dogs and get to grips with washing up 40 ltr pans.
After our shift we took to Mavis where we slept fitfully thanks mostly to gale force wind and rain and partly because we had to be up at 6am scrubbed and ready for our next shift at 7am.
Today we started our shift groggily but our cheerful colleague and the bleary but always friendly and appreciative crew and bands coming in for breakfast soon raised our spirits and we settled into serving, prepping and washing up like the enthusiastic amateurs we are.
After work we mooched around the site, Alison had her hair braided and we made friends with our neighbours who came armed with Willow, the worlds bounciest dog and their 16 month old son. Highlight of the evening for us was undoubtedly Sendelica - a band we both love - think instrumental psychedelic space rock and you'll be somewhere near their sound. Better still buy something and experience them yourselves.
Officially we had a day off today so after checking in to the kitchens to make sure we could take advantage of it we walked along the beach into Mersea to demand tea and biscuits from friends who probably hoped we wouldn't be back so soon. News and hugs exchanged the afternoon was spent napping in Mavis and the evening watching Thunderdog, who can boast the worlds most animated saxophone player and then Nukli - a more far out sound than Sendelica and with vocals. They opened with Dance of 1000 Spliffs - that'll give you a good idea of the Nukli sound. They were also kind enough to donate a track to our wedding CD so let the record show they are splendid chaps indeed.
Sunday 1 May
Another 7 am start and we walked through the camp site to the now familiar smells of bacon and hash. We had another great shift with the catering team after which we explored the now buzzing festival site in the breezy Essex sunshine before catching Dogstooth - think a more ambient Motorhead with a charismaticly manic front-man who's impassioned speech on the environmental impacts of eating meat was greeted by a cry of "what a wanker" from a lady dancing enthusiastically with a corn beef sandwich. She did however take up an offer to accompany them on tambourine later - as did Alison! We also caught a bit of The Penny Antics - a very young (to us) grungy two piece worth checking out.
Monday 2 May
Sunday night blended fitfully into Monday as the encampment of a particular band decided to party, chat and otherwise play noisey buggers all night. Ray's inability to understand anything more technically advanced than a plate meant his 7am alarm went off at 6am too, just as the band in question had walked to the beach Alison, little Miss sunshine herself, leapt out of bed radiating early morning good will to all! At least we were able to put in an early morning stint in the cafe.
Cosmic Puffin is undoubtedly ramshackle at times and maybe parts of the organisation could be improved, but order emerges from the chaos and it all seems to work because people want it to; and muck in to make sure it does. Its a great atmosphere and the people, paying customers, crew and bands alike are some of the most engaging, interesting and personable people and it was a privilege to work with them. From the drunk ricocheting off dancers and being gently guided to a seat to the young man with learning disabilities dancing with careless abandon in an arena where no one cared what he did so long as he enjoyed himself. From the duty first aider wearing pantaloons, headband and glittery beard and arriving on a Harley with inflatable flamingoes sticking out of the saddlebags to the heavily tattooed woman with 6 young children in tow who were all unfailing polite, gentle and wise beyond their years; our first festival of the season confirmed that the path we've chosen is definitely the right one.
And a special mention to Emma and Rachael whose ceaseless enthusiasm, eagerness to show us, and other volunteers, the ropes, their good humour and fantastic tasting food were an inspiration. We look forward to working for them again.
Stopping only to surreptitiously switch off the power to the van containing the band who kept us awake all night we left for Woodstock. 50 years too late and in the wrong country but hey, we were heading to Woodstock!
5/6/2016 04:11:24 pm
Hi Ray glad you enjoyed your visit to Mersea and the Cosmic Puffin Festival. We stumbled on the Festival on Sunday morning, when walking along the beach from Seaview. We've never been to a festival before, I know it's very sad! So we decided to be brave and venture in. It was a real eye opener - the people, their clothes, their living accommodation, the tarot card reader, wood carver, hair braider, jingly things and fairy rings - it was like stepping back in time to the flower power days of the 70s! We began to feel decidedly too well dressed and uncomfortable though in our Joules jackets, so didn't loiter for too long. For a brief few minutes though I had a sudden urge to be a hippy and wear long flowing clothes, well until I thought of my nice warm bed and hot shower! Anyway, it was a new experience for us.
5/6/2016 06:13:07 pm
Hi Jean & Ed,
5/7/2016 09:55:22 pm
I love that you turned their leccy off....LOL!
5/7/2016 11:13:36 pm
It had to be done, although I didn't admit it to Alison until we were half way to Oxford because she'd have told me to go back and plug it back in.
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