This last weekend, I went to a festival called Greenbelt. It was awesome.
Okay, I do have some more about it.
First, let me start with the weather. It was a peculiar mix of cold, warm, and wet. Frankly it was mostly cold and wet. Being that it is England in the summer, inevitably, it rained. The first couple days were nice and dry, but then it got cloudy, then cloudy turned to misty, then misty just never went away. Literally, it just never stopped misting. I don’t want to sound like I am just whinging about this, because I really enjoyed the rain, right up until I fell in the mud, coating my side in very clingy mud. From then on, I simply survived the cold.
The location was truly amazing. I hadn’t been to a home like this since I was a small child. Now, as a point of reference, this estate had 100 acres of landscaped lawn (pause and let that sink in), and then there is all the non-landscaped land. And most of all to this Californian, the grass was this strange color that I have heard of, but never witnessed, it was green, fields of green grass!
Now to the festival itself. I really enjoyed the mix of people. Greenbelt does a good job of bringing together people from different views or sects, but in general the common theme is that people are not interested in why they are different to each other, but instead focus on what unites them. I really enjoyed getting to see the community and conversations which were brought about.
The talks also covered an astonishing range of topics. I got to hear talks about steps for university students to talk to influence their universities, the Israel-Palastine conflict, and stain glass in old churches. Many of the talks took on a somewhat lecture-like structure (given if my professors were this throughout provoking, my grades would likely be better) and many others were panels often filled with people of differing opinions.
Since many of the people involved, and especially the vendors, seemed to be what in America would be classed as reformed-hippies the things you would buy were stellar. I loved the creativity that some of the vendors used to avoid using plastic bags (sewing their own cheap cloth bags or making them out of newspaper).
Most of all what stuck with me was the last point. Greenbelt brings together a group of people that dream, and then take the steps necessary to move towards that. The results aren’t perfect, but the focus on improving is palpable.