Sorry for the hiatus, but Glastonbury Festival was calling. It’s an annual pilgrimage, which has to happen because it leaves us all feeling positive and creative.
The reason I go to Glasto is because I’m part of a team putting up sculptures in one of the fields and venues. We help the artist build and install huge, solar-powered lanterns to add interest to the open spaces around the festival. So for 10 days, four of us run away with the circus and become part of the big barn-raising that is the building of Glastonbury, a festival with the population of the city of Bath.
Being part of the behind the scenes makes it an even more special event. We’re part of a community that meets in that field, every year, working together to make something amazing. And once that’s done, the performers arrive and the people come and marvel and have fun and take photos and memories home with them again.
There’s a creative buzz around the whole site, whether it’s the artists and musicians or just the punters putting together crazy outfits or painting a unique flag to help them find their tent, once they’ve entered a festival state of mind.
This all combines to help charge the creative battery. Nothing is usual or expected in a place like Glastonbury. This year, we had ankle-deep mud and the place looked like the fairground at the end of the world. That’s unusual. And then going from gloomy, early morning news of Brexit to listening to left-wing economists talking about post-capitalism and then finishing the day by dancing to Earth, Wind and Fire – that’s also unusual. Even having to walk through mud to fill a water vessel to then fill the tank for our hedgerow shower (a luxury) is unusual.
All these experiences mean I can imagine new worlds. I know how heavy water is and how much we take taps and toilets for granted. I can better imagine a mass migration or a frenzied audience at a ritual. I know that mud smells as it dries in the sun and that you don’t notice the smell of wood smoke in your hair after a few days.
We can’t all go to Glastonbury Festival for 10 days, but we can do something unusual. Recharge your creative battery by stepping outside your comfort zone. If you hate camping, but haven’t been since that time at scouts when it rained and your sleeping bag got wet, then give it another try. Or listen to new music. Go and see new art. Walk a different way to work. Take a unicycle lesson (I bet if you google it, you’ll find one). Say ‘yes’ to something you’d normally say ‘no’ to.
Doing something unusual can be as small or as big as you want it to be, but it can wake your mind up and spark new connections. If you’re in a creative rut, jump off the sofa and do something unusual this summer. Give your creative battery a bit of extra juice, ready to get writing before leaves begin to turn again.