Sunrise Celebration is a festival, and it is a conscious network of hope, technology and music. It is a fine place to learn, about permaculture, eco-technology and lots more, amongst very good people, to razzing music. It is a large village, complete with all sorts of venues, from the Horsedrawn shacks to the rumbling thuds of the Roots stage. The techno, the swing and the choir all live together happily here.
As an event, it always feels like a festival should, overwhelmingly beautiful and exciting, but friendly and local. It makes for a magnificent and timeless long weekend.
We ended our Southern stroll with a month working for the sunrise Celebration. We were volunteer décor co-ordinators and crew, and had a great time working like furies, trying to manifest an aesthetic from the air and ground.
This work has been continued, and last summer, when the site famously flooded, we had worked for 3 weeks trying to design and assemble the best site-art possible.
Our décor camp, which included our kitchen tent and all our stores, was perpetually stood in a foot of water. This made living tricky, and working for free required all the self-generating optimism our gang could manifest.
But we did it, with struggles that were laughably difficult.
As the last of the giant flowers was dragged over to the stage area, wedged and hammered into the ground, we stood back. All was finished. The décor was up.
Everyone had wet feet, sodden socks, and you were one of the lucky few if there was not a few inches of water inside your tent. It had been sublimely tricky, even to walk around the site and see how things were looking, but especially with a huge wooden piece of central decoration. But we had done it, and there were already thousands of people on-site, with no rain for at least a few hours.
Of course, the moment we felt hopeful, the rain came back harder. A half-hour later, the word went around from site HQ – the festival was off.
We expect it was difficult for everyone, and there was naturally a great sigh of disappointment. But we had no time to waste. Tractors were churning the earth up even more, in efforts to drag the stalls and stages out through the mud. We immediately got on with uprooting all our beautiful work, and trying to get it put away without damage. This took another 5 days in the mud.
It was a beautiful challenge, and a mighty struggle. When we did all take a night to enjoy the music and people who were here for a good time, no matter what, we found the peak of excitement generated by the festival was shining and huge, even after its official culling.
Sunrise. This year, when for the first time we won’t be anywhere near, will be the best event of the festival season. It was so close last year, and many lessons have been learned. We say: Go, go there, with your friends and family, and have a ball. It is educational, healthy, and joyous.