Over the Summer Solstice this year, Mount Edgecumbe House and Country Park in Cornwall saw hundreds of people gather together in the most friendly and magical festival I have ever been to; 3 Wishes Faery Fest 2014! Now I’ve been to a collection of festivals in the UK including heavy metal Bloodstock and the Big Green Gathering, but none have had the affect on me that 3 Wishes had.
From the moment we entered the festival by following the faery signposts, we opened up through the trees with sunlight blazing to see faeries already laughing and joking around the information booth. Brightly coloured hair, tutus and (not forgetting) wings glittered and more than anything I wanted to get the tent up and transform myself as well! Greeted by a handsomely weathered gentleman called Tim with the most beautifully carved wooden staff I had ever seen, we drove up to the campsite. Fun fact #1 – you can park your car ridiculously close to where you’re camping making this the easiest festival in existence when it comes to setting up camp. I’ve never been to Cornwall before and wasn’t sure what to expect from Mount Edgecumbe, but as we pulled up, got out of the car and looked beyond the hill to the sparkling water beyond the coast, I knew this festival was going to be different.
Tent up, I stripped off my cocoon and became my inner faery just as the drum echoed from beyond to invite us to the Opening Circle. Following the beat, my partner and I and our two friends got our first taste of the main arena and I felt suddenly comforted and excited at the same time. In the middle of the open space the Faery Portal stood proud, faeries dancing around it to the drumbeat, other Fae watching and swaying in the circle. The sun shone down brightly. Although this was our first time here, we were at home.
From the second I had transformed I felt more comfortable in myself, to use a phrase a gentleman I met had used so aptly as we finished off Yoga with our teacher Natty Lotusflowers (lovely gentleman, I never knew your name, if you read this – let me know! I’d never thought of myself in that sense but since it has really stuck with me. It’s helped me to become aware of what’s better in my life to make me stay more comfortable in myself, what is really beneficial to me). I couldn’t believe how many compliments I got from my dreads – made by the talented Briony at Woodland Wild and the wings I’d spent a few weeks prior making. Even my partner who isn’t as much in to the culture as me fully enjoyed himself and wished he’d brought a better outfit (next year, eh?).
It’d take forever to list all of the events and wonderful people that I met that weekend (fun fact #2 – I’ve never been to a festival with so many events, most of which were free! As a family festival they had a lot on for children and adults alike, but the fact it’s a family festival in no way tainted it for adults without kids). There was a multitude of shops with something for everyone – a personal winner for me was Devi where I bought a beautiful maroon dress and the most unusual, golden fish spine inspired earrings:
The Earth Dragon Cafe provided welcome shade as well as delicious home-made, veggie and vegan food (fun fact #3 – 3 Wishes Faery Fest is a vegetarian and vegan festival with a strong ethos for moral food. This means there are a lot of chances to eat healthily and try something new – possible why the toilets were so amazingly clean for the whole weekend!). And I can’t not mention the ciders, as well. The Earth Dragon bar has such a variety of good quality drinks I didn’t know what to do with myself. Thankfully I didn’t end up on the floor (though I’m sure anyone would forgive a topsy turvy faery!).
One of the shops that was also holding their own workshops was Innerspiral. I’ve never really been into felt products before, but the quality and styles in their shop really caught my eye. It was amongst the colours and array of unusual hats, waistcoats and accessories that I met shop owners Paul and Zara. They were planning on holding their own off-the-official-schedule mini felt top hat making workshop; with a name like that I was straight in there. They were such a friendly bunch and with the sun shining, cider beginning to tickle my tummy and excitement flowing through my veins, Siobhan and I learned how to felt. Zara was a brilliant and effective teacher, and slowly we worked at the felt, turning it from colourful tufts of wool into a set piece of material. It was quite hard, physical work and took over two hours, but it was entirely worth it. By the time we had finished there was something funny in the air: it wasn’t just the satisfaction of having created my very own top hat. It was only a week later when I was still thinking about felt making that I realised I’d caught the bug…
And what 3 Wishes Faery Fest wouldn’t be complete without the Summer Solstice? Fun fact #4 – every year, the festival works its dates to fall on this event. Waking up to the crisp, cool air of 4.15am, I gently got my shoes on whilst trying not to disturb my friends who alas, couldn’t quite make it…The gentle silence held a sense of expectation as the odd person walked around the festival and the sky began to light. I wandered through, past the slowly diminishing communal fire and trying to figure out where to go (what a newbie). I bumped into an incredibly friendly French lady named Cecile (I think, early morning brain may have warped it) and together we walked up to the ruins overlooking the waters, through the woods. Just as the sun began to really light the sky, we emerged to see the ruins in silhouette. The view was beautiful and peace was in the air. We waited in anticipation. And waited. Just as people we beginning to get a little restless, we were distracted by two great dogs bounding down the hill, teenage boy in tow holding on to their leads. As they ran barking towards the direction of the sunrise – the sun peeked through! Sitting there whilst people sang, absorbing the atmosphere as the day brightened, I felt at ease. It was my first ever time seeing the sun rise on the Summer Solstice and I won’t forget it.
On the Saturday afternoon they held an event to try beating the Guinness World Record for the most faeries in one place! Unfortunately we were slightly down, but it was a massive increase on last year and I am confident next year will be the one! A hundred or so of us got there first, and as we waited the drums began again. Louder and louder they grew, until a hoard of fairies descended from the wild and into the open space – never before have I seen so many faeries parading. Or queuing orderly afterwards for that matter.
Fun fact #5 – with one stage you can never miss a band and there’s a wide variety of music so you’re bound to discover something new (for me The Dolmen and Formidable Vegetable Sound System!). Even better, everyone really dresses up and always joins in. Whether you’re a hands on member of the Fae or a laid back people watcher, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. To alleviate my waffle, I think the rest can be spoken in pictures, but one last thing I will say: 3 Wishes Faery Fest has re-opened my eyes to a whole other way of living: fresh, happy and down to earth whilst touching the clouds. I may not be able to enjoy it all year round, but I can’t wait for next year’s festival: