Back from Greenbelt and have showered, slept and had a little wander round the internet to read other people’s reflections on the festival. I will be posting some photographs of Greenbelt and our Wibsite gathering with some links in the next day or two along with reflections on one or two of the more interesting seminars and events I went to. There are also a lot of reports going up on the different blogs on the Wibsite. But for the time being here are some highlights:
Greenbelt is my social highlight of the year I think. As well as our Wibsite friends there were lots of bloggers, old friends from Eastbourne, Moorlands, Ship of Fools people and people I know from who knows where else wandering around. I think heaven will be like Greenbelt, but with better toilets.
I went to quite a number of seminars which were on the whole very good. The best were probably James Jones talking about the environment, Steve Tomkins with his fantastic ‘Speed Christianity’ and then Matthew Bishop on Globalisation and ‘the Trade Debate’ which I’m certainly going to be writing more about.
I can’t deny that seeing my ‘Guide to Greenbelt’ booklet in print and being enjoyed by people was rather pleasing. Also the ‘Tree of life’ comic which was handed out to some of the attendees at the Sunday morning communion, though some stewards were only giving out the order of service or only giving the comics to kids so a lot of people were walking in without a comic which was a shame. I have yet to see the other 7 comics in detail as I can’t comment on them, but I saw others enjoying them. The seminar of comics was so-so, but I got to see Si Smith’s ’40’ in full for the first time and thought it was rather splendid.
I did enjoy being part of the blogging panel and think I managed to come away from it appearing reasonably coherent. There were a lot of other blogging events – Andrew Jones on ‘The spirituality of blogging’ being a good one. Other technology-related events included a BBC seminar about getting things in the news which was very informative.
I went to see less music than normal. The Proclaimers were fantastic and Duke Special were very good, though the venue manager made a major error by disallowing an encore after the band has promised it. It was the unhappiest I had seen a Greenbelt audience, though when the band came back to do an accoustic encore people soon cheered up.
Toilets and sundry observations
The layout of the site was very different this year and I think it all worked really well. More food outlets meant that queues were down and the new emporium, improved use of the central arena and organic beer tent were all welcome additions.
The supply of toilets is really my only reason for dissatisfaction at the festival. A lot of the obscure ones on the main site are kept locked meaning that there are queues at the well-known ones. A lot only have toilet paper replenished at irregular intervals and on our bit of the campsite their quite simply weren’t enough portaloos. I suppose they cost a lot to hire. Perhaps I should offer to sponsor one extra portaloo in campsite 9.
So all in all a fantastic weekend. Thankyou Greenbelt and all the people who put so much work into the whole enterprise in so many ways.