Not so deep in the Oxfordshire countryside under the soaring gaze of the Red Kites is a gem of creativity and sustainability. Wood Festival claims to be the ‘folkier, younger, cleaner, greener and mysteriously beardier brother’ of Truck Festival. What Wood does achieve is a celebration of music and nature. Four stages showcase music, poetry, discussion and workshops.
The festival is a safe environment for young families. It almost feels like a village fete with packs of new young friends playing on tractor inner tubes, bubbles floating across the arena and the entire morning program tailored for keeping young minds and bodies active.
Wood workshops ranged from traditional skills such as thatching to lessons in nature, music and dancing. I didn’t imagine for one moment that Isla (aged 2) and I would be participating in a harp workshop or witnessing the creation of fantastic whistles made from vegetables. The ladies in compost corner provided gardening and compost advice while my neighbour made his own rolling pin on a pedal powered lathe and his daughter made a beautiful copper bracelet. The greatest thing about all of the workshops and demonstrations was that everyone was welcome to give it a go and be involved.
Powered almost entirely by solar, pedal and wood burners there is no buzz of generators, there is a calm and relaxed feeling around the spotlessly clean site. A contentious and well-informed audience are tidy, considerate and pro-active in helping the waste management team at More-bins minimise waste and strive to exceed its 85% recycled figure from 2010. Local suppliers provide organic, Fairtrade and ethical goods. Inevents (who also produce the bigger Truck Festival) and Brazier Park collaborate effectively to ensure that the event has a minimal impact to the beautiful estate and surroundings. Permanent compost toilets provide the estate with compost, grey water goes back into the park irrigation system and the park community work tirelessly with the
organisers to provide meals and food for thought around the site. Everyone from
the moment you arrive and greeted by friendly security has a positive attitude
and thankfully this rubbed off on the weather too.
Is Wood a ‘folkier, younger, cleaner, greener and mysteriously beardier
Review by Helen Wright