A review about a band that doesn’t even review their performance! ¬†Kodaline. Truck Festival 2016

Now normally when I review a band I’m talking about the new material and their overall sound.. Blah blah.. But not today.. This is personal.

Let me explain.

I have always been super proud that our two older girls have never fallen for the mass marketed mid road music produced crap, produced purely to attract young people and make them spend money and fall for the weak and fabricated message they send.

As a family who have always been part of the music industry, albeit on the sidelines, we have been lucky enough to have brought the kids up on a fine diet of talented musicians and artists. 
Not only are they around super talented crew who really should be stood on main stages across the world, they have been dragged back stage to watch many a band and see behind scenes of the real life of the music industry.

Both Libby and Grace ( our two eldest) have been able to self teach themselves various instruments and using the vast amount of creative influences around them are slowly discovering their own music style. Both beautiful singers and both with their own totally unique style. 

Libby 18 has started gigging and playing with our friends and colleagues. She is gaining In skill and confidence every day and with her beautiful looks and style she is on the road to a fulfilling musical life, where she plays with passion and not ego.

Grace at 16 is a different kettle of fish, she lacks confidence and isn’t a natural performer, in fact she struggles to talk to anyone she doesn’t know. She doesn’t do the full make up thing and prefers her own Indy girl style with a twist…But slowly slowly she is starting to sing outside of our company and people are starting to notice her gentle skills and encourage and mentor her. She will find her voice at some point just like her sister and it will definitely be her own.

Grace and Libby , chalk and cheese

This weekend we were running the space at Truck festival and it has been a lovely weekend. Unfortunat Libby had to stay home for work and college but Grace joined us with the other younger two and she had an extra reason to be excited.

Grace, like Libby , loves her music. They both adore folk music, indi Rock and basically any musicians that play their own instruments. They both enjoy their music loud and live.  We I listen to them as they critique their experiences it is a truly pleasureable experience. 

They talk about the music, the harmonies, the instruments, the vibe and they don’t fall for the teen fan stuff of simply falling in love with the singer! ( although there are a few crushes at the moment , I’m please the quality of music still comes first)

Last night Grace was thrilled to be able to see one of her favourite bands live and for the first time she was actually able to go and watch them from the side of the stage. (They’ve seen loads of bands from this vantage point before, but this time.. Grace was gonna be watching her band! )
Grace loves instruments and she has just started playing the guitar, self taught in a month she is now playing her favourite songs and those tend to mostly be kodaline songs right now! Which luckily for her was who she was watching last night! 

We stood at the side of the stage only a meter or so from the band and along with two or three others enjoyed the gig. She didn’t scream or show her self up, she stood with quiet appreciation and dignity , respecting the band, their stage and their performance. I was so so proud of her! ( the other two had to be told to calm down after their dancing became a little excitable) 

No matter how dignified she was, there was no taking away her utter joy, as she stood by the railings nodding her head in time, we felt uttermost we could give this opportunity to our daughter


She came away with a set list and plectrum and when we left the stage she met the band who were totally charming and sweet with her. 

We don’t often do the fan thing? I am actually renowned for not recognising artists and famous people.. (My best story was chatting to snoop dog for a good half hour without having the girl clue who he was! ) but when I have introduced kids and fans to musicians back stage, it’s often quite clear they really are going through the motions…. If indeed they stop and meet them at all. Often not making eye contact and clearly been distracted , fans can be left disappointed with their heros.

But last night both the lead singer and the guitarist shook her hand and asked her name, they spoke to her as an equal and made eye contact with her as they spoke and showed that they really truly had time for her.

I always tell my crew that the small Moments you truly give to your  audience, are the moments that are important. Your audience are your reason for being who your are and for what you do. One genuine memory with one of your audience will create life memories forever and will often influence individuals into the future.

Kodaline were brilliant..I enjoyed them too , their passions and skill was lovely to watch. I recognise it instantly as coming from real and true musicians who truly love their craft. It doesn’t matter if it’s my crew sitting around a campfire, my daughters singing in their bedroom or a signed band on a main stage… You can always tell if they are playing for love or for ego! 

So well done kodaline, you were already inspiring young musicians in my daughters, but last night you also influenced a life too. If you just gave her a little more confidence and illustrated that music , no matter on what size stage is accessible and achievable. As musicians who live their craft, no Matter at what stage you are at, you are equals and peers, their to respect and support each other. 

So as we travel home after another tiring but lovely weekend.. I’m proud of my staff and crew for inspiring the young people they worked with and shared their skills and time with, and I’m proud of a band I don’t even know personally for doing the same for my own young person! 

Thanks for making a difference. 

Grace last night aroubnd the campfire with crew.

Trucked but Happy 

So festival number three of the season… Truck festival 2016 in the heart of beautiful Oxfordshire in blazing sunshine.

After a relatively easy pack up ( thanks to our new system with pallets ) we set off down to Abingdon in Oxfordshire for the very first time. Truck festival was new to us and we were excited to discover exactly what this mysterious little festival was about.

We drove through the most glorious little village full of crumbling cottages and running roadside babbling brooks. As we had to wait at the railway crossing for the train to pass we marvelled at the tiny little road we, and all the other (even larger) rigs were having to pass down to the festival site. The road opened up to the most pucturesque farm buildings, pretty barns covered in grey woodpanelling   and  clambering ivy. Dust tracks wound between them and we crawled unsurely into site. 

To say the production is laid back is an understatement! We were fourth or fifth of our team on site, and not one person has had to give a name or show Id. They were simply waved in and sent to what can only be explained as.. the arse end of the site! 

As pretty as it was there was no doubt it was out of the main public arenas but we had been assured we would be signed up and folks would find us.

We set up tents and caravans for the night and bedding down ready to build the morning after. We were only providing a small space this weekend so with the whole team on it it was only a few hours work. 

We work up to a bright and sunny day, we ambled about in pjs drinking tea and eating breakfast together as we waited for our pallet to turn up.

By mid day we’d emptied the van and Mr O and William left to go home. William had his leavers assembly the day after and although he’s felt poorly the last two days he was excitedly keen to attend. So we planned for daddy to drive the four hours home and leave Kitty and me here until Friday night.

As it transpired things were slow! We did get electricity pretty quickly but then it all stopped, as had no radios so couldn’t contact anyone, we had no water no toilets and no pallet! The pallet had the entirety of Angel gardens on it! 

But we were ok, we lay around in the sun, the kids paddled in the little brook and played with the sand and toys we brought. The remaining crew all turned up and we simply had a very quiet day.. Waiting.

Eventually after much pestering at about 4pm and a lot of pestering it arrived , the crew jumped into action and by 7pm the space was ready! It looked lovely and we were ready for the off first thing. Punters were coming in at 10am so we imagined we’d start getting folk in by midday.

I enjoyed a lovely evening with kitty, we had an early is night, kitty had a bath and we watched cartoons together with snacks and cheese.. She fell into a happy sleep shortly after it got dark. 

As I was enjoying the quiet I remembered we had new fairy lights. I could hear the crew outside laughing and sitting around the fire and though ‘oh I know, I’ll put some lights out.’

I was super Careful with lights, we had had a number of fairy lights for the space over the years and they hadn’t last well and we were never that happy about their safety. So we have invested with new ones, more expensive and much better made.

I unfolded them carefully in the caravan before pushing them out of the caravan window and plugged them in. As I went out Matt joined me to help me string them up, as I grabbed them to string them over the caravan all I remember was having this out of body experience as I saw myself fall to the floor screaming. 
Fraser, Matt and Tara, were around me and I was covered in a blanket. I was shaking violently and sobbing uncontrollably unable to breath properly. I was in shock following a large electric shock! 

My arm was numb and my hand was in excusiating pain. It took me a good hour to calm down and my breathing and body to return to normal, it was an awful and frightening experience. Needless to say the light went in the bin! 

I woke up Friday feeling much much better. I remembered it was my birthday as Mr O phoned me to sing to me and remind me that I’d been born. I stumbled out of the caravan to host our first day meeting and after we’d done introducing ourself and chatting about the order of the day and what we were expected to provide,  the crew sang happy birthday and presented my with a wonderful hand made card with everyone signatures on it. I will totally treasure it. The children had made and decorated it and the mesages were lovely.

I remembered the years of never having a circle of friends that really and truly could be trusted and could actually be called real friends.. It hasn’t happened since uni and Angel gardens has brought that back to me, I’m very greatful and this gesture reminded me of my blessings.

We got to work and prepared for the punters to arrive, we were expecting 800 children…But strangely it never happened.. All day we had maybe four families in.. And they had told us how they couldn’t find us easily. So with some creativity, a number of signs were made and placed around, and by the time the production team had caught up and put up their own signs folks started to arrive.


   Friday night was lovely , Mr O arrived with the kids and they were carrying presents and flowers for me, we had cake and champagne and I opened my presents by the campfire with my friends and crew around me.

The highlight was doing the scratch card with Matt playing a backing track to build up tension we had a hilarious ten minutes playing the games and the utter group joy and hilarity as we won twenty quid!

Saturday came and cripes we were busy. They found us and we were packed all day . Crew were on form and we had a ball. We spent another evening around the campfire laughing and singing before exhaustedly falling into bed just after midnight.

Sunday was much quieter. This event is no doubt a Saturday event. Kids and families joined us but it certainly wasn’t as busy as the day before. But we had our parade and the kids caught the bad guy and collected pockets of gold coins with glee! 


Come evening Grace was excited to watch one of her favourite bands. As I had a triple A pass, we went back stage and I went on stage during the set up to check if we could watch from the side. As I went up ( with William in tow) I saw my opportunity to get a great photo of the crowd from the stage. So I whipped out my phone and took a selfy with William .


After we’d done, I turned to get my proper photo and saw the crowd were waving as I pointed the camera. I put up my finger to tell them to wait and pressed record as the gave us a huge cheer for the camera, much to Williams delight! 

As we left the stage giggling, we told keith and grace and had a real giggle. So there we were at the side of the stage, Grace was thrilled as she filmed her band and danced and sung only metres from them. William and kitty loved it two, even keith had a ball.. We all did.

Grace came away with a song list and plectrum and met the band for photos. She was thrilled as the guitarist recognised her from the side of the stage and was totally sweet with her. They were genuine and gracious , much more than many other artists we have met before. I really was the hero of the hour. 

We fell into bed and all chatted for a while before falling into a deep sleep. I woke up an hour ago and decided to write this before I forgot,., 

It’s been a lovely weekend… It was a small and intimate crew and we worked well together. We had another team at latitude and they smashed it there too! We were all great! 

Not sure about the event, we smashed it and the vibe was lovely. Punters really enjoyed us and we had great feedback. Hopefull our clients get good feed back and we can help them develop the family side of things into the future now they can see our experience and what we can bring.

It was sunny, my kids had a great time, we had belly laughs and amazing chats. We did a good job too…and customers loved us..I really am a luck girl to own my life! 

GLEXIT ! Glastonbury 2016 

So… Glastonbury was fab! It was muddy, not rainy really , but when it did rain, it churned the mud back up and made getting about difficult. 

We managed to keep our little space nice and clear, although we had muddy entrances we maintained green grass. It did effect trade, no one wants to lounge about on the grass making stuff when it’s wet and soggy. But the workshops were really busy and financially it wasn’t a bad start to the season. 

Socially we had a great time. Libby made friends and was off with them most the time, William and Kitty just played constantly with their friends and walked all over the site having adventures. 

For the first time I took a childminder and it worked super. Not having to worry about Kitty allows me to work harder and tbh it’s the only time (ever) she’s ever gone off with anyone.. So the freedom was great! And I appreciated having her back in the evening no matter how tired I was! 

Grace and Mr O enjoyed the bands and stages, I however did my usual thing and enjoyed the festival from the outskirts. 

It’s not that I don’t love every inch of the place… I totally do.. It’s so jam packed full of awe inspiring art, inspiring crafts and performance… It truly is AMAZING. But for me the one most exciting thing is the people.. I love to sit and watch, listen and soak it up, I have so many friends on site and love meeting new.

While they all traipse around in the mud, I take Kitty (and sometime William) and wander into the stone circle or hit the tipi village. I sit in a tipi cafe and share chai and cake with my daughter . She runs around and plays on drums or meets other kids.. I chat with others too.. It’s the feeling of safety that allows everyone to just slip into friendships instantly.

Up in the green fields you tend to find a different kind of person from down the hill, the old hippies and crew are been working here for years, the community is great and huge. It’s within this community that the most learning takes place for the kids. They sit and talk with adults and children alike and the conversation is equal and respectful. We talk about everything and the kids are involved and active within the conversations.. Their opinion counts and it’s uniquely precious. I remember as a child feeling quite lonely while parents talked to other adults, I’m proud my children can join in the conversations as equals among our people .

The cafe I go to is in the tipi field and it is hosted in a huge 10metre tipi with an attached yurt. There is a fire in the middle and lots of low seating and tables, the yurt hosts musicians and there are loads of drums, shakers and guitars about. It’s donation only for food and drink and there is something really special about laying on furs next to a fire, drinking endless cups of tea, eating tali and  playing with your toddler . 


Of course come evenings…( And a Glastonbury evening starts around midnight)… We tend to sit in our garden. We close the workshop at 6pm and although we are officially closed we get lots of people visiting us through the night. 

After everyone returns from their adventures at stages, clubs and cafes. The fire gets going and we all sit around in blankets, watching the punters walk and stagger by, laughing at their randomness. Matt , Libby and grace all play instruments and we all sing and have a real laugh one minute and real conversation the next. 


Folks hear the music and wonder in, many borrow the guitar and give us a song. We had some truly amazing talent this year!!!!! I cannot believe so many hugely talented people are unsigned and undiscovered!!

What I love about Glastonbury is the fact everyone who works the festival scenes is somewhere on site. I say it’s like the AGM of festivals. 

Because we have a physical space with seating and in a known pitch.. People tend to visit us and use us as a base. I love seeing people and love it when one of my crew comes and says ‘You have a visitor’ I go to the front not knowing who will be waiting and ALWAYS shreak with joy when I find out. Often we only see some people once a year at Glastonbury, and only for a short time. We always have a visit from Paul and Davey (aka Wino Tyrone and scary from hobo jones and the junk yard dogs) they potter up for a cup of tea and random objects.. Paul has been spotted a couple of times sewing up his trousers or similar onnpur bench! They open the Avalon stage on Friday which is a short walk from us. So it’s tradition we visit each other’s 

On Friday morning we woke to the news we were leaving the EU . In all the years I’ve been doing Glastonbury I have never experienced anything like it! 

Usually on Friday the cheering and excitement is noisy and palpable.. But this year Friday morning was silent… With a real sense of grief.

My crew hugged each other and my friends came over to hold each other too. We all knew what a huge thing it was and we were all devistated, angry and sad.

We drank tea and quietly listened to the radio as news of the pm resigning came in, then the pound falling and then the banks announcing our credit rating falling.

It truly was like someone had died.. or as if a war had started (maybe it has) . We were among like minded people we all knew this would be a disaster for the country and the communities within it , we sat and listened to it play out live together. It was tough! 

Every performer mentioned it, everyone talked about it in sad and disbelieving voices, I’ve never known anything quite like it. 

Ironically It kind of changed the festival vibe from one of the hedonistic and exciting ‘joy of life’ we are used to , to a sense of solidarity, strength in numbers and a huge show of support for each other as we all feared for our children’s futures. 

The festival was amazing, it was different and difficult.. But it was important and we still had fun and drew strength. Weirdly getting ready to leave was quite hard, many of us dreading leaving our bubble and returning to this new country of ours that was so familiar but now so alien to us.

But after two more day of music, singing, dancing, drama, laughs, circus and more we pushed the caravan out of the mud and set off out of the biggest and best festival we know. Our lovely home.. Greencrafts had been another triumph, and Nic and Marie continue to excel themselves.

I run spaces as you know, albeit very different to the green crafts field, so I know the work they do to make this field so magic . Hats off to them! Let’s hope we can be part of it again next year. 

On Tuesday we left for Blissfields festival.. But that’s another blog,,.