Tag Archives: festival

Squash and Pumpkin festival

Festivals run by Tolhurst Organic are always very convenient for us, as we can open our shop without even leaving the garden! It’s lovely to invite people in to our workshop space.

In addition to our naturally dyed products, we had Winniepegs tie-dye and a small jumble pile, which were also both very popular. Beautiful autumnal weather meant that the event was very popular, with over 2000 people on the day.

Boomtown Fair – Boom and bust!

Being offered a pitch at Boomtown Fair, a major music festival was a new adventure and we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. We were sharing a pitch and a fire with Hempen, our neighbours at home and now our neighbours in Whistlers Green.

Firstly, we discovered a awful lot of mud! The rain had made the tracks a quagmire and many vehicles were being towed out by tractor. There wasn’t much we could do to set up before the first day of the festival as the water levels were too high, and paddling around in standing water would have disturbed the ground and made it more difficult later.

After a dry 24 hours and lorryloads of chippings, the site had improved just in time for the start of the festival.

Whistlers green, the area we were in, was chilled out with various crafts and relaxation activities available. We were right next to the windmill stage and got to see several artists (including morning aerobics) each day which was great.

Despite the rainy start, it was an exciting and interesting event which we are glad to have experienced.

Chalke Valley History Festival 2016

Chalke Valley, Wiltshire

Large multi-period festival with many expert speakers and living history encampments from the Bronze age to WWII. Held in a beautiful bowl valley of rural chalk downland with some fantastic wildlife.

Lovely to see so many dedicated reenactors from so many different periods in history. One of the charms of Chalke Valley is the unusual combinations of people from different times interacting – Romans, Vikings, Tudor and WWI soldiers conversing while a Spitfre flys overhead. The kindness and co-operation between the participants was particulaly overwhelming this year. We had several offers of assistance to move our tent, stock, etc. and many sympathetic conversations about the ankle-deep mud in our area of the site!

Unfortunately we were unable to stay for the second day, as the mud and flooding in our area of the site had become unmanageable. Luckily our wools and tents survived!

Chalke Valley History Festival

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Wood Fest 2016

Ipsden, Oxfordshire
We’re  back again at our lovely local festival: WOOD Festival!

The plant fibres workshop was very popular, preparing flax, nettle and other fibres ready for spinning, into thread and weaving into cloth. Many people made their own nettle string to take home.

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We were also spinning yarn(s), weaving all kinds of magic (including 2:1 twill on the warp weighted loom) and dyeing socks every colour of the rainbow. New dyes from the festival field were used, including nettles and burdock, and bracken collected from welsh hills. These dyes make beautifully soft greens, yellows, greys and browns.

Highlights of the festival were the harmony singing workshop led by Katy Rose Bennett, food from Taste Tibet and music from the Owiny Sigoma Band, and Sam Lee & Friends. We don’t get out of our workshop tents much during the day but really enjoyed everything we heard drifing over from the main WOOD stage!

See you again next year, WOOD Fest!

Wood Festival

This year we ran drop-in workshops on weaving, spinning and grinding wheat in the morning, and in the afternoon, we ran natural dyeing demonstrations. The workshops were as popular as ever. Some people stayed for hours peacefully weaving, we really enjoyed seeing them progress. The dyeing intrigued passers-by all day, we got lots of questions! It was gloriously sunny, Wood Festival always means that summer is on its way.

The dyeing was very successful, especially the cochineal, and we even tried ochre as an experimental dye. This year was a little windy and one of our newly dyed green and yellow scarves blew into a tree. It was so well disguised that we nearly left it behind!


Buster Ancient Farm – Beltain Festival

We had great fun at Butser. Firstly, it was wonderful to be able to demonstrate spinning, weaving and natural dyeing in a newly built Neolithic Longhouse. We were kindly invited to the event by Ancient Music as part of our new partnership. Alongside them, we were also part of the Mumming group, performing the travelling play during the evening. Mumming has a long tradition and is related to Morris Dancing. Each character is always the same and the plot is similar every time it is played. Thanks for you lovely feedback. Many of the visitors also seemed to enjoy meeting Knobbin ‘Oss, who loved eating the garlands from ladies heads!

Not suprisingly, the event was very popular, thousands of people were there to watch the Wicker Man burn down to the sounds of Pentacle Drummers.


The two knights, St. George and Turkey Snipe, with Beelzebub and Little Johnny Jack behind. Photo courtesy of Emma Sumpster.

Wood Festival

Wood is a wonderful first festival of the season. Small, family-friendly and very varied, they’re always very kind to us.

With spinning and weaving in the mornings and dyeing in the afternoons, we had a busy time. A lot of interested spinners and many children who mastered weaving on both the modern and Iron Age looms in a suprisingly short length of time! Weaving seems to have the power to transfix many children, and some returned to our workshops both days to get as much weaving done as they could!

The dyeing demonstrations and workshops were especially popular this year, many people got an opportunity to be on the our side of the rope and dye some wool themselves. We also dyed the new range of silk scarves, which will be on sale soon!


Wood Festival 2013

An incredibly relaxed family festival in the sunny grounds of Braziers Park. There was music and workshops galore. Our morning spinning and weaving drop-in sessions were popular, but the highlight was the afternoon natural dyeing demonstation – including the Woad Show!

We spent Saturday evening dancing to beautiful music by La Mort Subite, and watched everyones names in Futhark (the Runic alphabet) gather on our board.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at Wood, though we slept for a very long time when we got home! It was brilliant to meet so many fantastic people, everyone was so kind and interested in what we were doing. We felt very inspired by the relaxed atmosphere of the festival and how everyone was taking the time to learn something new at a workshop or just relax in the sunshine.

We hope that everyone who came to learn spinning, weaving or hear about natural dyes enjoyed themselves and learnt something new. We’d love to hear if anyone has continued at home anything they learnt!