What a refreshingly wholesome weekend, set in the beautiful Cotswolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Gloucester, West England. Bursting with innovative ideas, Seed Festival’s vision is to create a better world for now and for the future. ‘We bring together people and organizations from many backgrounds in support of creative endeavor, a flourishing community and a sustainable environment.’
Exploring the grounds upon arrival, through a biodynamic organic farm and permaculture garden, an ancient woodland and a natural spring that’s never run dry, I felt enchanted by the land, my imagination running wild with ideas of how I dream of living my life and with hope for the future of our world. Seed Festival’s site, Hawkwood College, really is the ideal setting for planting big ideas.
Seed invites people to explore their own personal connection to the earth and the challenges of environmental change through music, poetry, debate, nature and community connection. I spent my weekend dipping in and out of educational workshops, inspiring talks and wonderful celebrations of music and poetry.
After an intimate solo gig in the cafe of Hawkwood’s Victorian stone built house, I couldn’t have felt more honored to be asked to fill in for a last minute cancellation on the main stage as the final act of the weekend.
Joined by my close friends and bandmates, we performed as The Triskells, with a range of covers in three-part harmonies on guitar, bass and ukulele, including songs by TLC, Rising Appalachia and Peggy Lee, and ending with a big Uku jam with the audience.
Having propped the ukuleles up at the front of the stage for all to see before our set began, people’s curiosity had begun creeping in and when we invited people to grab a ukulele for our final song, many eyes lit up! It felt very fitting after a weekend of wonderful music and jams that we should end the weekend in such a way.
‘Rise like Water’, is a peaceful protest song that is sung often by Extinction Rebellion activists during their protests in the UK and we chose this song to teach. It is short, simple and repetitive with very beautiful lyrics that really resonate, ‘People gonna rise like water, we’re gonna turn this system around. From the words of my great granddaughter, climate justice now.’ With Am, G and F being the only three chords throughout, I gave a brief lesson on how to play them and without any hesitation, I jumped into the song with my bandmates. The ukulele-ists, a mix of ages and abilities caught onto the rhythm and the chords quickly and many others began to sing, creating layers, variations and harmonies to the song. The energy in the room was powerful and the song felt fluid and wholesome. It didn’t take long before other musicians joined with their instruments including a violinist and a harmonica player – simply, wow! It was heart-warming to see the joy on so many faces and for the Seed community to have been able to contribute to a song at the end of the festival, to have the chance to play a ukulele and sing lyrics of great meaning which really encompassed the theme of the festival. It ended with a huge round of applause, many smiles and hands to hearts and it couldn’t have been a better way to complete such a special weekend.