Starry skies, birdsong at dawn, bluebell covered forest floors, and spontaneous jams around the fire were just a few of my highlights at this year’s In 2 The Wild: Beltane Fire Festival.
Set in the heart of the East Sussex countryside (around a 3-hour drive from my hometown of Bournemouth), the festival is the first of my summer and just what I need after the hibernation of winter. It offers an abundance of inspiring workshops and world music with opportunities for self-nourishment, connection to oneself, others and nature; I always find much joy and gratitude in this soulful weekend.
Traditionally, Beltane is an ancient Gaelic festival, which celebrates fertility of the land, marking the peak of spring, and the beginning of summer. So the weekend begins and ends with a sacred fire ceremony, inviting everyone into a huge circle, where we hold a ritual with drums and singing, thanking our ancestors for the land and the spring.
With a wide range of workshops and activities from Yoga, Meditation, Bushcraft, Foraging, Singing, Dance, Storytelling and much more, there’s something for everyone. My favorite workshop was ‘Singing in Spring’, hosted by the inspirational, Sophia Efthimiou, who has an amazing ability to lead large groups of people in song, with 4 part harmonies and heartfelt songs ‘to heal the Earth’. I believe that singing is soul food- it’s an opportunity to be mindful, present, to connect with others and to release your power from within. Her workshop left me and feeling joyful, moved and inspired.
Performing my music to the Beltane audience is always a humbling experience since they appreciate the sentiments behind my songs so much and often join in with the lyrics. This year, there were big audiences, of all ages and backgrounds and particularly a lot of children, which was a real pleasure since they love to dance to my music by the stage and many of them came to join me for a jam later with my Uku Ukuleles. I had two gigs spread across the weekend, performing in the In 2 The Wild cafe, where people gathered to enjoy a cup of chai, a vegan cake or meal and some relaxing music.
In my free time I found myself watching great music and hanging out next to the fire with lovely folk, playing music together and inviting people to join me in a Uku Jam. The Uku Ukuleles were a great hit! One jam was particularly entertaining and perfect for the camera I had set up in the distance. I perched with my friend on a rug filled with my ukuleles and percussion and as we began to jam a bright rainbow appeared over our heads! And to top it off my friend was making giant bubbles just next to us which children were chasing in delight. So we jammed out a song about rainbows, children and bubbles, it was quite magical!
I felt a little sad for the festival to come to an end, after having shared so many great connections and moments that left me feeling so relaxed and nourished. After the closing fire ceremony I headed home with the company of a good friend, reminiscing on the journey back and treating ourselves to a breathtaking view of the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge along the way.
Make sure to listen to Kitty’s New EP here —> https://kittystewartmusic.bandcamp.com/releases?fbclid=IwAR0AFeouYPPiQOpHL7iyhtubXpEhtda-Xn_CRzwFBk6PJio9OJlA213VRAA