Sunrise Celebration..... practically perfect in every way!

Sunrise Celebration 2010 review

published: Sun 13th Jun 2010

around the festival site (2)

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th June 2010
Gilcombe Farm, near Bruton, South Somerset, England MAP
adult £111.50, teen £70, child (5-15) £27
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 26th May 2010

From the moment I saw the Sunrise Celebration site, I could not help but wonder if everything I had heard about this festival was true. A few friends had attended the festival in previous years and given me a whole load of positive feedback and my expectations were high.

around the festival site (2)
We were greeted at the gates with smiling faces, which is always a good start, we parked up and collected our wristbands and were then directed to the car park. Every person we saw along the very short drive greeted us with smiles and I could feel my excitement rising.

It was getting late at this point and we needed to find ourselves a pitch before night time fell. The festival site was getting busy and we found ourselves at the bottom of a field pitched right beside a set of long drops. It was at this point I really hoped my friend was telling me the truth about the compost toilets being stench-free. They were AMAZING! Why aren't all festivals using this concept? It's easy; you do your do and cover it in compost. (It does still amaze me how full grown men can manage to miss though!) A special shout out to the amazingly friendly security staff, campsite stewards various other workers and litter pickers. You are a wonderful bunch of people, keep up the amazing work that you do!

After setting up our temporary home we set out to explore, the walk up the hill through the campsite produced many more smiling faces and random conversations which amused the kids no end. I had worried about taking our twin teenagers to Sunrise but had been let down at the last minute and had to take them along. I feared the dreaded “I’m bored” syndrome more than anything because I did not think this festival had anything to offer them. How very wrong I was! Sunrise is now officially their favourite festival and I am sure we will all be attending for years to come.

We had not eaten our evening meal at this point and we were not disappointed with the wide range of meals available to us; from Hog Roast to smoothies to a multitude of vegetarian dishes. The prices were reasonable and the portions large enough to share. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were all at an affordable price. Everything we consumed over the weekend was delicious and I cannot fault it one bit!

around the festival site (2)
At this point I need to mention that in the outside world it is a rarity to find happy, smiling faces behind a hectic counter, with 20+ people standing in a queue, waiting to be served, but here at Sunrise it was a completely different story. We were greeted in a pleasant manner by everyone who served us over the weekend and it completely restored my faith in human nature and confirmed we need to move out of our city as soon as possible!

By the time we had collected our food and had a short wander around we decided to hit the sleeping bags. It was now past midnight and our 8 year old was ready for bed after devouring her 9 inch cheese and tomato pizza. Miss Tomato Sauce Face took about 60 seconds to fall asleep; it was at this point I noticed she too had a huge smile on her face as she slept. The twins settled themselves and we soon followed suit, aching and tired after a very long day but I for one was filled with enthusiasm for the weekend ahead.

The sun woke us at about 7 the following morning and we leisurely got ready for the day ahead. We then walked across the site to buy various things for breakfast which consisted of delicious pate on toast supplied by the Tea and Toast people. The girls were over the moon with their delicious smoothies from the real friendly guys at the Smoothie stand, whilst hubby devoured a huge bacon and egg roll. At this stage the twins went off to find a friend and the rest of us decided to go and find some entertainment for both parents and our 8 year old daughter!

Free Peace
She was soon entertained with skateboarding and climbing walls and frames and quickly made a few new friends, such lovely kids with amazing manners and they all got along whilst we basked in the midday sun. (We were blessed over the festival period with perfect skies both day and night and only saw rain on the Monday morning as we left!) We were soon dragged from our slumber with the sounds of Sid Arthur from Chai Wallahs and stood around to listen to his great sounds. We were then entertained with the sweet sounds of Free Peace, one of the best acts we have seen in a long time. Their style was unique; a mix of soul meets rap meets reggae; they describe their genre as African Urban Acoustica. Abi Evans, the lead singer had a mesmerising way about her, with her amazing voice and dance moves you could not help but stare and smile. They worked so well together, they were definitely one of my highlights of the whole weekend. As their set finished we decided we would get out of the afternoon sun and head back to the tent for a bit.

Hattie Hatstar
As we approached the Spit & Sawdust stage on our way back to the campsite we were fortunate to catch the beginning of Hattie Hatstar's gig. Hattie proved she was a great entertainer with her accordion and ukulele skills and humorous songs. Her song "Shove your nippy hatchback up your a***", brought great giggles for days from our 8 year old, who had to be reminded not to sing it to her classmates on her return to school!

Sunrise was already supplying us with precious memories and seeing the smiles on the twins faces as they returned from their exploring, reassured me that I had done the right thing in bringing them. They had also discovered a friend from school at Sunrise and spent the rest of the weekend having fun in her company, along with a few other lovely teens they had met along the way. Little one was constantly entertained with the tremendous activities and workshops which were conveniently placed in between the Spit & Sawdust stage and Chai Wallahs.

The kids were soon on the hunt for food and we returned to cook hotdogs and we sat and enjoyed the most amazing sunset. The campsite was full at this point and there were still a few people arriving needing camping spots. Our view from our tent was amazing across the unused fields but was spoilt due to the huge fence that cordoned off the unused areas. As we lazed around eating our dinner we were more than pleased that there were workers there removing the fence and expanding the site for the new comers. The majority of them camped down the hill slightly and the views became perfectly peaceful and relaxing even though we were surrounded by a multitude of people and musical sounds. The kids fell asleep before 10 that evening and we huddled for a while outside, underneath the stars with hot chocolate and smiles.

around the festival site (2)
The next day we were entertained by the likes of Rory McLeod, Belleruche and The Correspondents; all fantastic sets from fantastic entertainers; the crowd showed real enthusiasm and great appreciation for them all. Our twins danced the day away in the Solar Dance tent and created many happy memories. Before The Correspondants set we were drawn in by a crowd forming around a fire celebration that was about to begin. Drummers entertained us as beautiful fire dancers lit the "Flower of Life" they had created, with what I believe to be something like paraffin soaked woodchips. It was a moving experience and we joined them in becoming one voice. The energy we felt was electric and I found it very emotional. Something was changing inside and I could feel the real life stress drain from me in an instant. Sunrise you have no idea what you did to this lady!

We retired to bed soon after The Correspondents who did an amazing hip hop/swing set and armed with donuts and hot chocolates we soon settled down for the night. I was gutted to have missed Zion Train but it had already proved to be a very long day full of constant entertainment. Our neighbours caught their set and told us how great Zion Train had been!

The Sunday brought us more sunshine and after we had eaten a hearty breakfast, we decided to explore the beautiful Well Being Area, where I stood underneath the central wind chime in a garden of plants and more wind chimes. The sounds these chimes made together were astounding. (I am already nagging to recreate it in our garden!).

We wandered down the site and we were fortunate to approach the Spit & Sawdust stage, just as the most perfect Sunday morning entertainment began; the Avalonian Free State Choir were amazing! (Many thanks guys your "funky, badass, Goddess music", it was an amazing start to our day). As the day got hotter we decided to take the day easy in the shade. Little one was entertained by Mummy and funny songs as we lazed in any shaded places we could create and as the day cooled we set out to explore once again. Tim Hall gave us a wonderful set on the Spit & Sawdust stage but as the sun continued to beat down we decided we grab some cold drinks and head straight back to our tent and the shady places. We chilled again for a while and then headed out to get our 8 year old some entertainment. We enjoyed a parade together as we entered the Carnival Field and she enjoyed the likes of a huge inflatable dragon slide and learning to use a balance beam. We will make a tight rope walker out of her yet!

The evening came so quickly and we were entertained by Nucleus Roots whose reggae/dub sounds helped us into an evening of relaxation around the fire whilst the twins danced their last night away with their new found friends. I have never slept as well as I did that night and do not believe I ever will again. The weekend had been so perfect it was such a shame it had to end. Rain greeted us that morning, the sky was sad that we all had to go home!

The greatest thing I loved about Sunrise was that wherever you happened to walk, whilst wandering the site, there was always something to entertain you; guitars players joined drummers whilst people danced around the huge camp fire, fire celebrations with an amazing feeling of unity and love, dancing smiling happy people being entertained by some fine solo artists, DJs and groups, people enjoying amazing meals like the Forest mezé of feta, olives, pitta, humous, tomatoes and Tzatziki or the amazing vegetable chilli! A massive thank you to all that attended Sunrise for making this the best festival we have ever attended. You created the perfect environment.

With such a positive happy environment the possibilities are endless.... Congratulations Sunrise you are perfection!
review by: Adele Reynolds

photos by: Drew Reynolds

Thursday 3rd to Sunday 6th June 2010
Gilcombe Farm, near Bruton, South Somerset, England MAP
adult £111.50, teen £70, child (5-15) £27
daily capacity: 5000
last updated: Wed 26th May 2010


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