The lineup was insane, the setting was beautiful, the weather was on point and the atmosphere was magical. Gottwood was almost indescribably good.
Before I went, I’d been told tales of how amazing it was, but I didn’t really take anyone seriously.
Even if I had, it would’ve still been a surprise.
The music was great, you can read about that here, but Gottwood isn’t just about the music. This feature is going to focus on the little things that may go some way to showing people who haven’t been why it is so great and helping people who have been and subsequently have the Gottwood blues to relive the moments.
This list could easily go on to 100, if only my memory was better…
- Hay. Everyone at Gottwood discovered how much fun hay is to dance on. To lean against, to stroke (it’s like an outdoor version of a furry wall) and to marvel at. The amount of people who marvelled about the dried grass at some point during their stay must’ve been bordering on 3/4 of the punters. there was a large hay bale in the middle of the crowd and for the majority of the festival it was covered with dancing revellers.
- Wood. With all the stages made out of wood, hundreds of dainty wooden things such as tiny little tables on the lawn, cute stepping stones and even rope swings, one of the best things about the festival is that it showed us what one can do with nature. The Lawn stage was a sight to behold; a clutch of hundreds of intricately woven branches fanned out, framing the musicians so onlookers felt as though we were peering straight through a huge keyhole, like in a fairytale. Isn’t nature great?
- Laserdome. I’m not talking a few lasers in a room, it was like a different, underground world like no other. Inside, crazed zombies, witches and ghouls danced round a huge rose quartz crystal as beams of piercing, fiery light filled the rounded, black, smoky room. Pounding, hypnotic techno was the soundtrack to this madness and made it all seem even weirder. Entry was through a tiny opening painted with psychedelic circles and watching people stumble out when it all got too intense was an excellent way to pass time checking out faces which emerged, bewildered, blinking and confounded, into the forest.
- Mushroom House. A tiny house made of wood in the depths of the forest, with chairs and a tiny door and stepping stones leading to the entrance. Once inside it was imperative, directed by whoever was in there at the time, that you had to shut the door. With no lights, a forest floor and a dank smell, it was really a moment to get in tune with senses you had forgotten you had.
- Fairies. Definitely not a trip but so trippy. One giant fairy queen with a huge light-up, floor length dress, leading two similarly lit pixies, wings, woven baskets with lights and staffs were wandering the crowd throughout the weekend, stopping to pose for pictures and tripping people out. They were magical.
- Green swirly door. This was a green wooden door with marbled painting on, opening into a light. In the middle of the river. Next to a tiny wooden footbridge. More than one person crossing the adjacent bridge greeted the it and for several hours the same boy and girl were stood holding a very earnest conversation with it. *UPDATE* You can find out more about the green swirly door and other swirly things on the artist’s website, here: Joao Abbott-Gribben.
- Proposal. Maybe it wasn’t crazy but I doubt that you’d find someone proposing at Hideout (etc). Across the lake was a secluded verge, with ruins amongst the grass. We could see it from one of the stages but it was off bounds to normal punters. One guy took the opportunity to pop the question as Butterside Up were doing their thing in the sun, accompanied by soulful house soundtrack. Even though we couldn’t hear it, everyone cheered when she said yes.
- Props. Many people had the same idea, creating staffs out of branches they’d found in the forest. They’d all managed to personalise them, somehow. One man on the Friday, spotted at Adam Shelton, was walking around with a blue balloon and a pink balloon on top. Another guy had painted his pink and had a piece of leopard print fur stuck on the top. not only staff, someone had a stripey tail, purple top hats, animal ears, a pirate man.
- Fox girl. Throughout the festival she was spotted crawling around in various places, barking on The Lawn (stage), sniffing trees and so on. Nothing like getting into character.
- Phantom screen. In the middle of the forest was a slight clearing, with a wooden owl in the middle and a projector at one end. The projections involved a silhouetted figure dancing round on a white background, accompanied by dub, reggae and bass music blasting out from hidden guerrilla speakers, next to a green, light up tepee.
- Parrots. There was a group of folk from the RSPB (I think) who’d brought along their parrots. Fabio was over 100 years old and wearing a superman cape with pride. He wee’d on my friend’s shoulder and everyone thought it was hilarious, including the parrot himself.*
Feel free to add your marvels as I’m sure that anything which provides a jog of the memory will be welcomed by all reading this.
*sorry, it was impossible to narrow it down to just ten…