I had the glorious pleasure of working with the Wandering Word again this summer.
The Wandering Word is a collective that runs poetry, spoken word and music events and stages at festivals and venues around the country. I sort of do the pre-production admin and programming, along with my good friend and excellent poet Pete Hogg (who built the thing). We ran stages this summer at Boomtown and Shambala festival.
I could go on and on about how the stages went at both festivals, the giddy highlights, the unexpected gems, the way this jobs makes me so proud that spoken word can still affect and audience the way it so obviously does when I see poets from all over the country (and sometimes the world) take to the stage and bring to awed silence or rapturous applause an audience of giddy, drug addled, party-bound festival goers. I could go on and on about that….
But my proudest part of the Wandering Word this year was undoubtedly our new workshop tent, running for the first time alongside our main stage- providing writing, performance and music workshops for children and young people at the festival. They were co-ordinated by our very dear Rebecca Tantony and Dreadlock Alien, and facilitated by various artists who were also perforforming on our main stage. The workshop tent was something I was particularly proud to have as part of our production. In the real world, away from festivals, a big part of the way that me and lots of other poets make part of our living is by teaching literary workshops, and it was really rewarding to bring some of that experience into a sparkly field! We found budding and talented poets in the young people that came to the workshop tent, and by the time sunday came around they were performing the work they’d written on our big stage. It was overwhelming to see those young people bring their weekend’s work and share it on the satge for the first time. They looked proud, pleased with themselves and most importantly, motivated to to write more. We are very grateful to the ever supporting directors of Shambala Festival for supporting our idea. Shambala’s dedication to providing fun and fullfilling festival activities for young people as well as adults is one of the many reasons we love them.
Here are our newest Wandering Word poets, fresh onto the stage with our very own workshop tent co-ordinater Rebecca Tantony! Don’t they look cool!?