My first Fling festival was in 2011, and still stands out as one of the most magical experiences of my life.
My first performance there was with my troupe Paper Dolls Burlesque in 2013, running a tent, performing and getting people to dress up and do burlesque themed crafting.
It’s moved to Hylands now (same site as V festival), grown hugely and developed into a proper festival you can camp at, not just a one day extravaganza.
This year I performed with the Burlesque Jems, and was also their photographer for the day, capturing their performances and a few sneaky portraits too.
I made a last-minute mermaid bra so I could mermaid-burlesque (merlesque?!) and it was just a wonderful day – the most myself I’ve felt since before Dad went into hospital. It was amazing to merge two of my alter egos (Lotta Fiero and Kerenza Sapphire), brilliant to be back on stage, scary but eventually great to be out and about with my camera, and wonderfully indulgent to leave my worries and sadness behind and throw myself into festival life for a few hours.
Also, what better example of a multipod in action than photographing and performing all on the same day?
I had forgotten how much of a workout dancing and photography are though – my Sunday has been exceptionally gentle!
Here are a few of the photos – the rest will pop up over at Carla Watkins Photography and Burlesque Jems in the coming weeks.
Oh, how do I describe the wonder that is the Fling? Here’s the website and last year’s video, for a flavour…
2010 Fling goodness…
Last year there were a few of us. This year, there were a LOT of us. I had the obligatory zebra picture (I want to take that zebra home – suggestions on a postcard as to how I can smuggle him home please) on my own and with other people. I’ll just post the one for now…
me with the zebra - the equivalent pic last year is one of my favourite photos of all time
(I could do a separate outfit-of-the-day post, but I won’t… the corset is one from a boutique in Loughborough, the skirt is a vintage French Connection one, bracelet is my favourite steampunk-ish one which I bought from a car boot sale a while ago and while I’d usually wear heels with such an ensemble, the flipflops are gold leather ones from New Look. Comfortable and much more appropriate for ambling around a field! (I actually spent a lot of time barefoot… it’s that sort of a place where you feel more at one with everything minus your shoes. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway.)
A ridiculous number of my favourite people in the world were there, and it was so gorgeous to catch up in such an amazing atmosphere. There aren’t really words to describe the Fling, it’s just magical… seven hours of wonder and escapism, and there really is something for everyone.
Lou and Kelly getting into the festival spirit
I did less activities this year than last year, because I was having so much fun catching up with everyone, Pimms in hand, and just soaking up the ambience to sustain me through another year… the weeks after the Fling feel distinctly tedious.
There was music, wordsmiths, burlesque (squee!), sewing workshops, clay, more music, a beach, random performers, a peep show, a silent disco, a fire garden, and far too many wonderful things to mention. My personal favourite was the fairy crown workshop, run by the Fairyland Trust, who do some fantastic conservation work throughout the UK, as well as raising awareness and working with children to preserve our woodland and learn the magic of nature. Our crown-making workshop (complete with storytime!) is usually aimed at 7 year olds, but I fell totally in love with my crown and will be renewing the willow base with season-appropriate foliage for each of the eight season celebrations through the year. I always mark them in my diary but never actually do anything to mark the festivals. And I’d like to.
I was so chuffed with my crown... do I look fairy-like?
(unrelatedly, this photo shows I’ve achieved a lifelong ambition of having my hair so long it doesn’t always fit in photos. Yay!) I am nowhere near as trashed as I look, either – it’s just the sun in my eyes. Honestly!
Here are a selection of photos that made me smile – I’ve not seen the ones taken by other people yet, but I’ll remember this Fling forever… and I’ll be at the next one come hell or high water! Sending huge hugs to everyone who came this year, it was even more fabulous with you all there 🙂 And my apologies for my waffly lack of eloquence, it really does defy words. But it makes me quite ridiculously happy!
Me with Karen - being experienced Fling-ers!
Naomi sewing 🙂
Me with Janine and Heather. Lovely Heather is getting married next weekend!
Wendy and Apryl with the results of their sewing workshop
There are quite a few more pics – more than last year! Waiting to get hold of Lou’s and anyone else’s too, and then I shall sneak a link to a Flickr album into a future post. Massive thanks to Nastassia, Anna and their team at Chelmsford Borough Council – you guys have done an incredible job and made a large number of people very happy. Should any of you lovely readers be in Chelmsford in July next year – go. Really, it’s a perfect seven hours.[Edit March 2012: due to the Olympic Flame celebrations, the Fling will next be held in July 2013.]