Alternative Lifestyles * Vagabonding Travel * Searching for Hippie Happiness

Looking back at Whirl-y-Fayre 2019: Walking among the spirits and Dancing with fairies in the Vale of Avalon.

“I Walked among the spirits and Danced with fairies in the Vale of Avalon.

I have never felt more of a connection to Gaia than I did during this festival.

Thank you for the memories, thank you for allowing us into your sacred spaces to heal. Thank you EVERY SINGLE person at Whirly fayre for your warmth and compassion and hugs.

Your Vibe attracts your tribe.” X

Danny Payne 

on Facebook

As the sun came up over Stonehenge, the Fairies, hippies and mystical people made their way to the Vale of Avalon.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Meade

“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man. Imagine all the people sharing all the world.” — John Lennon

I stood excitedly in my block of flat’s stairwell in Hampton, looking out of the window, waiting eagerly for my friend James  to arrive to drive me to Somerset for the festival. I cannot thank him enough for offering to pick me up, especially as he lives quite far from me.

It was Thursday 15th August 2019 and an event I had been excited about for so long had finally arrived. I felt like a child at Christmas when James drove into my drive and I pulled my camping trolley towards his car, full of bags of colourful outfits, a tent, a stove, a cool box full of booze and sleeping bag, ready for the four day event.

James & Geoff, two of my good friends who I arrived at the site with.

“Love is a friendship set to music.” — Joseph Campbell

The drive was quite long but the scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills full of greenery and livestock. We stopped off at a country pub on the way and the food was lovely. We were ready for the last leg of the trip; we only hoped we could find the site.

After getting a little bit lost driving up country lanes, we suddenly found ourselves at the fayre; we had arrived and my head exploded with expectation.

Geoff had decided on a spot in the middle of the field just up a hill from the main dance tent. The wind was up and it turned into a nightmare trying to put my tent up. The tents design was flawed and it kept collapsing. I had concerns for that first night as the weather forecast was for strong winds and rain.

Little did we know what was to come…

I don’t want to dwell on this as the Fayre was truly amazing but the first night and the next day, the weather was horrendous; gale force winds and rain.

My tent collapsed during the night and I knew I could not remain in it for the rest of the fayre. Luckily my friend Louise had a spare and I was able to move to that one, next to her tent; which turned into a nice arrangement. We created our own little compound and this set up allowed us to really get to know each other and we created a little whirly family.

Me, James, Louise and a new friend; Richard the leprechaun. 

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” — Audrey Hepburn

The people began to arrive; and oh the people. Fantastic colourful hippies, painted freaks, leather clad Gothic circus people, and many many wonderful whirly people; it was going to be something special.

The warmth of the welcome, the hugs, the kingship, the love; we were ready for that first night party.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” — Joseph Chilton Pearce

The welcome party on the first night was amazing. After a warm welcome from Richard and Mary; our lovely, lovely hosts, we found to our surprise there was a free ‘help yourself’ bar. Then DJ, Chris (Junglechris) Woolvett, played a brilliant Drum & Bass/ Jungle set and this was when I realised I really liked this kind of music.

Everyone was dancing and going crazy to this amazing vibe. We met up with loads of our regular whirly friends and met a few new ones too.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

This is when I first met Danny and his friends. They walked into the party like a tornado. walking canes (staffs) in their hands, dressed like new age global nomads; they lit up the room. I was immediately attracted to this group and Danny’s aura and positive energy made me smile. I soon started up a conversation with him.

We spent much of the fayre enjoying the company of these guys and Danny in-particular caught my attention because of his warm, gentle heart and inquisitive mind and personality.

I hope we will be friends after this fayre, I loved dancing with you crazy guys; you really had an effect on me.

Danny sent me a lovely message after the fayre saying how much he had enjoyed the fayre and meeting us all.

I heard he enjoyed the Fayre so much that he bought a ticket for the Into The Woods festival the following weekend; such staying power.

“Life is short. Don’t waste it being sad. Be who you are, be happy, be free, be whatever you want to be.” — Unknown

Many of my photos are quite blurry and strange from this fayre. That’s because most of the time I was totally off my fucking tits!!!!!! We got to let our hair down some times. And I quite like the photographic results.

“My business is to enjoy and have fun. And why not, if in the end, everything will end, right?” — Janis Joplin

This is Paul and Gerry, we know them from Whirl-y-Gig and they are totally crazy and totally lovely and gorgeous guys. We call them The Cornish Farmers because Paul looks like a farmer and they live in Cornwall (I know, very imaginative huh). They had a nice set up on the campsite; two campervans together with a tent in the middle. We slipped over to their compound for a party on the Sunday afternoon, it was great!

“Love is all you need.” — The Beatles

After the rain stopped on the Friday evening and the sun came out the event really took off. My group of friends and I made our way down to the main tent.

Monkey Pilot and some great bands played really fantastic music: Drum & Bass, Psytrance and world music. We danced the night away. I went to bed smiling

“I do my thing, and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.” — Frederick E. Perl

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” — Erica Jong

During the day we chilled out, visited our friends and made new ones; it was beautiful. At 2pm Parlour Party would start and people would get up and perform on the open mic. The talent was incredible and it was a nice gentle start to the craziness of the evening. After this we would normally go for a wander around the site.

“My advice to people today is as follows: If you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out.” — Timothy Leary

The set up of the site was as follows:

The Fayre sat comfortably on a hill in the beautiful rolling meadows and countryside of Somerset.

Up the hill in the centre and to the right were mainly tents and this felt like a wonderful colourful hippie community.

Up the top of the hill and down the left hand side were the caravans, wigwams, motor homes and campervans. It was a wonderful nomadic hippie gypsy nirvana. 

At the bottom of the left hand side was the staff and volunteer camp and office caravan; a very busy area. And towards the bottom of the right hand side, where the hill flattened out, were tepees and fire-pits. This area offered massage, Tai chi and other therapies and any support people required.

In the centre at the bottom were more fire pits, a lit up fountain, a huge tree with lights and straw bales to sit on, a clothes shop, a pizza stall and a burger van. Here, there was also an amazing psychedelic art gallery tent which doubled up as a chill out zone.

Then there were the two main tents. The restaurant tent serving breakfast lunch and dinner (vegetarian) very good and at a nice price. This place also housed the bar and doubled up as another after party dance floor.

The biggest tent was the main dance floor and stage for the live music.

In this main tent Monkey Pilot (aka Richard Sutcliffe) took his place as Whirl-y-Gig’s famous DJ, to rapturous applause, his music has inspired me for many years, my early record collection was inspired by Richard: The Gypsy Kings, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and of course my favourite Transglobal Underground (who after all these years were performing at this very fayre).  And now all these years later my music collection is almost completely based on the fantastic music Monkey Pilot plays at Whirl-y today. You will always be a hero to me Richard and don’t ever think otherwise. Needless to say his set throughout this Fayre was mind-blowing.

Monkey Pilot was joined on the stage by many guest live bands.

The guest bands were also amazing and we all danced like crazy people. The room was full of joy. The highlights of the night for me were the wonderful people, the incredible music and dancing and seeing my legends: Transglobal Underground!!

I danced all through their amazing set and was soaked through with sweat afterwards, they were awesome.

“Nobody living can ever stop me. As I go walking my freedom highway. Nobody living can make me turn back. This land was made for you and me.” — Woody Guthrie

“You create your own reality.” — Seth

The rest of the time we socialised, visiting other tents and campervans, we drank, laughed partied and boogied. Its really hard to put into words just how amazing Whirl-y-Fayre was, so I will just have to do it with pictures:

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” — Oscar Wilde

“If you smile at me I will understand because that is something everyone, everywhere does in the same language.” — Jefferson Airplane

“Old hippies don’t die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.” — Joseph Gallivan

“If someone thinks love and peace is a cliché that must have been left behind in the ‘60s, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.” — John Lennon

“You have to forget about what other people say, when you’re supposed to die, or when you’re supposed to be loving. You have to forget about all these things. You have to go on & be crazy. Craziness is like heaven.” — Jimi Hendrix

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” — Joseph Campbell

“Your mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless it’s open.” — Jordan Maxwell

“I’d rather wear flowers in my hair than diamonds around my neck. I don’t want to earn a living, I want to live.” — Oscar Wilde

“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” — E. H.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” — Jack Kerouac

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, Live the life you’ve always imagined.” — Henry David Thoreau

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Down through all of eternity the crying of humanity, this’ then when the hurdy-gurdy man comes singing songs of love.” — Donovan

Readers who has been following my blog for some time know I have been in search of happiness and an alternative lifestyle; the lifestyle I was always meant to live. I was somebody who never fitted with the every day.

“Three years ago I would sit at my desk every day and think ‘this can’t be it’. Nothing seemed to make sense. I felt like I was missing out, like there was so much more to life than going back and forth to an office building every day, feeling tired and unfulfilled. I needed to escape. I wanted to explore the world, live in different places, meet different people and let every day be an adventure.I wanted  the life I thought might be out there. And if it didn’t exist; I’d create it.” HOW TO LIVE IN A VAN AND TRAVEL- MIKE HUDSON

I used Danny’s quote at the beginning of this post. It is clear from talking to him that this festival had a profound effect on him.

I can safely say I too was deeply effected by the Whirly Fayre, the atmosphere was very stimulating. I came away knowing who I was and the kind of person I want to be. The hippie atmosphere, the nomadic lifestyle, the colourful people living alternative lifestyles. I was never made for a 9 to 5 normal life. I was never made for four walls a garden and a mortgage. I want to travel. I want to live in a campervan or canal boat. I want to be free and I want to look the way I want to look. Have Like-minded hippie friends. I want to be hippie kushi. 

Whirly Fayre stimulated all of this in me and made me feel MAGNIFICENT!!

“The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good when you are near or with them.” — Charles Bukowski

Thank you Mary, Richard, the team, the staff and all the volunteers for an amazing, life affirming, life changing event. I really cannot thank you enough for all your hard work and I am 1000,000% going to be back next year!!

“I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one. And I believe it could be. Someday it’s going to come.” — Cat Stevens

Whirl-y-Fayre and Whirl-y-Gig WILL return and we will be waiting!!!!

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